African Décor Ideas

To create a home design that’s unique or interesting yet comfortable, you can opt for an African theme. There are many elements to consider when opting for an African-inspired theme. You can use baskets, mudcloths, drums, masks, and other items that reflect the African culture.
African Décor Ideas

Any home can benefit from a few natural touches, but not all homeowners can actually pull it off. Most people would just open a few windows, build a garden, or put in a few indoor plants. But although that could work, it’s not really tapping your creativity. Besides, it’s not entirely original—a million other homes have picked up the Asian style of decorating. If you’re looking for a new way to spice up your home décor, consider adapting an African theme.

African décor is all about communing with nature while maintaining an air of class and elegance. Its many influences, from the jungle and safari motifs to tribal music and religion, give it a unique look that’s festive and deep, colorful yet subtle. Lots of elements make up African design, and it can be hard to tell which ones will work together. Here are a few suggestions to help you out.

1. Natural colors. Your colors should be based on natural elements such as the sky, earth, and trees. Colors not typically found in nature can be included, but only as accents to your main color. Brown, cream, burnt orange, and black make great backdrop colors, with splashes of bright blue, green, and yellow as highlights. Colorful fabrics and accessories are great for bringing the color to life. Mix and match as many colors as you like, but make sure your foundation colors are still visible.

2. Bold textures. Texture is more pronounced in African décor than in any other style. Unlike other styles, African textures are irregular and asymmetrical, as they tend to be in nature. That’s why wall texturing is discouraged—texture should be provided by natural elements such as wood, stone, and earth. Add a straw mat or wall hanging to put some variety in your walls, or use bamboo frames, indoor ferns, and driftwood as conversational pieces. Animal-print fabrics are a great idea for adding texture—use them as rugs, wall décor or pillowcases.

3. Sculptures. African sculptures make great decorative accents, even in traditional American homes. Animal sculptures are a great way to introduce a jungle or safari theme while adding color and texture at the same time. You can find a wide range of designs at most African shops, from simple wooden figurines to life-size wall hangings. Carvings made of soapstone, a smooth, talc-based rock, are very attractive and can be extremely valuable. A large soapstone sculpture can cost you well over a thousand dollars, but it’ll certainly boost your home’s value.

4. Tribal masks. Tribal masks probably have the strongest association with African décor; in fact, you can put up a single row of them on your wall and instantly give your room an African vibe. Several smaller masks are better than one or two large ones, because they offer more variety and texture. Look for colorful tribal masks to spice up an otherwise plain wall. For more interest, try arranging them at different heights or angles instead of straight rows.

5. Drums and vases. African drums and vases add an interesting dimension to your room. They come in all shapes and sizes, from small tabletop ones to large floor vessels over five feet tall. Use a low, wide drum as a center table for your living room, or a tall wooden vase to hold an indoor plant. Visit an African themed shop and see if you can find an authentic tribal vase. They usually come with interesting patterns and colors, which is great for adding texture to your walls.

6. Basketry. Basket weaving is an ancient African art that has been perfected over the last few thousand years. Although made from indigenous materials, African baskets are surprisingly sturdy, and their simple geometric shapes make them very versatile. You can use them as magazine holders, fruit baskets, or simply a decorative centerpiece for your living room table. If you have a collection of African trinkets like figurines, masks, or stones, arrange them in an African basket to make an interesting conversational piece.

7. Mudcloths. The mudcloth is one of the most remarkable African art forms, although not as popular as their masks and sculptures. It is made by dyeing a piece of cloth with colored mud, often in stripes or animal patterns, and washed with an organic treatment to seal in the color. Mudcloths have a natural texture that goes well with the rest of your African décor. The best thing about them is their versatility—you can use them as window treatments, furniture drapes, rugs, or wall hangings.