As expats living aboard, it’s funny how we have this intense yearning to surround ourselves with all things African. I mean growing up in South Africa, I don’t recall having seen many homes featuring ethnic decor yet, we break our necks and often risk life and limb to not only hide the biltong, but to slip through customs with a trumpeting elephant – and all this, undetected!
Deciding on a theme is a good place to start. With so many different representations of African out there – let’s not forget the Arabic influences of North Africa – one could end up with a very confusing space! So whether you’re focusing on one room or multiples, maintain continuity by choosing one theme. You only need to search online for inspiration to see whose getting it right!
With your theme decided, it’s time to play around with the colour palette, which will determine the mood and feel of a room. All too often we associate African interiors with dark rich browns, beiges, creams and animal prints, which isn’t always the case. In fact, looking at tribes across the continent, it doesn’t take much to see just how vibrant and colourful Africa really is. When it comes to interior walls however, it’s important to keep it neutral, as dark and bright colours tend to reduce a space, making it look smaller than it really is. If unsure, remember, you can always experiment with colour through accessorising – adding and removing pieces, is easier and more cost effective than having to repaint an entire room!
When it comes to accessories, it’s important to choose your artisan pieces and wall art carefully. You want to be subtle – not over powering – have clean lines and exude a sense of sumptuous style – less is more! Cluttering a space and filling it with ‘trinkets’, not only shows little imagination, but can appear tacky, so one or two good pieces is all you really need.<