Decorate your house, like an actual Spaniard.
No matadors, flamenco dancers or virgins. This is what real Spanish people like to have in their home.
As someone who has read glossy mags before, don’t judge me, I was always puzzled by the description of the incredible Spanish-style village american celebrities bought. Mainly, because nothing that appeared in the pictures stuck to me as particularly Spanish. And, of course, the low blow for any Spaniard, to include Mexican elements.
So, nothing against mixing with our Hispanic brothers (as colonizers, it was kind of our fault, anyways), but here are some actual Spanish tips.
Dining rooms are important, where else will you have your sobremesa?
Sobremesa, literally, ‘on the table’, is an important part of every Spanish gathering. If you are meeting people for a meal, it’s a given that you’ll spend a while just sitting at the table talking. We don’t all just run in for a siesta after food. If you are in a restaurant, it’s not unusual to order another coffee, after you have had your dessert, just to keep on talking.
Think about getting yourself a good balanced big table. Wooded and natural materials are well loved, but we’ll drop a tablecloth over it too. And, I don’t know why, but we don’t seem to like circular tables.
Mix your handicrafts
Till the nineties, the epitome of Spanish kitsch was to have one figure of a flamenco dancer on top of your TV. Bonus points if she stood on top of a crocheted doily, made by your grandma. But as the joke goes, the advent of flat-screen TVs has kicked out the flamencas, as there’s no longer any place left for them to stand with their big skirts. But, if your heart still beats from the brunette beauties, there’s plenty of artists still being inspired by them.
The famous partners-in-stereotype of the flamencas, the bullfighters, are also there for kitsch decorations, specially in souvenir shops. However, for actual spaniards, they are not so visible anymore. The way old bars used to do it was having the actual preserved heads of bulls (and sometimes other hunting trophies) on their walls. You can still find them on road joints in the center of Spain, but it’s generally frown upon. Those who are into such traditional arts, would probably rather hang from their walls a mantón de manila or a capote (the bullfighting capes), as not to terrify their guests. You can get lovely shawls online from Borca, in Madrid, and bullfighting memorabilia from Boutique del Torero.
Iron work is very typical of the Castillian Spain, specially that from the city of Toledo. Mix it with wooden furniture for that extra old Spanish look. So is pottery, which can be a good way to store condiments, other things, or simply a good garden decoration.
Azulejos are forever
We learn the art of glazed ceramic tile-work, azulejos, from the Arabs, and have been loving them ever since. From street name plates to baroque churches and geometric decorations, you can sure find something that suits your taste.
Plus, they are really good for temperature control, so, at home, the main places to have them would be the kitchen, bathroom and courtyard.
Have a patio, if you can
Of course, real estate prices make it hard. But, despite being a hot country, we Spanish people love being outside.
Arrange your own little space away from it all, in a balcony, or even in the middle of your flat if need me. Have plants, comfy seating and anything else that can make you feel like you are taking a break from city life. Take a nap, invite your friends, chat and be merry!