Tips and Guides

5 Filipino Design Elements for Your Home

Interior designer Jie Pambid shares his favorite Pinoy pieces for any personal space

Photography: Pat Martires (Main Photo)

I am an advocate of Filipino design. I believe that the Philippines is blessed with natural resources and people with enough talent to use these locally available materials. Pinoy interior designers can develop designs based on the colors, textures, and patterns seen in our beautiful country. We can create a special look that is both trendy and tropical—a style influenced by both the contemporary and the indigenous.

To pay homage to our culture, heritage and tradition, I always try to add touches of Philippine design. Here are are the top 10 Filipino materials that I love to work with.

Vigan Tiles

Vigan tiles are earthenware tiles that originated from the Ilocos region. In their raw form, they have a subdued orange color. They may also be treated to achieve different finishes.

I love using Vigan tiles, especially for floors, because of the warmth that these pieces exude. Vigan-tiled floors also have a rustic yet elegant look.

Another great thing about Vigan tiles? They can be easily purchased and installed! 

Click here to see how Vigan tiles were used in this 150sqm family home.


People often use Capiz panels for their windows but I personally like to use these panels in a more unique and creative way. Since these panels are translucent, I use them on the ceiling to diffuse the light. This immediately improves the ceiling and draws the eye upward. 

If you are decorating your home, you can also hang Capiz lights! Capiz lights can instantly add an authentic Filipino feel to your personal space. 

Click here to see the Capiz-lined windows and doors in this bahay-na-bato.

Caning (Solihiya)

Solihiya is normally used for the backs and seats of traditional Filipino pieces. However, I personally like to display solihiya sheets. If you would also like to display solihiya, you can cut solihiya sheets, place in picture frames, and hang them on the wall. 

Click here to see the solihiya furniture in a tropical Filipino house.

Ara-al (Philippine Slate)

Ara-al is usually used to create naturally rough and rugged floors. I like how these stones come in different hues of gray, brown, and even copper. They can even have a wet and polished finish for an unexpected look. 

Click here to see how ara-al was used in this family's kitchen and dining area.

Antique Bricks

Speaking of walls, you can also use antique bricks! Antique bricks have a beautiful aged look and texture because they have usually been underground for a long time as part of old wells and cisterns.

You can use these bricks for niches and ledges or even on an entire wall. This material helps make a room seem warm and comfortable because of its distinct old world charm.

Click here to see how antique bricks were used in this Dumaguete house. 

Discover 5 more Filipino design Filipino elements tomorrow!

Interior designer Jie Pambid may be reached through his design firm, J.P. Lake & Associates. J.P. Lake & Associates is located at Unit 6F, Tower A, Kingswood Condominium, Vito Cruz Extension, Makati City. You may call the office at (02) 822 0473.

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