March 29


Exploring Mexican Decor: A Journey Through 9 Historical Periods and Their Influential Styles

Mexican decor – 9 periods in this vibrant country's rich history and the styles they inspired

Mexico has a fascinating past that spans over 3,000 years, and its history is reflected in the vibrant and diverse styles of Mexican decor. From the ancient civilizations of the Maya and Aztecs to the colonial period, Mexico’s cultural heritage is rich and varied. In this article, we will explore nine periods in Mexican history and the decorative styles that emerged from them.

One of the most important periods in Mexican history is the colonial era, which began in the 16th century when the Spanish arrived in Mexico. During this time, the Spanish brought with them their own ideas of fine art and decorative styles, which were blended with the existing indigenous arts and crafts to create a unique Mexican colonial style.

Another significant period in Mexican history is the years of independence in the 19th century, when Mexico finally gained freedom from Spanish rule. During this time, Mexican artisans began to create their own distinct decorative styles, drawing inspiration from both the pre-Columbian past and the European influences.

One of the most well-known styles of Mexican decor is the vibrant and colorful Talavera tiles. These hand-painted tiles originated in the colonial period and are still popular today. They are often used to decorate walls and floors, adding a touch of Mexican style to any interior.

In addition to the colonial and post-colonial periods, Mexico’s rich cultural heritage is also reflected in the many domestic and functional styles of its indigenous peoples. The ancient city of Tenochtitlan, for example, was known for its grand pyramids and intricate murals, which showcased the advanced artistic talents of the Aztec civilization.

Today, Mexican decor continues to evolve and draw inspiration from both its own cultural past and the modern world. Mexican modernism, surrealism, and Nouveau Mexique are just a few of the styles that define Mexican decor in the 21st century. Whether you prefer a traditional Mexican style or a more contemporary look, there are endless possibilities to incorporate Mexican decor ideas into your own home.

In conclusion, Mexican decor is a visual representation of Mexico’s rich and diverse history. From the ancient civilizations of the Maya and Aztecs to the Spanish colonial period and beyond, Mexico’s cultural heritage has had a profound impact on its decorative styles. Whether it’s the colorful Talavera tiles or the fine art references to Mexican culture, Mexican decor is an important part of the country’s identity and continues to inspire both domestic and international interior design.

Mexican decor and style ideas

Mexican decor and style draw inspiration from the rich history and vibrant culture of the country. From the ancient civilizations of the Maya and Aztecs to the colonial period influenced by Spanish architecture, Mexico has a diverse and fascinating past that continues to influence its interior design.

One of the most iconic cities in Mexico is Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. The city flourished for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spanish, and its grand pyramids and fine arts are still an important part of Mexico’s cultural heritage today. Mexican decor often references these ancient civilizations through the use of colorful patterns and motifs.

The Spanish colonial period also had a significant impact on Mexican decor. The arrival of the Spanish brought new architecture and decorative styles to the city, and the influence of Spanish design can still be seen in many Mexican homes and buildings today. From the ornate ironwork to the use of vibrant tiles, Spanish colonial style is a defining characteristic of Mexican decor.

When it comes to Mexican style in the modern era, there are a few key influences. Art Nouveau, with its emphasis on organic forms and nature, has had a significant impact on Mexican decor. The work of artists like Jose Guadalupe Posada and Frida Kahlo, with their vibrant colors and surrealism, has also influenced Mexican interior design.

Mexico’s unique blend of cultural influences and its broad range of decorative styles make it a fascinating source of inspiration for interior design. Whether you’re looking to incorporate colorful tiles into your kitchen or add a touch of Mexican flair to your living room, there are countless ideas to choose from. The key is to embrace the vibrant and eclectic nature of Mexican decor while also staying true to your own personal style and taste.

