After soaking up the colour and culture of a sunshine yellow Airbnb in Bali, Shelley Ferguson explores how you, too, can create interiors inspired by The Island of the Gods
Shelley Ferguson discovers how to bring Bali style into your own home
Bali is known for its master craftspeople, who have passed down their skills through the generations. From traditional painting to carved wooden furniture and metalwork, local wares are for sale in abundance on the island and feature throughout many interiors. Balinese crafts are often influenced by Buddhism or Hinduism, the predominant religions on the island, but if you buy pieces inspired by religion or that have cultural significance, take time to research their meaning and choose objects that align with your own beliefs. Understanding and appreciating the history and significance of the things in your home that come from other cultures makes them more meaningful.
This home is a joglo, a traditional Javanese house that features a peaked roof and vaulted ceiling which is lined with woven matting and framed by wooden beams. If you want an achievable alternative to Indonesian architecture that will help translate this look into your own home, shop for imperfect teak pieces such as furniture, room dividers, feature front doors and shutters, and embellished metal objects like lanterns and Buddhas, or painted motifs such as elephants.
Spirituality is very important to Balinese peoples and, as a result, the island has an enchanting feel that naturally attracts soul-seeking travellers. The Balinese live simply and slowly, value self-love, are connected to nature and honour the values of their faith daily. No wonder it’s such a popular travel destination!
To embrace spirituality in your home, you must cultivate good energy. Add plants, the right crystals for your temperament, candles and oil or incense burners. Embrace rituals such as slowly preparing your favourite drink, stretching for 10 minutes each morning, playing chilled music, reading in a sunny corner or showering outside. The yoga platform in this garden, featuring the message “those who believe in magic will find it”, is a great example of making space for ritual.
Laidback surf culture
There are palaces, lush jungles and rice terraces everywhere in Bali, but if you’re anywhere near the coast, it’s the surf culture you’ll notice. Popular in Bali’s surf meccas, like Kuta, Uluwatu and Canggu, surfer culture has evolved into interior spaces characterised by no-fuss, flexible furnishings. The key to this look is layered textures, such as vintage textiles and used materials, moveable comfy furniture, art inspired by the water, a soft colour palette inspired by oceans and sunsets, and playful touches such as hammocks or a surfboard on the wall.
In Bali, gold hues portray happiness and prosperity and represent hope for a good life
Influences from nature
Almost everything in Balinese architecture and interior design mimics nature, forming a seamless connection between inside and out. While for most of the year New Zealand lacks the balmy breezes of Indonesia’s tropical climates, bringing natural materials into the home can add a summery vibe.
Follow this homeowner’s lead and add seagrass laundry baskets in the bedrooms, wooden bowls and utensils in kitchens and bathrooms, long, natural cotton drapes, wooden birdcages, clay-beaded chandeliers and plant pots, and pressed-metal photo frames.
The Balinese peoples embrace brilliant, bright colours in art, food, fashion and interiors. This home is no exception, featuring a bright yellow exterior – in Bali, gold hues portray happiness and prosperity and represent hope for a good life. The bedrooms are glorious in wasabi, navy and millennial pink – different colours that work together thanks to common neutral elements including a concrete floor, feature tiles, neutral ceilings and white window frames.
While the main living area features fresh white walls to allow the ceiling to be a focal point, colour is added with painted furnishings, from emerald green dining chairs to a hot pink front door. Woven Mexican floor rugs in chaotic colours and patterns scattered throughout the house add an exotic touch.
Potted plants feature in every room of this home and are a cost-effective, beautiful and health-giving styling option. Use foliage like palms, cacti and monstera for a tropical feel and vary the size and texture of your pots and plants to create a more natural look.
A lush garden
Balinese gardens are verdant, luxurious and bliss to spend time in. So how do they do it? A lot of planning, planting, pruning and privacy is the secret (and the tropical climate helps). The most common colour in a Balinese garden is green, with shade trees such as banana, palm, bamboo and ferns framing the perimeter, and semi-tropical plants layered in front. Flowers like bougainvillea, lotus lilies, frangipani, birds-of-paradise and orchids add rich colour and gorgeous scent.
To emulate true tropical style at home, you’ll need a water feature like a pond, pool or fountain, plus an area to meditate in, a spaced-out stone pathway and some serene-looking statues. Complete the look with a tasselled umbrella called a tedung, which features in Bali’s religious festivals and ceremonies.
Heading to Bali? Find this Canggu house at airbnb.co.nz/rooms/21943177.
Words by: Shelley Ferguson. Photography by: Sheila Man.