Geography influences décor tastes when it comes to home design

It is a dreary day here in Red Deer!

All this rain and cool weather doesn’t inspire a summery attitude for me, I’m already shopping for fall clothes in warm rich colours – sweaters and cozy items seem to be the order of the day.

Weather and temperature has such a profound effect on our mood and outlook, it doesn’t surprise me to see the varied regional differences in designs, colours and textures.

Travel to warmer climates and you will see an abundance of hard surface such as tile, marble and granite. These surfaces which are cool to the touch and do not require humidity control are abundant in warmer and more humid climates as they help with temperature control.

A glossy magazine spread depicting a living room with tile seems like a good idea until you are sitting in your living room in February dreaming about buying a cozy area rug!

Colours change from region to region with brighter bolder hues being used in southern climates.

The smooth surface trend in warmer climate continues with sleek and shiny in furniture and finishings.

Leather, Lucite and chrome will be the predominate finishes in warmer climates with a higher concentration of vibrant and pastel tones. The brightly coloured resorts you experience on vacation are not limited to hotels, these colours and textures permeate private residences as well. Of course when you are travelling to tropical climates…all rules about design go out the window for island life, they are a design niche unto themselves.

Head north/north east and you will see the world slowly turning to shades of grey and beige.

Softer, touchable materials such as carpet/chenille fabrics, velvets and printed textiles are common as you travel north. Materials such as plaid fabrics, layered earth tones and rustic stone are used repeatedly in homes situated north of the 49th parallel. Working, wood burning fireplaces are common and not just for decoration – these units are used to heat the home which would be unheard of in Florida!

Colours tend to flatten and grey to the north, the vibrancy and intensity of colours that we experience in southern climates do not often display in northern homes.

We do decorate with colour but our version of a similar shade will be much grayer and duller here than in the southern U.S. or South America. Green vs. Green will be different hues depending on where you live.

A perfect example of this is our line of C2 paints which we sell in our store which is comprised of colours created in the U.S.

At a recent meeting we discussed the properties of this full spectrum paint and the consensus was that the paint was too vibrant for our client base. The result? A grayed down, neutralized custom palette is in the works by our design team. Very exciting!

If you are bold and daring and wish to create vibrantly coloured décor in your home, don’t be surprised if finding design elements to support that theme are harder to come by in your local shops. You may have to travel to a warmer climate to discover the intensity of colour you crave.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext. 227 or email her at

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