Here are some Mexican decor and style ideas:

  1. Use bright and bold colors like red, yellow, and blue to add a vibrant touch to your space.
  2. Decorate your walls with traditional Mexican artwork or prints inspired by Mexican culture.
  3. Incorporate Mexican tiles into your kitchen or bathroom for a touch of authenticity and charm.
  4. Add traditional Mexican textiles, such as embroidered fabrics or woven blankets, to your home decor.
  5. Use rustic wooden furniture with carved details to add warmth and character to your space.
  6. Hang a piñata or papel picado (decorative paper) for a festive and fun touch.
  7. Accessorize with Mexican pottery and ceramics to add a touch of traditional craftsmanship to your space.
  8. Create a cozy and welcoming outdoor space with colorful hammocks and handmade furniture.
  9. Embrace the use of natural materials like adobe, stone, and wood to create a more authentic Mexican feel.

By incorporating these Mexican decor and style ideas into your home, you can create a vibrant and eclectic space that pays homage to Mexico’s rich cultural heritage.

1 Pre-Columbian

The Pre-Columbian period in Mexico’s history is a time when various ancient civilizations flourished, leaving behind a rich artistic and cultural heritage. Two of the most significant civilizations during this period were the Maya and the Aztecs.

The Maya, who lived in the southern parts of Mexico and other countries in Central America, had a sophisticated society with remarkable achievements in arts, science, and architecture. Their exquisite stonework, intricate carvings, and detailed murals are a testament to their advanced skills. Many of their artistic ideas continue to inspire Mexican decor today, with their visual appeal and intricate designs.

The Aztecs, on the other hand, established one of the most powerful empires in the New World. Their capital city, Tenochtitlan, was a thriving center of culture and art. The Aztec decor was characterized by vibrant colors, bold patterns, and symbolic representations. The use of elaborate tile work, painted murals, and decorative objects added a distinct charm to their interior spaces. These styles continue to influence Mexican decor, both in domestic and commercial settings.

The Pre-Columbian period holds a special place in Mexican culture, as it represents a time of freedom and cultural expression before the arrival of the Spanish. The fine arts and crafts that were created during this period had both functional and decorative purposes, reflecting the broad range of artistic skills and cultural traditions.

2 Baroque

The Baroque period in Mexican decor refers to the time when European influences began to shape the aesthetics of the country. During the colonial years, Mexico was under Spanish rule, and the Baroque style was highly favored by the ruling class.

This period is important because it marks a shift from the indigenous and Maya influences to a more European and Spanish style. While some elements of the indigenous culture still remained, the Baroque style brought in more ornate and decorative features to Mexican homes and interiors.

Baroque decor in Mexico is characterized by its opulence and grandeur. It often includes intricate carvings, gilded details, and rich fabrics. The style was used in both public and domestic spaces, creating visually stunning environments that conveyed wealth and power.

One of the most distinct features of Baroque decor is the use of tiles. Mexican tiles, or “azulejos,” were heavily influenced by Spanish tilework and were often used to decorate the facades of buildings. The use of colorful tiles added a vibrant touch to Mexican cities and continues to be an important aspect of Mexican decor today.

The Baroque period also saw the integration of other design styles, such as Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau. These styles brought a more organic and natural approach to Mexican decor, combining fine craftsmanship with artistic flourishes.

While the Baroque period was largely a European import, Mexican artisans and craftsmen adapted it to their own cultural tastes and preferences. This fusion of styles created a unique Mexican Baroque that is still celebrated today.

Baroque decor in Mexico is a fascinating mix of European influences and indigenous traditions. It highlights the rich history and cultural diversity of the country, while also showcasing the creativity and artistic expression of its people.


  1. Amazon: “Mexican Decor: 9 Periods in This Vibrant Country’s Rich History and the Styles They Inspired” by Catherine Newell

3 Colonial

The colonial period in Mexican history, which lasted from the 16th to the 19th century, was a time of significant cultural influence from the Spanish. The style of Mexican decor during this period is characterized by a blend of indigenous and European elements.

