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Time to go African

For many years Africans have used Western style décor in their homes, preferring to keep up with the Joneses from America and the UK instead of the Wepukhulus and Otienos across the road.

However, this is slowly changing and there is a renewed interest in all things African, including African interior decoration.

To be clear, there is no all-encompassing African style as this varies from country to country and region to region.

However, there are several unifying factors that can be found across the board.

If you want to incorporate Africa into your home, the following are the pillars you should consider:

1. Colour: Use warm, earthy tones. Browns and yellows will remind you of the savannahs, dusky oranges of the spectacular African sunsets and animal prints to capture the essence of wild animals.

2. Materials: Wood, the skins of domestic and wild animals, simply beaten metals, stone, grasses like hyacinth and fabrics like sisal and coir are all used to give an African theme to a home.


It is common to find contemporary Western shapes done in African materials, for instance, an ottoman covered in cow hide, or a storage chest covered in coir.

A lot of African furniture makes use of elaborate carving e.g Lamu doors, and inlaying with bone, seeds, and other detailing.

Texture is also a critical component of African decor. Try rough plastering walls before painting them, or use Mazeras stone on your floors.

3. Accessories: Pots, masks, traditional stools, spears, shields, bows, arrows, colourful beads … make liberal use of these in your home.

Use pots as planters, stand a sculpture in an empty corner or hang a mask on a wall. Even if the rest of your furniture is very Westernised, these accessories will Africanise your space fashionably.

Don’t be rigid in your ideas of what African decor is. Determine what defines Africa for you and go with it.

Whether it is colourful matatus and bustling markets or sunsets in the park and wild animals, choose your Africa and then reflect it in your space.