African Home Decorating Tips

Written by ashley mackenzie
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African Home Decorating Tips
Adding African touches to a room adds personality. (African corner image by photobar from

For rooms that need a touch of exoticism and comfort, an African theme may provide the best of both. African animal prints and figurines remind people of safari adventures, while rich, calming colours reflect the beauty of nature. Hanging a large African artwork as a centrepiece, such as an African painting or a framed tapestry, can provide the launching point for an African theme and colour scheme.

Animal Theme

Animals play an important part in inspiring African decor. In an episode of "My First Place" on Home and Garden Television (HGTV), designers create an African-themed living room by hanging a dark, richly-coloured animal tapestry on the wall and including African-style animal figurines around the room. Next to the TV, designers place a tall wooden giraffe. Stencilling animal print designs, such as black zebra stripes, can liven up wood.

African Home Decorating Tips
Animal figurines and sculptures are distinctly African. (Africa wood image by gajatz from

Colour Scheme

An African colour scheme includes rich, earthy tones, such as deep reds, golds, caramels, browns and beiges that remind people of African grassland. HGTV's African safari-themed living room includes beige-brown wall paint and dark-coloured woods. Nontraditional colours, such as dark purple, also work when offset by browns. Woven brown baskets and light-coloured bamboo fixtures also look authentically African. People worried about bright furniture can incorporate earthy throw pillows, lamps and candle holders to make the room look more African.

African Home Decorating Tips
Bamboo touches are reminiscent of African huts, according to HGTV. (bamboo rug image by Stepanov from

African Masks and Dolls

Tribal masks bring personality to African-themed rooms. Designers can hang an African mask on the wall as artwork or toss quilts with African mask images on the sofa. When designers created an African safari-themed bathroom on HGTV, they pasted contact paper with an African mask design to the cabinet doors. In lieu of animal figurines, designers can easily make African dolls to place around the room. Tia Richardson and La Fawnda Watson at HGTV describe how to make African dolls with easy-to-find materials. (see Resources).

African Home Decorating Tips
African masks become artwork when hung on walls. (Red African Mask image by Paul Hampton from


Plants add life and colour to African decor. HGTV's African living room includes several small potted plants to add splashes of green around the room, reminiscent of the African landscape. For designers who want a genuinely African room, native African plants make rooms look like African jungles or savannahs. African violets (Saintpaulia) make lovely house plants that grow best in bright, humid conditions, according to Professor Sydney Park Brown at University of Florida. Other African plants that grow well indoors include orchids and Adenia.

African Home Decorating Tips
African violets add colour to an African-themed room. (African \violet image by Shirley Lai from

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