While Mexican decor has evolved over time, the colonial period laid the foundation for many of the styles seen today. Spanish settlers brought their own architectural and design ideas to Mexico, which mixed with the vibrant culture of the native civilizations.

One of the defining features of colonial Mexican decor is the use of tiles. This can be seen in the colorful Talavera tiles that adorn many buildings in Mexico City and other cities. These tiles are often used to create intricate patterns and designs, adding a touch of elegance to both interior and exterior spaces.

The colonial period also saw the rise of fine arts in Mexico. Artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo emerged during this time, with their work reflecting both Mexican and European influences. The muralism movement, which began in the early 20th century, is a direct result of the ideas and techniques developed during the colonial period.

Colonial Mexican decor is known for its blend of Spanish and indigenous elements, creating a unique and vibrant style. It combines the elegance and sophistication of European design with the rich cultural heritage of Mexico. Today, this style continues to inspire and define Mexican interior decor.

Whether you’re looking to add a touch of colonial Mexican decor to your home or simply appreciate its rich history, exploring this period can be a fascinating journey. From the grandeur of the colonial cities to the fine arts and cultural references, there is no shortage of inspiration to be found in this period of Mexican history.

4 Neoclassical

4 Neoclassical

In the vibrant Mexican decor, the Neoclassical period represents a fusion of Mexican and European styles. This period emerged in the late 18th century and lasted through the mid 19th century, influenced by the neoclassical movements in Europe.

The Neoclassical period in Mexican decor brought a touch of elegance and sophistication to homes and public spaces. It was a reaction against the ornate and extravagant Baroque style that dominated the colonial period. Neoclassical Mexican decor emphasized simplicity, symmetry, and clean lines, inspired by the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome.

During this period, Mexican artists and architects explored the possibilities of combining classical elements with local materials and traditions. The use of talavera tiles, for example, became a defining feature of Neoclassical Mexican decor. These colorful tiles, originally from Spain, were adapted to Mexican culture and flourished as a decorative element in both public buildings and private homes.

One of the most important Neoclassical Mexican decor styles is the Mexican Empire style, influenced by the French Empire style from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. This style, also known as Mexique Liberte, combined classical motifs with Mexican symbols and motifs, reflecting a sense of national identity and cultural freedom.

Neoclassical Mexican decor also incorporated elements of other historical periods. For example, the Maya and Aztec civilizations, with their rich visual arts and architectural traditions, had a significant influence on the Neoclassical Mexican decor. The pyramids of Tenochtitlan, the ancient capital of the Aztec empire, were a source of inspiration for architects during this period.

The Neoclassical Mexican decor continues to have a broad appeal today. Its fusion of Mexican and European styles creates a unique and captivating aesthetic that is both distinct and familiar. With its functional yet decorative elements, Neoclassical Mexican decor combines the past and the present, linking Mexico’s rich cultural heritage with the modern world.


5 Art Nouveau

5 Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was a revolutionary art movement that emerged in the late 19th century and early 20th century, and it had a significant impact on Mexican decor. This period is often associated with a freedom of form and a desire to break away from the constraints of traditional artistic styles.

The Art Nouveau movement, also known as Modernism or Jugendstil, was characterized by its organic and flowing lines, as well as its emphasis on natural forms and motifs. The artists of this period drew inspiration from the wonders of nature, especially plants and flowers. They sought to create a harmonious and decorative style that celebrated the beauty of the natural world.

In Mexico, Art Nouveau was both embraced and adapted. Mexican artists were influenced by the European Art Nouveau movement, but they also incorporated their own distinct cultural references and symbols into their designs. The result was a vibrant and fascinating fusion of styles that combined the elegance of Art Nouveau with the rich visual heritage of Mexico.

