The Arabic Majlis is a unique room that exemplifies the Arabic culture. It is the traditional place where Arabs welcome their guests in the house. Because of this, the Majlis is often designed with long visits and long talks in mind.
The Majlis shows how the Arabic culture has influenced architecture in the area. A traditional Arabic Majlis is a reception, a living room and an event hall, all rolled into one. It should be able to fit all these purposes. It shows Arabic hospitality as well as ancient traditions.
It can be designed in many interior design styles, contemporary, classic, traditional or even a mix of different styles. The color and the design are important of course, however, the most important element in Majlis design is the ambiance.
In ancient times, the Majlis was designed simply with some comfortable cushions for floor seating and yet it still exuded a welcoming atmosphere.
Here are some tips to help you design the perfect Arabic Majlis.
Spacious yet cozy, a fine balance
The Arabs typically use the largest room in the house for the Majlis, as it is often used as an event hall. The room can be huge sometimes.
Nonetheless, people should feel welcome in the Majlis, they should be able to talk and connect with one another, this is the main purpose of the room after all.
So seating must be designed with coziness in mind. People should be able to sit comfortably and talk for a long time. Do not leave large empty spaces between the sofas so people from different seating areas can talk to each other without having to shout or strain their necks.
Elegance is a must
The Arabic Majlis is where you welcome your guests, thus according to Arabic rules of generosity and hospitality it must be the most elegant room in the house.
It must reflect hospitality above all else. Luxurious sofas that invite people to sit comfortably for long time, an abundance of small tables for drinks and dates served regularly and lush carpets that make guests feel comfortable enough to take off their shoes.
A place to connect
No matter how much you feel compelled to do so, do not place a TV in your Majlis. It is not a place to sit staring at a screen; it is a place to connect with people.
In times when such an appliance is a necessity to watch an important event or such, use a portable one that can be rolled in and out of the room. This indicates that the screen is not the focus of the room; it is only there to serve a temporary purpose.
Decorate for atmosphere
The people are the focal point of the Majlis and not the furniture or the décor. So keep that in mind.
Because it should be kept a versatile room, try to stick with neutral colors. What the room lacks in color you can make for with natural materials and rich fabrics, think understated elegance.
If you want to add a splash of color you can always add some indoor plants, plants add life and color to any given room.
And keep the lighting bright and comfortable, you want people to be able to see each other, even if they are sitting far away.
And remember that you are designing an Arabic Majlis, so adding an Arabic pattern to the walls or the furniture is a very good idea that adds consistency to the décor.
Welcoming from the start
The traditional Majlis is usually a large room that is either separate from the main house or in the house but with its own entrance. This is largely due to the Arabic traditions which values the privacy of the house.
Since the Majlis often has its own separate entrance you have to design a welcoming entryway.
This usually starts with a large door, sometimes even bigger than the house door, a door that really calls to guests to come in.
Another important element of the entryway is a chic cupboard if you follow the Arabic tradition of keeping shoes out of the house. Do not leave shoes lying around as it may ruin the elegant décor you are presenting. Instead use an elegant cupboard where people can leave their shoes out of the way.