From English country and Provencal style to shabby chic and vintage, interior design has come a long way – but few styles out there can live up to the exotic and soothing feel characteristic of the African décor. The cradle of civilization and hotpot of cultural identities, Africa is an eternal source of admiration and inspiration for interior designers across the globe, and for a good few reasons, too. Incorporating lavish wooden elements, animal skins and tribal prints, homes styled following African role models boast a snug, intimate ambiance and coarse yet evergreen elegance. Here are some main features of African style which you can add to your home if you wish to reproduce the spirit of the wild land.
Wild as jungle predators
Another important aspect of African homes, native love for natural materials such as wood and stone is reflected in the choice of furnishings and ornaments. The go-tos for African vibe include pieces crafted from mahogany, ebony and cedar, while textiles typical of this style range from soft cotton and silk, to coarser fabrics such as linen and jute. For African upholstery touches, try animal skins and ethnic patterns, but make sure you keep a balance to avoid a garish effect.
Colors of cultural diversity
The main feature of African décor is found in extensive use of natural colors ranging from dark brown and olive to light, soft hues such as ivory, ecru and beige. The earthy color scheme is often accentuated through sporadic contrasts with bright colors such as red, yellow and orange evocative of scenic African sunsets and tribal paints. Use vivid hues sparingly: going overboard with colors can completely ruin the African look instead of enriching it.
Accessorize the African way
As for accessories, African décor relies heavily of deployment of handcrafted items such as clay pottery, Zulu shields, tribal masks, Egyptian papyrus replicas, Masaai spears, and carved wood figurines. For a cool accent wall, try applying tribal stencils or hide-looking tapestries, or go creative with Africa-inspired photos and wallpapers. With accessories originating from the Dark Continent, the sky is the limit – for as long as you stick to the boundaries of good taste.
Where gentle textures meet sharp angles
As a general rule, African designs are unique blends of sharp edges and rich textures, and this feature is visible in furnishings that promote a recognizable unity of straight lines and gentle curves. Wooden elements are often deprived of lavish decorative touches, but sometimes elaborate engravings are used to emphasize the overall décor density. To add visual interest to your interiors, look for matte solid wood pieces, or combine varnished surfaces with dark-hued leather upholstery.
Spice it up with a dash of Asia and Europe
Due to its history of close trade relations with Europe and Asia, African culture gradually succumbed to foreign influences, and this aspect is also manifest in the world of interior design. For a dose of Asia in your African home, throw in artful carpets or bamboo shades, and integrate a European-looking bar in the corner of your dining room for a functional décor addition.
In case you want to learn more about this unique style, you can always check the interior design of apartments and houses offered via African real estate agencies. Down-to-earth yet inimitably sophisticated, African design is a true sight for sore eyes, and once you start redoing rooms following classic African role models, you will soon fall back in love with your living area. Good luck!