How to decorate like an Egyptian in 10 easy steps

The three keys to Egyptian décor are color, religion and nature. To decorate a room successfully in an Egyptian style read these tips to help achieve an environment Cleopatra could feel comfortable in.

  1. Think bold colors. Ancient Egyptians loved golds, reds, blues, colors that would make the quarters of Pharaohs look grand and opulent. Think of Saharan yellows, Nile blues and greens, Scarab blues and of course blood reds. A good base is a sandy or golden yellow as these enhance the bolder colors placed over them.
  2. Egyptian décor involved a lot of stiff and artistic representations of nature. They sculpted in a frontal style, the animals faced front and were cubic in design. If using ornaments one should consider birds of prey, crocodiles, scarabs (beetles) and of course the peculiar looking Egyptian cats. Exact representation is not important, artistic impression was more important.
  3. Religion is a big factor in good Egyptian décor. Ancient Egyptians would always have some kind of representation of their family god in their dwelling. It can be practical to pick one deity and create a theme around that particular god or goddess, here's a brief guide to the most well known:
    • (i).Anubis the god of mummies with a head of a jackal. Sinister looking but immediately recognizable in any kind of Egyptian environment. Good for a nature theme.
    • (ii).Bastet this female deity had the head of a cat, cats are always a good theme for Egyptian style décor. They are slim and very feline, aesthetically pleasant.
    • (iii).Isis a queen with a throne on her head. Think royal motifs. She was the wife of Osiris so this could be used as a marriage theme or in a family room motif.
    • (iv).Horis the god with a head of a hawk. Use with symbols of nature.
    • (v).Osiris death god dressed in white with a crook and flail. Could be an underworld theme for a teenager's bedroom!
    • (vi). Ra a falcon god with a sun disk. A good deity to use for decoration, bright and neutral, mixing nature and religion with traditional Egyptian themes, like the Ankh symbol.
  4. Think of Egyptian artifacts, not necessarily Pyramids or Needles (although these can be incorporated). Canopic jars (where organs of the dead were kept) or a Sarcophagus placed correctly can enhance the décor; you can get these kind of items from a specialist website or from Cairo of course!
  5. Get a history book out and pick a ruler renowned for style to copy. Many rulers had their own styles, Cleopatra of course, Ramesses III or Khufu the man behind the Pyramids. Each ruler was slightly different, some preferred death themes and some preferred those of nature.
  6. Use busts and masks, whether it be a copy of the famed gold death mask of Tutankhamen or a bust of the beautiful Queen Nefertiti.
  7. Hieroglyphs. No attempt at Egyptian décor should be missing a hieroglyphic design. You can use borders with ready made hieroglyphic designs, transfers or stencils.
  8. Decorate your room using familiar Egyptian symbols, these can be found in books and on the net, or consult a designer. Ankhs, Udjats (the Eye of Horus), winged solar disks and cartouches should all appear.
  9. Think light. Obviously Egypt is a sunny bright country, the sun would reflect off the yellow and sandy walls and create great rooms bursting with light, enhanced by the touches of gold that were abundant. Large windows would be best to light up a room decorated Egyptian style, and wise use of artificial lighting would assist. Experiment, but make sure any artifact or ornament is highlighted and not hidden away.
  10. Remember other Egyptian souvenir/decorations that are commonly overlooked. Papyrus painting, sphinxes, any kind of perfume bottles (with curvy shapes sculpted to be reminiscent of the famous queens they were presented to). Used sparingly will avoid a kitsch 'look'.

Follow this guide and you should be on the way to having a room that reflects the world famed Egyptian décor that still inhabits homes everywhere thousands of years later!

author: D. R. Deakin

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