From an exotic place where few people wouldn’t love to escape to, Balinese style is a unique and rather magical balance of lush colours, raw materials and high-quality craftsmanship. Originating from the “island of the gods”, aesthetics and philosophies are flourishing in many spectacular homes and spaces all over the world.
Balinese style incorporates the outdoors like no other interior decorating style and is grounded in nature — and unlike Scandinavian, British or even French nature, Bali is a place of wild greenery, tropical foliage and rich flora. This vibrancy is balanced with the calming yet elegant impact of pieces crafted also from nature — woods and bamboos and very earthy ceramics. And the magic that brings it all together is a sense of spirituality that comes in part from keeping your choice in design and craftsmanship organic and also spreading the aesthetics of Bali’s beloved Buddhas and spiritual figures in all sizes, silhouettes and from materials from gold, brass and ceramic to wood.
Decorate your Home in Balinese Style
Think holistically when first incorporating Balinese style into your home, which doesn’t mean that there is no spontaneity — and there is the heart of the balance: Balinese style never feels too busy, and always feels otherworldly even as such delight is taken in a mosaic of ideas and pieces all designed together. The key is to imagine and envision the mosaic and bring it to life as a whole. Let the colour come in with accessories — framed art, cushions, rugs and beautiful throws in soft wools and lush cotton — as well as natural elements, such as large, leafy plants and tropical flowers, whether alive or designer. Bring in solid, bright elements with gold and brass vases and sculptures. And think about your balance of spirituality — one central figure can be the heart to your whole home, or giving space in room corners, by couches and even on kitchen shelves.
Choose Wooden Pieces for Balinese Style
Solid woods such as teak and some gums are perfect for Balinese furniture and sculptures, from daybeds to coffee tables to glamorous stools that can double as works of art, placed in an outdoor patio or in the corner of a sun filled living room. There’s also no need to be matchy matchy with wood tones and types: sun-kissed dark woods pair in the mosaic style beautifully with pines darkened by age or lacquer.
Use Bamboo and Cane
Use it everywhere, is the quick and the slow answer to where and when to bring bamboo and cane into your Balinese paradise. These materials are sisters and cousins and lovers in Balinese style. They are structural and decorative: insert a neat and obvious panel of lacquered bamboo poles into a grainy cement outside wall, or plant bamboo as a “wildflower” along the whole wall for texture and padding. Indulge in cane furniture for the kitchen and the sunroom and embrace it in accessories, from vases to framing for artwork.
Bali style at home
The Indonesian island of Bali is a holiday hotspot for vacationing Australians. Thanks to the cheap flights, short distance and relatively cheap living costs in Bali, it has become one of the most accessible destinations for families, couples and solo travellers alike. However, Bali is also an incredible source of interior design inspiration. A clever fusion of contemporary minimalism and natural coastal elements, Bali has a unique look that feels tropical yet chic. Whether you’re already planning a trip to Bali, or if you simply love the island style, make your home feel like a tropical paradise with our styling tips, and get Bali style at home.
1. Cane furniture and woven homewares
Nothing says ‘island life’ like cane furniture, a jute or sisal floor rug and woven pendants lights.
Balinese-inspired interiors need texture and seagrass baskets are the perfect way to present indoor plants or hide ephemera.
3. Cotton and linen textiles
Linen curtains, crisp cotton sheets and tactile cushions are the ey to nailing the Bali look.
4. Concrete and timber textures
Take your bathroom to the next level and combine a dark timber-framed mirror and timber cabinetry with concrete-look benchtops and walls. Just add green foliage plants for That tropical day spa vibe.
5. Wooden bowls
Don’t forget the finishing touches. Wooden bowls filled with Bali memorabilia make the perfect coffee table or dining table centrepiece.
Don’t forget to dress your tables with plates, cups, mugs, pots, dishes and vases all made from raw ceramics
7. Earthy colours
Select colours that are inspired by the earth. Think grey, brown, green, white, timber and all the shades in between.
8. Island vibes
Channel the island vibe into your living room with brightly coloured throw cushions, timber furniture, linen upholstery and a great woven rug.
9. Pick the right plants
Go for bamboo, palms or snake plants to get that island feel just right.
Balinese-inspired spaces is an interior design trend that's here to stay. Hailing from Indonesia, the style is characterised by natural handcrafted furniture made from teak or bamboo, textured rugs, local artwork, indoor plants, and of course, lots of rattan. While it has existed for decades, the Balinese style has evolved over the years — and is now more sophisticated than ever. These days, you can find the style all over the world — be it Melbourne or Los Angeles. Modern touches and contemporary art has been carefully weaved into a Balinese style home, resulting in a more minimalist approach drawn from the natural surrounds and laid back culture. Scroll through the gallery for inspiration.