One of the most important figures in Mexican Art Nouveau was Leonora Carrington, a British-born artist who settled in Mexico City in the 1940s. Carrington’s surrealistic paintings and sculptures incorporated elements of Art Nouveau with references to Mexican folklore and mythology. Her work continues to be celebrated today for its fine detail and imaginative storytelling.

Art Nouveau in Mexican decor can be seen in a variety of forms, from decorative tiles and stained glass to fine interior details. Many of Mexico’s major cities, such as Mexico City and Guadalajara, feature buildings with Art Nouveau facades and interiors. The style’s appeal can also be found in private homes throughout the country, where Art Nouveau pieces are often incorporated into both functional and decorative elements.

The Art Nouveau movement in Mexico was influenced by the country’s rich history, including the Maya and Aztec civilizations, as well as the cultural and artistic traditions brought by the Spanish during the colonial period. These diverse influences helped to create a unique and vibrant Mexican interpretation of Art Nouveau that continues to be celebrated today.

In conclusion, Art Nouveau played an important role in defining Mexican decor during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement’s emphasis on organic forms and decorative motifs, combined with Mexican cultural references, created a distinct and fascinating style that continues to inspire artists and designers in Mexico and around the world.

6 Art Deco

6 Art Deco

The Art Deco movement, which emerged in the early 20th century, had a fascinating impact on Mexican decor. Combining elements of modernism, cultural references, and fine craftsmanship, Art Deco brought a new sense of style and sophistication to Mexican interiors.

Art Deco was characterized by geometric shapes, bold colors, and luxurious materials. It embraced both traditional Mexican motifs and ideas from the past, such as Mayan and Aztec designs, and incorporated them into a more modern aesthetic.

One of the most important influences on Art Deco in Mexico was the murals of Diego Rivera, which depicted the country’s history and united its past with its present. These murals often included references to pre-Columbian civilizations, as well as to the colonial era and the Mexican Revolution.

Art Deco introduced a new concept of the decorative arts, with a focus on functionality and practicality. It brought innovative design to furniture, lighting, and textiles, creating pieces that were not only visually appealing but also functional.

Today, many Mexican homes still exhibit the influence of Art Deco. Its vibrant colors, bold patterns, and luxurious materials can be seen in tiles, furniture, and accessories. The style continues to appeal to those who appreciate its modern yet cultural aesthetic.

One of the most famous examples of Art Deco architecture in Mexico is the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. This iconic building combines elements of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and surrealism, creating a unique and visually stunning space.

Other cities in Mexico, such as Puebla and San Luis Potosi, also have notable examples of Art Deco architecture. These cities feature buildings with distinct geometric shapes, intricate detailing, and bold colors.

Whether you’re looking to incorporate Art Deco into your home or simply appreciate its influence, there are many options available. From vibrant tiles to advanced modernist furniture, the Art Deco style continues to inspire and delight. So, embrace the vibrant and eclectic beauty of Mexican Art Deco and add a touch of elegance to your domestic space.

7 Surrealism

Surrealism is a movement that emerged in the early 20th century and had a significant influence on Mexican culture and decor. This artistic and literary movement was characterized by dream-like and fantastical imagery, challenging conventional ideas and exploring the subconscious mind.

In Mexico, surrealism reached its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, and it continues to have a lasting impact on the country’s art and design.

The surrealist movement in Mexico was influenced by European surrealism but also drew inspiration from Mexico’s rich history and culture. Artists and writers incorporated indigenous Mexican symbolism, mythology, and religious iconography into their works, creating a distinct and vibrant style.

One of the most important figures of Mexican surrealism is Frida Kahlo, whose paintings often depicted symbolic and dream-like scenes. Her art explored themes of identity, pain, and the subconscious, and she is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

Surrealism in Mexican decor can be seen in the use of vibrant colors, playful motifs, and unexpected combinations. It is a style that encourages freedom of expression and allows for a mix of different elements and ideas.

