Spotlight on Suzani

It’s no secret that we’re textile fanatics here at RHW, and today we thought we would share one of our favorites, suzani.  Suzani, a type of embroidery on a cotton base, is a staple of bohemian decorating.  The word suzani comes from the Persian word for needle, suzan.  This type of embroidery is found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asian countries.

Suzani textiles look beautiful used as table cloths, bed spreads, or even as upholstery.  About the only thing that could make the Louis XV chairs in the image below even more over-the-top is this bold and bright suzani.  We think it works perfectly with the loose and playful arrangement of pictures over the mantel.

This is a dining room we would love to visit.  Invite us over and we promise to wear pants that don’t have embroidery-snagging buttons on the back pockets.

In this stylish entryway, a little suzani goes a long way.  We couldn’t imagine a better pairing than the yellow pillows with that striking painting.

Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors is the master of mixing patterns and creating depth with textiles. The spaces she designs tend to be restrained with an emphasis on symmetry, and the following two bedrooms are no exception. Without the suzanis, these spaces might feel a little chilly, but the embroidery gives them just the right dose of layered texture.

Suzani is also right at home in more formal settings.  In this bedroom, rather than seeming boho or eclectic the suzani bedspread reads as a natural extension of the floor length silk drapes.

From Vogue, via Domaine

From Vogue, via Domaine

For those of us who don’t have soaring ceilings and whitewashed herringbone floors, bringing in a suzani can add a feeling of luxury.  In this room the color palette is tied together with an autumn hued bow by the beautiful suzani on the wall.  We’ll take that feather-stuffed mustard yellow English roll arm sofa, too.

Here is another example of using suzanis as wall hangings.  The textile gives a simple, square-shaped room the cozy feeling of a bed nook.  We’re not sure we’d want that shirtless man smelling his pits so close to our pillow, but otherwise . . . .

Something about the suzani paired with these delicate lace pillow cases is really doing it for us.  Lone Philodendron split-leaf required.

From "The New Bohemians" by Justina Blakeney, via Decor8

From “The New Bohemians” by Justina Blakeney, via Decor8

Which is your favorite? Mera is in love with the mismatched upholstered dining chairs in the second image, and Katie loves the simple sweetness of the last image. Happy Monday!

12 responses on “Spotlight on Suzani

  1. Netzy

    These are so very fun! The very first picture with those two great chairs and fun pictures on the mantle AND the mismatched dining room chairs with rubbed wood are my two favorites. All the photos make me smile- thank you for sharing this new type of design with me. Happy day to you both.

  2. Nina

    I love these! My favorites would be the second Amber Interiors bedroom (the one with the gorgeous fabric draped over the headboard – the whole thing is perfection) and the living room (that mustard sofa!) with that dynamic wall hanging. If I could, I would crawl right through my computer into either space. Right. Now.


  3. Katy Gilmore

    Once you see those dining room chairs everything is so, so dull! What a stash of suzani one would have to have to cut them up – but that would be great. And please send one of those mustard sofas! Loved these photos!

  4. Carol Bryner

    I really want that one dining room armchair. Wow! And I also like the blue settee with the painting hanging above it. I have never heard of Suzani, but live the bright, clear colors of the embroidery.

  5. Diana Burch

    Love the mustard color combo. Is this the type of quilting in the recent 2-friends gallery posting? I don’t know how to tag and send it but check out their Facebook page. It’s beautiful quilting work.

  6. Adeline romoser

    Love that suzani stuff. Makes me think of our Susan Glassow and her taste: a combination of playful and deeply beautiful.

  7. Susan Glassow

    Last week I was thinking Liberty fabric for the old armchair and hassock I need to reupholster — this week it’s Suzani! Oh, my, you two source wonderful, wonderful possibilities.

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