Beyond Terracotta: Stylish Mexican and Native American Floor Designs

Southwestern style takes its cues from Mexican and Native American cultures, which use bold colors, illustrations of people and animals, and intricate prints and patterns to tell stories. You can achieve the same beauty by incorporating similar techniques in your own home design, particularly in your flooring materials. Tile and stone are more than just attractive and functional options for your feet. They also provide the ideal medium to weave a bit of history into your favorite spaces.

Terra Cotta Tile flooring

Mosaics

Inside or outside, on the floor, walls, backsplashes, or somewhere else entirely, mosaics look beautiful wherever they are inlaid. To create a Southwestern-style mosaic old-time cowboys and vaqueros would tip their hats to, utilize warm earth tones (red, brown, tan, cream, and white) and use jolts of bright color to draw the eye. Turquoise blue, fire-engine red, slate blue, sunny yellow, and hunter greens are good choices for that pop. Simple graphic symbols of arrows, compasses, or feathers infuse the design with additional Southwestern flair.

Southwestern style mosaic

Oversized Stones

With their considerable heft, oversized stones can imbue a space with a feeling of comfort and protection. Durable and relatively simple to maintain, this natural material offers a multitude of benefits in addition to its stylish appearance. For more interest and a natural look, choose a variety of square and rectangular stone tile sizes to update the stone flooring look to suit the modern home. You can polish the flooring to a beautiful urban sheen, or keep the rustic feeling with matte, textured stones.

Square and rectangular stone tile sizes

Bold, Earthy Colors

While you may eschew terracotta in favor of other materials, the honey, salmon, and red dirt colors you commonly find in these tiles are inextricably linked with the Southwestern aesthetic. Try blond and honey-colored hardwood flooring to nod to the classic tones while using material more common to the new American Southwest. You can soften or enhance the warm shades with tile backsplashes on stair risers and in the kitchen, and with soft décor in bedrooms and offices.

Prints and Patterns

Go big AT home with tribal-inspired inlaid hardwood or tribal patterning in your backsplashes and accent tile. Creating a border around the room can also help separate open floorplans that feel a bit too cavernous, to indicate the separation of each area without adding walls. This also serves to blend old with new in an elegant way, one that still feels cozy and alluring.

Professional print and patterned terracotta tile

Bringing Nature Indoors

Rustic, textured stone more often gets placed outside on patios and in gardens. Bring the beauty of this natural material into the home and update it for indoor use, or create an indoor-outdoor living with a “lanai”-like a sunroom with unfinished stone flooring, wicker and straw furniture, and soft woven rugs. These other details (more on that later), allow you to use subtle flooring materials while still achieving an impressive Southwestern effect.

Adding Texture

When you look to the past in Southwestern, Mexican, and Native American lifestyles, you picture homes made of earthy, textured materials like adobe and fabric. If unfinished stone seems a bit too raw for your tastes, bring similar tactile elements into your floor with reclaimed wood, wire brushed hardwood and low-pile carpeting. Remember when designing your interiors that you don’t always have to be literal–you can choose to decorate with objects and elements reminiscent of your overall theme.

Inlaid Hardwood

Bordering and backsplashes are lovely, and the middle of the floor can have patterned fun too. Inlaid medallions–think graphic images of compasses, stars, geometric designs, and anything else you can imagine–create stunning pieces of artwork wherever they are located. Popular spots include entryways, bedrooms, dens, and dining rooms, where guests can ooh and aah over your great taste in interiors. Not sure what type of design to use? Our experts can give you some ideas to create a unique result that’s personal and appealing.

Complementary Pieces

Sometimes a simple foundation and a basic color palette make for the best canvases. Whitewashed hardwood or off-white stone paired with white walls serve as the ideal backdrop for bold color choices in your décor and artwork. Colorful rugs, bright throw pillows, and decorative copper kitchen supplies create a festive feeling while maintaining a clean and elegant interior. If you find warm tones feel a touch claustrophobic, stick to soft whites and build to your level of color comfort with items you can switch in and out with ease.


The Southwestern Desert seems vast and empty until you spend some time in it. After a few still moments, you can spy all the beautiful wildlife and vegetation hiding in plain sight. Your home should also feel expansive and cozy, wild and welcoming.

Incorporating the right details, including flooring that takes its inspiration from Native American and Mexican heritage, can create a stylish space that more than anything else feels right for you. Talk to us today to schedule an in-home consultation and see how stunning your home can be.

Beyond Terracotta: Stylish Mexican and Native American Floor Designs was last modified: February 12th, 2019 by Express Flooring