- South America
- Kristin Deasy
Artisan colors, stylized features and enough homespun charm to impress any interior design fan. What makes Argentine homes different? These inventive decor ideas, for starters.
Hang a Light in a Basket
Walk into any home or restaurant in Buenos Aires and you’re likely to see what looks like an upturned basket hanging from the ceiling. The result is marvelously effective, yet thrifty — a combination in which Argentinians excel. Woven basket lights come in all shapes, sizes and colors and are sold in markets throughout Argentina.
Decant your Wine into a Penguin
It doesn’t get any better than this! Ceramic penguin decanters are, in fact, quite popular in Argentina. While a little heavy, many people consider them important enough to carry on their return flight home. And once you see how cute they are, you too might feel persuaded.
Throw Down some Animal
From Argentina’s grand estancias comes the animal hide rug, sold in many stores in Argentina’s capital. There are various kinds, from classic cowhide to soft and fluffy lambskin. If you’re looking to gaucho out your room or cozy up your entire home with a variety of different rugs, this is a good way to do it.
Buy an Old Water Bottle
This is far more exquisite than it sounds. In Argentina, sparkling water used to be served (and sometimes still is) in beautiful siphoned glass bottles. Now mostly antique, they’ve become a fashion statement as well as a collector’s item. You’ll be sure to find them at the Sunday San Telmo street fair, and other notable souvenir spots.
Don’t Stand the Wine, Cradle it
Argentina loves its wine, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are not one, but two entries on the subject. Wine bottle cradlers — for lack of a better term — can be found in pretty much every Malbec-loving household in Argentina. Made from wood and shaped like an X turned on its side, they’re sold at most markets.
Decorate your Home with Painted Plaques
Known as fileteado, this particular type of colorful embellished painting is as Argentine as it gets — think old-school Tango signs. Little memento plaques are sold in many markets, but you can also find them at specialty stores like Tienda de Curiosidades (Suipacha 1093). There’s even a bar called El Bar Del Filete that pays homage to this type of art. Fileteado first appeared in Argentina on the exterior of horse-drawn food carts in the 19th century. Highly stylized, this artwork traditionally contains phrases or aphorisms, not to mention an abundance of vines and flowers. Sometimes it inexplicably features characters from The Simpsons, though that’s mostly the modern fileteado you’ll see on street corner stands. Still, you have to admit it’s pretty amusing.
Use Traditional Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Crates as Furniture
OK, this one’s really just for poor students, but it’s very Argentine, and hey, it works. Square wooden boxes are ubiquitous around produce shops in Argentina, so they’re always readily available. Stacked up in a corner they make for quite a charming bookcase. Or turn them upside down and you’ll have a rustic-looking coffee table ready to house your favorite china cups. The options really are endless!