Features of Traditional Balinese Houses
1. Gated compounds
Instead of a singular structure, a traditional house in Bali is composed of several bungalows laid out within a walled compound or “pakarangan”. Gates are considered one of the most symbolic parts of a Balinese house and are often constructed in a highly ornate fashion. The aesthetic quality of their gates is also a status symbol among the community with wealthier families posing more extravagant displays.
The masterful orchestration of interior spaces and open areas is still a distinct character found in many of Bali’s private villas. This building layout enables occupants to experience both the comforts of the villa’s interiors and the tranquility of the tropical outdoors.
2. Minimal walls and breezy interiors
Combining indoor and outdoors is not only achieved by their building layout; another defining feature of Bali’s luxury villas is the minimal use of walls. Curtains and ornamental plants give way to concrete and glass. Just like the past inhabitants of the island, present-day designers recognize that the true beauty of the island is not found indoors. And with such stunning locations, these properties present breathtaking views that occupants can enjoy in every section of the house.
The idea of compounds also allows space for another key feature of a Balinese house: a garden. In their courtyards, families would plant on any available open space expect only those allocated for walking, creating their own little Bali within their compound. Their love for gardens also shows the people’s appreciation of being one with nature. They often landscape these spaces imitating the verdant sceneries of the island, making use of natural stones, native plants, and creating impressive water features.
4. Ponds and other water features
Be it in the form of water walls, fountains, reflection ponds, or spectacular infinity pools, every luxury villa in Bali is certain to come with a water feature. Aside from the joyous feeling of submerging into a crystal clear swimming pool, the sound of flowing water will soothe any unsettled soul.
Balinese-Hinduism regard water as an element of cleansing both physically and spiritually and most locals embrace this by incorporating it to their homes. Ponds are almost always part of a traditional Balinese abode. Covered by lotus plants and water lilies, they blend splendidly with the surrounding garden vegetation.The relationship of the Balinese people with water also goes deep into their everyday life as rice farmers too. Their traditional irrigation system called “subaks” has been sustaining their rice terraces for more than a thousand years. This concept is adapted in some garden ponds, exhibiting the flow of water from one level to another.
5. Stoneworks and wood carvings
The Balinese people have a distinct artistic style that is manifested in their intricate stone and wood carvings. From gate and door jambs to statues and figurines, their houses are filled with fascinating works of art. Such articles are an expression of cultural beliefs and at the same time further establishes the personality of their homes.
Just as the Thai have their “sala”, bales are also iconic to traditional Bali homes. They are quite similar in purpose, originally built by rice farmers as resting places while out on the fields. Bales, however, are usually simpler, built with flat and elevated flooring and without any benches. Its idyllic charm is still well-appreciated and is found in many luxury villas on the island.
7. Thatched Roofs
Thatched roofs may appear primitive to many but there is a good reason why it is still one of the most common roofing methods in the world. At the peak of the wet season, Bali receives up to 13.5 inches of rain per month and these economical building materials provide excellent protection from rainwater.They give the structure a light and rustic appearance which complements the extensive use of structural wood material. It also creates an added vertical space to the interior.
8. Organic Building Materials
In addition to thatched roofs, the rest of the building is extensively constructed entirely out of organic materials. Bamboo is particularly common and is used as poles, woven, and roof material. Other materials also include coconut lumber and dried leaves, teak wood, stones, bricks, and wood shingles which are applied as roof tiles. This impressive selection of building materials reflects the Balinese philosophy of building homes in harmony with nature.
9. Use of fabrics
Light, simple fabrics are a key element to achieving a Balinese-inspired interior. With only a few walls, curtains are present in almost every room. Linens create a feel of breeziness to the interior and add a recognizable aesthetic touch to sofas, walls, and other furniture. Four poster beds with drapes are particularly iconic to contemporary Balinese interior design.
A notable characteristic of Balinese architecture is that the religious beliefs of the people influence their design and construction methods just as much as the practicalities of everyday living. For example, the concept behind having gated compounds was to ward off predators such as the tiger which were once abundant throughout the peninsula, but this particular feature also has a deep, religious significance as the “gateway between the dead and the living; the physical world and the spiritual world”.
Their methods of construction and planning of the building layout follow detailed guidelines as dictated by their religious principles. In addition, every house is built with its own family temple or “sanggah” and until now, Bali’s luxury homes still make space for spiritual icons and figures.Despite the presence of the Dutch on Balinese lands which lasted for about a century, the architectural identity of the region remained intact.
Despite staying true to the local design and architecture which gives a tropical island look, these properties are well-equipped with the opulence of modern living. Bali’s luxury villas feature flat-screen TVs, sound systems, state-of-the-art kitchens, sports facilities, lavish bathroom fixtures, and private chefs. But the beauty of Bali and the embrace of the environment provided by the villas are sure to stay with you even after you have left.
The Balinese people believed that each individual house possesses life or “udip”. And though we may not all share this ideology, it is a concept that seemingly transpires in luxury villa rentals. Bali’s holiday homes have their own unique character that guests are sure to recognize and personally appreciate during their stay.