Ever since I launched my business for Arabic calligraphy stencils & Middle Eastern home decor, I can’t find the time to practice my hobby (decorating) like I used to. So when I receive emails from readers asking for quick decorating solutions, I get very excited! One of the emails I received was unlike all the others. This one was from an interior designer asking for advice on decorating a Muslim home.
“Hi Lama ! I am really impressed with your page good job with it !
I live in Western Africa and have been contracted to design the interior of a Muslims home. ( I am not one myself) but I am curious to know if there are certain things for eg colors, furniture types or furniture placements that I must avoid so as not to offend”. Nana Boateng
This is a great question that I’m sure will help a lot of readers especially new muslims! As a Muslim Residential Planner, here are 8 things that you must know before decorating a Muslim home.
- Islam is a religion that encourages humility, but that doesn’t mean that homes must be bland. Its similar to the dynamic between confidence and arrogance: confidence is going into a room knowing that you are the best, while arrogance is going into a room and telling everyone that you are the best. Likewise, a muslim home should be decorated with love but it should not scream out wealth and extravagance. Unfortunately, over the years, extravagance has been the hallmark of Islamic design. (Check out my posts on Burj al Arab, and Arabian luxury living)
- The ONLY rule that you should consider when decorating a muslim home is not to include any figurative objects in the design plan. This means, no art with human or animal shapes as well as no free standing statues or animal figures in furniture or accessories. You could decorate with abstract art, landscape or Islamic calligraphy art instead.
- A wide range of Muslims consider the color Green as a muslim color because it is mentioned in the Quran (Surah 76:21).
Upon the inhabitants will be green garments of fine silk and brocade. And they will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a purifying drink.
Also, many Muslims prefer Brown over Black as their choice for a neutral color. Black is usually associated with funerals and death whereas Brown is warm and inviting. Personally, I love all colors! It is a matter of preference and not related in anyway to Islam.
- Muslims pray 5 daily prayers facing the Ka’ba (this is referred to as the qibla), some if not all can be offered in a group setting. Therefore, you will find a room (or space) designated for prayer in most of muslim homes. In space planning for the prayer area, one should keep in mind that it should not be in a traffic zone, facing a bathroom, or any distraction. Below is a picture of the prayer area in our home. As you can see, we have chosen the dining room as our prayer area. It is the least active being away from the kids and the TV. The qibla is facing the window, so any traffic from the adjacent rooms can pass behind the person praying without bothering them.
- Privacy is of atmost importance in a Muslim home, so window shades that allow light to penetrate while providing privacy should be selected. Shades decorated with Islamic geometric patterns would add an Islamic vibe to the design of the room.
- Some Muslims prefer floor or low level seating following the sunnah of the prophet (PBUH). This can be as simple as arranging a number of mattresses around the perimeter of a room directly on the floor, or raised on a frame. You can read more about this style of seating in this post.
- And finally, shoes are prefered off in a Muslim home because they bring impurities especially in areas where the prayer takes place. While decorating consider creating a space for guest shoes as well as the owners’ so shoes don’t pile up and create an eye sore. Another decorating solution for this problem would be to include area rugs instead of carpets so that guests can keep their shoes on while visiting.
I hope this clarifies the things that muslims need to consider when decorating their homes.
The prophet’s (PBUH) said: “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty“. Our homes are an extension of ourselves and they reflect our identity. As muslims we want our homes to reflect cleanliness, beauty, warmth, and love. Welcome Home! 🙂
P.S. If you have a decorating question that I can answer, don’t hesitate to Contact me. I will be more than happy to brainstorm ideas for you. 🙂