Miami interiors have a look and feel that you just know when you see. The aesthetic takes its cue from the climate and from nature. A pale palette with sleek flooring and finishes tempers the tropical weather, while touches of ocean, sand, and sky—reflected in hues of pastel peach, seafoam blue, and beige—bring the outside in.
Clients come because they crave the water and the warmth, says Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet, principal of Touzet Studio, an interior design and architecture firm in Miami. “Because our senses are stimulated constantly, it’s key that interiors are a bit calm and serene.”
“The look is chic, inviting and peaceful,” says Mayi de La Vega, president of One Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami. “You can achieve it with white-on-white, neutral colors, and even incorporate wood and greenery,” de La Vega says, noting that texture plays an important role in fabrics, pillows, or rugs. The classic Miami aesthetic is timeless because “it is fresh, inviting, and creates good energy and vibes.”
Joseph C. Fava, owner of Fava Design Group in South Florida, describes Miami style as “crisp and clean, like a white linen shirt, as well as bold and colorful like a Cavalli print,” noting that the look is easy to live with. “We enjoy a relaxed living environment, and the homes in Miami reflect that design aesthetic,” Fava says.
And the beauty of this vibe is that you don’t need to live in Miami to pull it off.
Let the Light Shine
“Natural lighting is key, and is the true essence of Miami living first and foremost,” says Ruby Ramirez, principal of Antrobus + Ramirez, an international design studio based in Miami. Ramirez designs around the views and allows as much natural light as possible.
Think floor-to-ceiling windows and glass panels. “Accentuate the views as much as possible,” says François Guglielmina, co-founder of TOGU Architecture, with offices in Miami and France. “Relation must be created between the interior and exterior spaces.”
“Use the light and filter it where necessary with persianas, blinds, or shades that come down when needed, coupled with breezy or woven shears,” Gonzalez Touzet says. She also recommends avoiding glaring lighting and instead going for mood and task lighting, as well as hidden wall illumination.
“Ambient lighting creates the ‘nighttime’ character, which lends itself to the other persona that Miami embodies,” Ramirez says.
A space with large windows designed by TOGU Architecture.
Texturize a Clean Palette
The highly polished look of the 1980s and ’90s has given way to more warmth and texture, Ramirez says. But light-colored walls, flooring, furniture, and fabrics are still hallmarks of Miami design.
“I use textures such as boucles and wovens in whites, creams, and sands as the foundation of our palettes, and then infuse color in accents and art,” Fava says. He also works with colors reminiscent of the sea, such as cobalt, mint, and turquoise, as well as coral and blush.
Infuse a Modern Touch
“Dissolving the boundary between art and furniture is something we see often; people really crave to express themselves even in their furniture,” Gonzalez Touzet says. Console tables or coffee tables made of stone, wood, or metal have become statement pieces.
“The furniture and design style is contemporary, with large and comfortable sofas that can be fused with Art Deco and 20th-century art pieces, sculptures, and accessories,” Guglielmina says.
A modern space from Ruby Ramirez.
Add Statement Artwork
“Bold art is the perfect way to complete the Miami vibe, and large canvases work well in the expansive spaces that are typically found in Miami,” Fava says. For example, he loves the bold colors of works by Ashley Longshore. According to Gonzalez Touzet, artwork is a key to making the interior unique and personal, and it’s also a way to bring color and texture to a space. “A signature piece is important; it becomes the anchor for the room,” she says. “When architecture, light, and art work together, the results are even more powerful.”
A wide open space from TOGU Architecture.
Focus on Flooring
Most Miami interiors have lighter-hued floors, although midtones are also common. “Super-dark wood floors don’t age as well in our sunlight and wear more visibly,” Gonzalez Touzet notes. “Terrazzo is a great way to achieve a light floor that’s sleek; it is easier to maintain and has more texture than super-white marble flooring.
Many of Fava’s clients choose a porcelain floor because it’s maintenance-free. “Porcelain comes in many colors, from whites to soft grays to taupes and beiges—the perfect complement to the steel-and-glass structures that define Miami architecture and decor,” he adds.