How to Decorate Your Home Like a Turkish Palace
Dreaming of the 15th-century Topkapi Palace, home to Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years? Or the colorful murals decorating the Beyoğlu district? The city of Istanbul, once the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires, is a vibrant, eclectic, and fascinating amalgamation of glittering domes, blue-tipped minarets, frenetic markets, and dazzling tile work.
And it’s an endless source of inspiration for interior designers.
As part of a new series, Travel + Leisure is seeking design and décor influences from cities and countries across the globe. To decorate your house like Istanbul—a city that straddles Asia and Europe, and seems to exist in both the ancient and modern worlds—consider this shopping guide, which looks to Byzantine and Ottoman architectural styles, as well as contemporary Turkish designers and classical motifs.
Some of the items on this list are traditional, straightforward interpretations of Istanbul design: an antique Oushak rug, or Turkish cotton bath towels like the ones you might find in a hammam. Others are less explicit, like a bed frame with carved, geometric patterns and a candle with the transportive aroma of Persian limes and exotic vetiver.
After all, Istanbul is a place where antiquity and the cutting edge coexist seamlessly. It’s a mesmerizing metropolis, and a crossroads of cultures. Whether you’re most excited by the Hagia Sophia or the Grand Bazaar (where generations of artisans come to sell their works); the high-end galleries or the designer hotels, there’s a way to incorporate a touch of Istanbul into your everyday spaces. Regardless of your budget or the span of your project (do you want an Istanbul-influenced bedroom, or an entire home of Turkish details and accent pieces?) you’ll find that the items in this guide appeal to all price points and aesthetics.
From blankets, tapestries, and rugs to candle holders and shower curtains, let these global pieces transform your apartment or home into a residence plucked straight out of Istanbul.
Dhurrie Occasional Chair
This hand-carved accent chair features velvet upholstery with a washed-out print inspired by Turkish rugs. We especially love the deep turquoise hue.
To buy: anthropologie.com, $498
Antique Oushak Wool Rug
Also known as Uşak carpets, this design was named after the city of Uşak, in Turkey.
To buy: abchome.com, $7,000
Iznik Tile Candle Holder
Hyper-focused on Istanbul-made and inspired goods, Sahi’s Iznik tile candleholder has a symbolic horned shape and tree of life design.
To buy: sahi.com.tr, $19
Add a touch of Byzantine-era opulence with this intricately-embossed, four-drawer dresser.
To buy: anthropologie.com, $598
Persian Pillow Cover
This 100 percent cotton velvet pillowcase, with a floral rug-inspired motif, will (cheaply) make your living room feel much more luxe.
To buy: potterybarn.com, $40
Decorative Copper Platter
Crafted in Istanbul, this solid metal tray can be used to serve Turkish tea and coffee, or as a decorative wall hanging.
To buy: amazon.com, $45
Antique Turkish Kilis Cabinet
Named for a city in Southern Turkey, this hand-carved cabinet dates back to Turkey in 1900.
To buy: abchome.com, $3,850
Tile-print Shower Curtain
The neutral tones of m.style’s shower curtain will go with virtually any bathroom, while the distinct, Turkish tile print will transport you to the streets of Istanbul.
To buy: bedbathandbeyond.com, $30
Kilim Coffee Table
A traditional, flat-woven kilim rug is reimagined as a coffee table top with an oak and metal frame.
To buy: franceandson.com, $1,430
If you can’t afford to decorate your home with authentic Turkish artifacts, opt for these beautiful glazed stoneware vases, meant to recreate 16th-century Iznik tiles.
To buy: potterybarn.com, from $17
Tugra Blackout Curtains
A tugra, or tughra, is a calligraphic cipher—the signature of an Ottoman sultan. Here, the intricate monogram decorates thermal insulating blackout curtains.
To buy: atgstores.com, from $43
A mosaic of glittering blue tiles, this quatrefoil-shaped mirror is evocative of the Hagia Sophia and traditional, Ottoman architecture.
To buy: pier1.com, $229
Iznik Tile Decals
Colorful (and totally low-commitment) Iznik tile decals can be used as a kitchen or bathroom backsplash, or to transform a humdrum staircase into steps straight out of Istanbul.
To buy: amazon.com, $16
Kilim Recycled Yarn Doormat
With the look and feel of an antique kilim, but the durability of reused soda bottles, this eco-friendly rug was woven on a handloom. While the smallest size available makes an excellent doormat, you can also opt for a 12-foot-wide version for an Istanbul-style outdoor patio.
To buy: potterybarn.com, from $59
Suzani Cotton Quilt
While more immediately associated with Uzbekistan, the incredible silk needlework can also be found across much of Central Asia—including Turkey.
To buy: serenaandlily.com, from $228
Modern Dining Table
Seat six for a Turkish feast around this contemporary dining table, with a marquetry-pattern slab top, and unusual, two-tone prism-shaped legs. Here, the play on geometry and color is subtle, fashionable, and perfect for artful table settings and displays.
To buy: dwellstudio.com, $849
Porcelain Cabinet Knob
Revitalize old cabinets with these colorful porcelain knobs by MYOH.
To buy: atgstores.com, $6
Persian Flower Tablecloth
A sophisticated blue-and-white floral print inspired by the Iznik tiles and floral motifs found throughout Turkey.
To buy: wisteria.com, $89
Turkish Cotton Throw Blanket
Handmade in Turkey from 100 percent cotton, this extra-large blanket looks great draped over a sofa or covering your bed.
To buy: amazon.com, $50
Ottoman Chic Hardcover Book
Istanbul-born designer Serdar Gülgün takes readers on a tour of his historic home to explore Ottoman style.
To buy: ahalife.com, $85
Turkish Coffee Set
Keep this beautiful Turkish coffee set, made in Turkey, on display in your kitchen or sitting room.
To buy: amazon.com, $193
Maze Fringe Tapestry
This Magical Thinking tapestry Is an eye-catching wall-hanging with tassel fringe trim and a complex print inspired by Anatolia.
To buy: urbanoutfitters.com, $59
Persian Wall Art Prints
Colorful ready-to-hang prints, inspired by Persian coins and tiles, add a bold pop to bland walls.
To buy: atgstores.com, from $186
Suzani Embroidered Pillow
Mix and match intricate embroideries and rich materials inspired by Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar for your living room sofa or bed.
To buy: potterybarn.com, $60
Vintage Hammam Bowls
These copper hammam bowls from the 1970s are a great way to display soaps and bath products, though they can also be used as planters, fruit bowls, and serving dishes.
To buy: etsy.com, $37
Turkish Bath Towels
Turkish towels, also known as peshtemal, are found in the famous hammams across Turkey. We love these 100 percent Turkish cotton towels, with an understated print that will flatter any bathroom.
To buy: amazon.com, $36 for six
Double-Wick Soy Wax Candle
Notes of Persian lime, grapefruit, and vetiver will transport you to faraway Istanbul.
To buy: abchome.com, $34
Carved Wood Platform Bed
Constructed of mango wood, the Elosia platform bed has bold, geometric accents. Best of all, no box spring required.
To buy: urbanoutfitters.com, $953
Turkish Linen Bedding
A duvet cover and set of shams can instantly upgrade your bedding. We love this graphic print, and the soft, breathable linen made from 100 percent Turkish flax.
To buy: westelm.com, from $49