No matter where you live, the interior design of your home can transport you to a different world. When you step through the front door, you can be instantly reminded of summer days at the lake, a cozy mountain retreat, or the lush tones of the vibrant forest. The Pacific Northwest is a vast area known for many types of landscapes. Large cities, small towns, and rural homesteads can be found throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, each with its own unique character and style.
Although there is no single Pacific Northwest aesthetic, we have highlighted five interior design ideas that will make you feel right at home in the region. Bringing the natural world indoors is a common theme in this area, where outdoor enthusiasts come to enjoy year-round beauty and world-class activities.
1. A Mountain Retreat
Whether you live in the mountains, have a view of one of the majestic peaks, or wish you did, interior design can make your home feel like an elegant chalet or a rustic log cabin. Mountains are rugged, hard, and intimidating, but they can also be beautiful, draped in soft fog, and awe-inspiring.
Stone is an obvious material to use when you’re trying to evoke a mountain aesthetic. Incorporating it into the exterior trim, landscaping, and fireplace surround contributes to a rugged, alpine vibe. Natural, unpainted wood for flooring and trim creates a warm, cabin-like feel. Exposed timbers, whether structural or ornamental, are an excellent way to make your home feel lodge-like, even when you’re in a city.
Mountains can be almost any color, depending on the season and time of day, but the base color palette typically includes darker shades of grays and blues. Complement these colors with lighter hues to ensure that rooms don’t feel too dark or enclosed—remember that feeling of openness one gets from the top of a peak. The occasional coral accent is reminiscent of a mountain sunset, and light aquas, whites, and greens echo a burbling stream.
Mountains have a heaviness that can be elicited with select items in the home. Chunky throw blankets that invite coziness, dramatic light fixtures, and heavy-bottomed furniture all add a little gravity without creating too much clutter. Throw in a few angular patterns on duvets, rugs, or pillows to be reminded of craggy peaks.
2. Days at the Beach
Whether you live on the Pacific coast or near one of the region’s many lakes or rivers, water is an important element in the area. Known for ample amounts of rain, the Pacific Northwest is also home to world-class fishing areas, raging rapids, and working waterfronts on the coast. If you want to maintain a strong connection to the water even when you’re relaxing at home, your interior design can take you there.
Rustic wood flooring and rattan rugs immediately make a home feel more beachy, even if you’re not trailing in sand from the shore. Painted or distressed wood furniture can make any house feel more cottage-like, even if it’s just a handful of pieces. You can also transform walls with painted wood clapboards or wide boards used for trim.
Light, airy, and aquatic, the color palette for this type of interior design can be summed up by the word clean. A foundation of crisp white, light eggshell blue, or beach sand can be complemented with almost any bright color to bring a ray of sunshine into any day.
Art made of driftwood, a giant whale on an accent wall, and nautical artifacts are typical choices for a beachy decor, but you can also use more subtle accents if you want to be less overt. A few striped throw pillows, a statuesque heron, brass fixtures, or even simple valances with a delicate starfish pattern add a touch of the seashore without going over the top.
3. Rambling Through the Forest
For many people, when they think of the Pacific Northwest, they think of rain. It’s true that some areas have relatively high annual rainfall, but this characteristic is exactly what leads to the lush, green forests that blanket the region. Leave the cloudy skies behind when you walk into a home that evokes a sylvan setting with vibrant colors, natural wood materials, and plant life.
Area rugs with rich textures can conjure up the mossy forest floor. Leather furniture in deep browns and unfinished wood create a rustic vibe without entirely eliminating the elegance. Think side tables or shelving with live edges, or a river stone floor mat that is simultaneously textured and smooth.
The forest is not just about one shade of green; there are many colors that can be combined to create the feeling of being under a canopy of leaves. Choose a color palette that also includes neutral browns, grays, and taupes. Remember the seasons and include the bright greens of spring and the cool blues of winter. A pop of warm red or orange will remind you of the leaves changing in fall and the cozy days that come with cooler months.
Oversized nature art and removable wall murals can effectively bring the outside in. Of course, houseplants are an excellent way to stay close to nature no matter where your home is located. Vertical elements such as sculptures and elegant light fixtures call to mind the forested landscape. Copper accents—bowls, candlesticks, or wall art—are an excellent complement to a green color palette, especially if you prefer to use natural materials.
4. Hiking the High Desert
Although it might not be the first image that comes to mind when people think of the Pacific Northwest, the high desert of southeastern Oregon and southern Idaho is a significant part of the region. Although not truly a desert, the semi-arid plateau is characterized by large lakes, vast scrubland, wildflowers, and small trees. Its austere beauty is home to all sorts of wildlife, ranchers, and farmers.
Textured wall coverings or rough, nubbly area rugs bring out the harsh yet beautiful feel of the high desert. Window shades made of natural fibers or woven bamboo are reminiscent of the rugged plants that grace the scrubland floor. Tile floors the entryway, kitchen, or bathrooms bring the earth into the home and are also easy to maintain.
The high desert may seem like it has a uniform, neutral color, but closer inspection brings out shades of jewel-tone juniper, powdery sage, and vibrant wildflowers. Pale sandy or taupe colors complemented with brighter hues of orange or red will make this interior design theme feel simultaneously clean and warm.
Wall hangings, pillows, and artwork with native patterns evoke the origins of the region while providing texture and color. Succulents and woody houseplants in natural clay pots will bring a touch of nature into the home.
5. Making a Modern Home
The Pacific Northwest is known for more than just its geologic features. It is also home to many mid-century modern buildings that blend into the landscape with clean lines and warm, natural materials. When you build with Adair Homes, you can choose a modern exterior from our Riada Collection. Even if you choose one of our more traditional exteriors, your interior design can have a modern aesthetic.
Sleek metal, light wood, large panes of glass, and the polished concrete look all contribute to a modern home vibe. Characteristic clean lines can be achieved by using minimal trim and keeping fixtures simple and elegant. Keep patterns to a minimum so that, when you do use them, they stand out as an intentional choice.
Modern homes can incorporate a broad range of contemporary paint colors, but a common theme for this style is overall neutral with just a couple of colorful or patterned accents that make a statement. SImplicity is key, so stick with a couple of basic shades and just one or two bold colors per room.
Consider furniture with metal hairpin legs, couches with clean lines and few embellishments, and carefully placed artwork on the walls. Bold area rugs or unique light fixtures are an excellent way to draw the eye in an otherwise simple room. Use flat-paneled storage cabinets to reduce clutter and keep spaces open. Remember that modern does not have to feel cold and use warm lighting to make your home inviting.
Interior design doesn’t have to be a literal interpretation of a theme, and you can mix and match among them. If you’re planning to build a new home, this is the perfect time to create the interior design you have always dreamed about. When you build with Adair Homes, our Home Ownership Counselors can help you select the materials, finishes, and fixtures that align with your interior design vision. All of our options have been hand-selected by a dedicated interior designer, so you know your choices will always be on-trend. Get our free design guide for even more ideas.