Today, Mexican surrealism can be found in both fine art and interior design. Mexican decorative pieces often feature surrealistic elements, such as whimsical shapes, fantastical creatures, and vibrant patterns.

Incorporating surrealism into your home decor can add a touch of whimsy and creativity. Consider using bold colors, unique patterns, and unexpected combinations of materials. Embrace the freedom to express your individual style and create a truly one-of-a-kind space.

Whether you choose to incorporate surrealism into your home or simply appreciate its aesthetic, this fascinating movement continues to influence Mexican culture and decor, bridging the past with the present and embracing the diversity of Mexico’s artistic heritage.

8 Modernism

Modernism was a distinct and important period in Mexican history, with its own unique ideas and styles. When Mexico’s ancient city of Tenochtitlan, home to the Maya and Aztec civilizations, was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, the culture and art of the country began to unite with European influences.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mexico experienced a wave of artistic movements, including Art Nouveau and Surrealism. This was a time of cultural and artistic freedom, and many artists drew inspiration from both the past and present to define the modern Mexican aesthetic.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mexican modernism is its use of vibrant colors and decorative tiles. This can be seen in both fine arts and interior decor, as many homes and public spaces are adorned with colorful, hand-painted tiles that depict scenes from Mexican history and culture.

The modernist movement in Mexico gave birth to a broad range of styles, from more advanced and functional designs to those that referenced the country’s colonial past. The appeal of Mexican modernism continues to thrive today, with artists and designers incorporating traditional motifs and techniques into contemporary works.

Key Points about Modernism in Mexico:

  • Flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Incorporated ideas from the Art Nouveau and Surrealism movements
  • Featured vibrant colors and decorative tiles
  • Referenced both ancient and colonial Mexican cultures
  • Continues to inspire artists and designers today

Modern Mexican Decor

Whether you’re looking to add a touch of Mexican modernism to your home or just appreciate the rich history and vibrant visual appeal of this period, exploring the decorative arts of Mexico can provide endless inspiration.

9 Contemporary

9 Contemporary

In the modern world, Mexican decor continues to draw inspiration from the country’s rich history and vibrant culture. From the ancient civilizations of the Maya and Aztecs to the colonial period under Spanish rule, Mexican design incorporates a mix of styles and references that define its unique and eclectic appeal.

One of the most important movements in contemporary Mexican decor is modernism. This style was influenced by the modernist art and architecture that emerged in the early 20th century and emphasizes simplicity, functionality, and clean lines. Contemporary Mexican interiors often feature minimalist furniture and a focus on natural materials like wood and stone.

While each of Mexico’s states has its own distinct style, there are some common themes that can be found throughout the country. One of these is the use of vibrant colors, inspired by the bright hues seen in Mexican textiles, pottery, and traditional costumes. Whether it’s bold yellows, deep reds, or vibrant blues, color plays a central role in Mexican decor.

Another popular aspect of contemporary Mexican decor is the use of decorative tiles. These can be seen in both exteriors and interiors, with colorful tiles adorning walls, floors, and even staircases. These tiles often feature intricate patterns and designs that pay homage to the art and architecture of the past.

One more fascinating element of Mexican decor is the incorporation of elements from the ancient civilizations that once flourished in the region. References to the Maya and Aztec cultures can be seen in decorative motifs, such as the use of pyramids or symbolic animals. These elements add depth and history to a contemporary Mexican interior.

In addition to drawing inspiration from the past, contemporary Mexican decor also embraces global influences. Styles like Art Nouveau or Surrealism can be found in Mexican homes, giving them an advanced and avant-garde feel. This cross-pollination of ideas creates a unique and vibrant mix that is truly Mexican.

In the bustling cities of Mexico, such as Mexico City, cultural centers and art galleries are at the forefront of contemporary Mexican decor. These spaces often showcase modern art and design, blurring the lines between fine arts and interior design. It’s a celebration of creativity and freedom that captures the essence of Mexico’s contemporary spirit.


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