Take a walk on the wild side and add touch of exotic to your living spaces with African décor and homewares that will make you roar with pride.
You don’t need to go overboard, although you can! African interior décor offers a vast diversity of styles and motifs to draw upon. As vast as the continent itself, as a matter of fact, since each one of the African countries has its own unique aesthetic and design tradition. So whether you prefer a clean and contemporary look, a full-blown jungle feel, or a mystique and transcendental atmosphere, you’ll certainly find inspiration in the vivid colours, exotic patterns, and captivating craftwork of the continent. It doesn’t take much to introduce this rich and beautiful style into your home. A few simple touches will instantly transform your interior into wide open African grassland at sunset. Here’s where to start …
Rich Colour Palettes
Evoke the colours in an Africa-inspired interior design with the warmth of the sunburnt savannah plains, flaming orange and purple sunsets, deep and lush rainforests, and dynamic and vibrant market places. Your go-to warm shade colour palette: yellow, orange, red, terracotta, brown, sand, tan and cream.
For a contemporary spin, try black and white, with zebra prints, ostrich feathers and traditional beading. Contrasting light and dark colours can bring a touch of drama. Neutral, earthy and sand tones will create a warm and welcoming feel, while vivid colours such as dark blues, greens, reds, golds and yellows will add a colour pop and lively touch.
It wouldn’t be Africa without paying homage to the famous five now, would it? Leopard print rugs, zebra pillows, giraffe patterned ottomans, snakeskin picture frames, cheetah spot wall decals, peacock feather vase arrangements … the choice is endless. Mix up animal prints with some jungle greenery, such as indoor plants or exotic jungle-themed or authentic African patterns, wallpapers, banana leaves, protea flowers or baobab trees. Or, try geometric and colourful tribal patterns for an African landscape backdrop.
Natural & Nature-Inspired Textures
A space devoid of at least some texture can easily become dull and sterile. Texture makes an essential element in the decorating process, because it draws attention of the eye and creates focal points in an interior. When it comes to African style, natural materials, or nature-inspired textures works a treat. Think leather, cotton, stone, sustainable wood décor. Of course a faux fur rug will also nail the look! You can mix naturals in to your living spaces via wall finishes and window treatments, bed covers, rugs, art pieces, wall hangings and rugs. If you are going to use animal skins, consider the ethical side first.
Sustainable Wood & Upholstery
One of the most recognisable elements in an African interior is the striking furniture. If you’re wallet permits, invest in 100% sustainably sourced wood made in designs manufactured by local crafters. Go for darker, hand-carved woods with raw and rustic finishes rather than clean cut edges and shiny, smooth finishes. Or try inexpensive white wood blinds.
Dark leather sofas, animal print ottomans, wooden curtain rails and plantation shutters, tribal print curtains and textured patterns work back beautifully with a dark wood palette. Use African ornamental figurines with bright colours or traditional crafts, jewellery and other collectables to spice up the look.
Let your walls roar with African artworks. From paintings and wall tapestries to intricately carved tribal masks and hand-carved wooden statues of animals, gods, and people, or Kuba cloth – an exotic textile woven from raffia leaves and dyed with natural tints. Framed, this textile creates a unique showpiece. For more practical incorporations, use woven baskets to display your animal print throws, display exotic flowers in African vases or keep your jewellery safe in vintage jewellery boxes. For a modern spin, hang contemporary paintings by African artists.
ABOUT: Writer Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and the editor-in-chief at Smooth Decorator. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that’s where she gets most of her inspiration.
Main Image: Christian Lacroix Maison Love Who You Want Dessert Plate Doña Jirafa, €32, Vista Alegre.