African-themed home decorating

Written by mackenzie wright
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African-themed home decorating
(mseikaly at sxc.hu)

African themed decorating offers a great variety of styles and motifs to draw on. Your look can be clean and contemporary, or incorporate a full-blown jungle paradise. Whether you are inspired by or feel a connection to the rich African cultures, want to feature some beautiful souvenirs you picked up on your last vacation, or just like to introduce rich and exotic styles into your decorating, an African theme home decor can make a bold and beautiful statement.

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Africa is a huge and diverse continent, so African decor can vary greatly. Perhaps you lean more towards the ornate Moroccan style or towards Western African tribal motifs, or perhaps it is the jungle safari or bright sunsets of the desert plains that excite you. Look through some books on different African regions that display pictures of the culture, nature and artwork to help you narrow down the look that you are trying to capture.

Pallette

Earth tones are primarily featured in African decor, from the very neutral tans and creams, to the deep, rich greens, blues, rust, dark reds, oranges and golds. For a more subdued look, use a neutral beige for your base and add colours in your accessories, perhaps stencil a colourful wall border in rich jewel tones to add a splash of colour. If you want a more powerful look, paint your walls the colour of golden sunsets or rich green foliage. Add some black as an accent colour to ground the room.

Furnishings

For a more safari-style feel, look for furniture made of materials such as bamboo or rattan in deep, woody hues. Keep it casual and outdoorsy for that natural feel. For a more elegant look, use hardwood furniture stained in deep tones. Find large, sturdy pieces with interesting lines, ornate carvings and intricate details. Consider mosaic tile tabletops. If you have plain wooden pieces, dress them up by staining or painting them a dark colour and stencilling African-theme designs on them.

Lighting

Give the room an exotic feel with dramatic lighting that provides a warm glow to go with your exotic decor. Hurricane lamps are a great accent lighting in an African room, as well as unique Moroccan lamps that are handcrafted and unlike lamps found anywhere else in the world. Candles also make a great light source for African-themed rooms. Get candles with colours and designs that reflect your decor and group them together in clusters. For maximum effect, place them in front of a mirror.

Accents

African artwork is a must in an African-themed home, from paintings to tribal masks for the wall, to intricately carved statues of animals or people. Objects such as drums, clay cooking vessels, woven baskets and plants also make a great addition to African decor. Motifs that feature animals are particularly striking, or use animal-print throws. Incorporate wool or cotton African prints in your furniture cushions, throw pillows and window treatments.

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