Interior Refinement: African-Inspired Designs

Moroccan mosaic. Photo by Carlos ZGZ.

Implementing style techniques from foreign cultures is nothing new in the world of interior design. Decorators have long been using their passports to discover new and exciting elements for integration into their projects. The hottest trend right now? African inspired designs.

The deep, rich colors and natural components found in African styles add coziness to any room while keeping the ambiance refined. This is not about mounting stuffed lion heads above your fireplace despite your girlfriend’s protest.  This is about natural materials, earth tones, geometric patterns, and combining a wide range of textures.

Reading corner with geometric drape accent. Photo by Hero Images (Getty).

Another inherent aspect of African styling is Moroccan-inspired items which are taking interiors by storm. The intricate detailing and ornate architecture found in these designs bring sophistication and elegance. Moroccan motifs use circles, arches, and eight pointed stars and are normally multicolored in bright, vivid hues.

If you want to feature African style in your home but don’t have the time or resources to perform a complete make-over, consider introducing one key element:  tribal prints. They’re found in a wide variety of colors so it’s easy to obtain a piece you can incorporate into your existing design. Purchase a few toss pillows to keep on your sofa or a throw blanket to drape over the back of an armchair. Switching out your curtains is the simplest way to create a dramatic transformation and tribal printed draperies are sure to become the room’s focal point.

Living room with tribal rug and geometric pillows. Photo by Emily May.

The key to a tribal print is simply geometric designs and complementing colors. The geometric design can be a repeating pattern or encompass the entirety of the piece. Contrary to popular belief, you can mix patterns to include additional pieces without mismatching your décor by simply ensuring the patterns are varying in size. Two small-scaled patterned pillows right next to each other create an eyesore. However, a large-scaled tribal print next to a small-scale Moroccan design complements beautifully.

Lastly, accessories complete a room’s décor by inserting those necessary “personal touches.” How do you accessorize with African styles? A coat rack made from a thin giraffe statue or two elephant-shaped bookends; these generate a stylish statement certain to charm your guests. A trend as versatile as African-styled décor, with its rich culture, coloring and patterns, will remain in fashion for many seasons to come.