Add the essence of Africa to your home décor and watch your favourite spaces come to life. Waka waka… this time it’s Africa. By Preethi Shanker
Mysterious clans, exotic plants, lithe animals: Africa has always been known to excite and enliven your most primal senses. The colours, the sights, the sounds, the smells are all so vibrant and alive. Spruce up your abode with the textures and the symbolism of the continent.
Nature is the driving force when it comes to African home décor. Everything from animals and trees to the soil serve as inspiration for their décor elements. It is common knowledge that most African tribes worship trees, rivers and animals and believe in the power of stones and the soil. This naturally manifests into the people reflecting all this power in wooden sculptures, masks, statues and other handmade products. In a nutshell, African interiors are a reflection of nature’s most powerful symbols.
The colour scale used in African décor is not merely bright. It is very sophisticated and usually has an understated elegance. The most literal translation of primary colours – colours taken directly from nature like shades of red, pure white, green, grey and yellow ochre are the most common hues utilized. The shades range from earth tones that are natural and soft to the rainbow and its colours. Touches of nature with green, burnt umbers or watery aquas can be used as accents to create a diversion from the normal colour scheme while more bold colours like chocolate or indigo can be used for striking impact.
Paint your walls in a multitude of energetic colourful patterns and offset all this with solid brights on your sofas. Remember the value of white – it always provides a counteracting balancing effect to this colour. Black and white and shades of graphite mixed with metallic are a very impressive way of approaching African contemporary décor. Bold reds will add contrast with a great dramatic effect.
Like India, Africa is one place that boasts of fine craftsmanship in arts. But Africa is also very well known for its furniture. Most of the African techniques have been handed down from ancestors of the artisans, resulting in high quality products that have fast gained popularity across the globe. Every individual has so many ways to make a statement with African décor. Artefacts like masks, headgear, shields, daggers, ornamental shoehorns and walking sticks, pipes, lanterns and musical instruments make for great items to create a point of interest in your home. Buy authentic African objects that are usually brightly hued. Baskets and rugs in bonafide printed or woven fabric are a huge rage.
One of the main features of African designs is its adaptability. The countless choices available in terms of textures, colours and patterns make for easy compliance with different decor themes as well as providing varying choices for homeowners.
Natural wooden elements, woven baskets, burlap sacks, organic and natural fabrics like cotton and jute all translate well into the African theme of interior design. Bring the wilderness of Africa into your home through large wooden furniture, driftwood tables and abstract furniture, jute rugs and if possible animal prints like zebra or cheetah. Using wildlife or safari prints can be very dramatic but captures the spirit of Africa in its more pure form. Another interesting titbit is adding a mosquito net to your four poster bed to give an instant touch of whimsy and fantasy.
Use a lot of green plants, both artificial and real, to give the room the cosiness and warmth of the jungle. For curtains and rugs, use textiles that are nature friendly and have various uses. Many types of woods are derived from classic African furniture. To instantly liven up a room, you could try using woods like pine, cedar and ash whereas ebony and mahogany give a more timeless look.
The simplest way to go the African way is to add an eye catching African themed mural. Masks, iron art and ceramic pottery are perfect accessories that can be used to spruce up any room in your house. African décor uses organic materials that can be easily replenished. Wood, roots, vines, pebbles, stones, clay, straw, grass, shells, feathers, bamboo and wicker are most commonly used. Mixing different textures will go a long way when using these materials.
Many types of woods are derived from classic African furniture. To instantly liven up a room, you could try using woods like pine, cedar and ash whereas ebony and mahogany give a more timeless look.
Touches of nature with green, burnt umbers or watery aquas can be used as accents to create a diversion from the normal colour scheme while more bold colours like chocolate or indigo can be used for striking impact