Design by the Details: Inlay


What: Decorative technique in which contrasting pieces are nestled into the base object flush with the surface. Base object and contrasting inlaid pieces are most commonly metal, stone, or wood.

History: Civilizations around the world have been using this technique for millennia. From ancient China to the Mayans to Native Americans have all made things more beautiful using inlay.

Uses: Almost anything can be inlaid.  Purchasing a piece that has inlay is sure to add another layer of depth and texture.  Light will bounce off metal inlaid in a lamp base, a solid piece of furniture will have dimension with multiple wood species inlaid in a geometric pattern, or a small decorative box can add pattern and color with inlaid stone.

An inlay coffee table adds a hint of playfulness in this Mexico City home of Alejandra Redo.
Bone and ivory inlays in the ceiling of Richard Mishaan’s Colombian home provides visual interest on an otherwise dark space.
Inlay floor takes center-stage in this Barcelona home.
A pair of Moroccan inlay side tables flank the sofa in the home of John Robshaw.
Designer Gerri Wiley uses this Syrian wedding chest for pattern while keeping the colors cool and calm.

3 thoughts on “Design by the Details: Inlay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *