Bring the Colours of Africa into your Home

Adele Shotton-Pugh | Posted

African themes are becoming ever more popular in homes today. Increased media and modes of travel mean the world has become a smaller place. Far away lands no longer seem so far away, which has had an amazing effect on interior design as homes have become internationally eclectic. But what actually makes up an African theme?

A continent of such massive proportions, Africa does not have one single unified style but instead is made up of a tapestry of regional variations. North African countries like Morocco and Algeria are heavily influenced by Middle Eastern and Arabic traditions. Periods of colonization mean southern parts of Africa actually have a lot of European style traits. You have to travel to places like Uganda for instance, before you actually find themes that are solely African in nature. Typically tribal in style, traditional African is a rich mix of symbolism and elements from nature.

Over recent years the Moroccan style has become extremely popular. It is easy to see why, the unusual amalgamation of Middle Eastern and African styles make for a wonderfully exotic theme in your home. Here however I will be attempting to give a much broader overview of a more traditional African interior as this is a much lesser known style. No matter where you are in Africa, some elements do not change and colour is certainly one of them. African homes are full of vibrant blues, reds, purples and greens.

If your rooms are big enough then by all means feel free to add such colours to your walls, if not then it is better you stick to incorporating these colours through accessories such as embroidered duvet covers in the bedroom, curtains in the sitting room or even a cheap but very cheerful roller blind in the kitchen. Another constant theme in African design is the natural world, and this conveniently provides as much more universally usable colour scheme for rooms. Tans, shades of putty, mushroom or toned down terracotta would all provide a workable backdrop to your rooms.

Other ways to add elements of the natural world that work in suburbia are hardwood floors or worktops (you can actually purchase both in Bette, which is an African wood), plants such as Yuccas or cacti, wooden or carved crockery or even an animal print rug with matching throw and cushions. The last but still hugely important facet of African style as a whole is indigenous artwork. This is where you really tie everything together.

If you don’t have pieces brought back from holiday, you can purchase genuine artwork from online retailers or, even simpler, buy some replication pieces. Look for wall tapestries, murals and hand carved statues. An important thing to note however is this- African artwork and decoration is filled with meaning, some are said to bring money or good fortune, others are used as promoters of fertility or peace.

If it is merely the African look you desire, then it is fine to simply pick pieces you like out of shops or online. However if it is the spirit of Africa you wish to recreate, why not attempt to create your own murals or artwork that has special meaning to your family. You could pick up some discount fabric  and create a collage mural or use a cheap roller blind as a canvas. Do not worry about precision, much of the charm and beauty of African decoration is the obvious hand made quality.

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