African Décor And Homewares Style Guide

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look.

Take a walk on the wild side and add touch of exotic to your living spaces with African décor and homewares that will make you roar with pride. 

You don’t need to go overboard, although you can! African interior décor offers a vast diversity of styles and motifs to draw upon. As vast as the continent itself, as a matter of fact, since each one of the African countries has its own unique aesthetic and design tradition. So whether you prefer a clean and contemporary look, a full-blown jungle feel, or a mystique and transcendental atmosphere, you’ll certainly find inspiration in the vivid colours, exotic patterns, and captivating craftwork of the continent. It doesn’t take much to introduce this rich and beautiful style into your home. A few simple touches will instantly transform your interior into wide open African grassland at sunset. Here’s where to start …

Rich Colour Palettes

Evoke the colours in an Africa-inspired interior design with the warmth of the sunburnt savannah plains, flaming orange and purple sunsets, deep and lush rainforests, and dynamic and vibrant market places. Your go-to warm shade colour palette: yellow, orange, red, terracotta, brown, sand, tan and cream.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Earthy leather, ambient lighting and a telescope to look out over the Savannah… Now we’re talking! Potography by Boa-Franc

For a contemporary spin, try black and white, with zebra prints, ostrich feathers and traditional beading. Contrasting light and dark colours can bring a touch of drama. Neutral, earthy and sand tones will create a warm and welcoming feel, while vivid colours such as dark blues, greens, reds, golds and yellows will add a colour pop and lively touch.


Go contemporary with monotone. Zebra Cushion Cover, $68.95; Zebra Printed Animal Hide Rug, $899; Zebra Drum Shade, from $67.46, all Zanui.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Add some tribal colour to your interiors with vibrant colour pops. Candy Zebra Wall Decal, $84.95, Africa Map Coloured Print Art, from $39.95, and Zoo Animal Zebra Cushion, $79.95,available at Zanui.

Exotic Patterns

It wouldn’t be Africa without paying homage to the famous five now, would it? Leopard print rugs, zebra pillows, giraffe patterned ottomans, snakeskin picture frames, cheetah spot wall decals, peacock feather vase arrangements … the choice is endless. Mix up animal prints with some jungle greenery, such as indoor plants or exotic jungle-themed or authentic African patterns, wallpapers, banana leaves, protea flowers or baobab trees. Or, try geometric and colourful tribal patterns for an African landscape backdrop.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Leopard Faux Fur Throw, $124.95, Leopard Spots Canvas Print, from $229.95 and Leopard Printed Animal Hide Rug, $619, available at Zanui.

Natural & Nature-Inspired Textures

A space devoid of at least some texture can easily become dull and sterile. Texture makes an essential element in the decorating process, because it draws attention of the eye and creates focal points in an interior. When it comes to African style, natural materials, or nature-inspired textures works a treat. Think leather, cotton, stone, sustainable wood décor. Of course a faux fur rug will also nail the look! You can mix naturals in to your living spaces via wall finishes and window treatments, bed covers, rugs, art pieces, wall hangings and rugs. If you are going to use animal skins, consider the ethical side first.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Jumbo Jute Macrame Tassel Wall Hanging, $375, and Natural Springbok Hide (Ethically Sourced), available at $149 at Table Tonic.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Create an outdoor jungle with African accents. Photographer: Andrew Moore.

Sustainable Wood & Upholstery

One of the most recognisable elements in an African interior is the striking furniture. If you’re wallet permits, invest in 100% sustainably sourced wood made in designs manufactured by local crafters. Go for darker, hand-carved woods with raw and rustic finishes rather than clean cut edges and shiny, smooth finishes. Or try inexpensive white wood blinds.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Go tribal with fine craftsmanship and artisan designs. All items available at

Dark leather sofas, animal print ottomans, wooden curtain rails and plantation shutters, tribal print curtains and textured patterns work back beautifully with a dark wood palette.  Use African ornamental figurines with bright colours or traditional crafts, jewellery and other collectables to spice up the look.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Add warm and rich colours for a homely spin. Photography by Boa-Franc

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

Black, white and caramel create a modern look. Bamileke Feather Juju Hat (Guinea Fowl Centre), $249, Jute Round Storage Basket (Charcoal) and Moroccan Leather Pouffe Filled, $230, available at Table Tonic.

African Art

Let your walls roar with African artworks. From paintings and wall tapestries to intricately carved tribal masks and hand-carved wooden statues of animals, gods, and people, or Kuba cloth – an exotic textile woven from raffia leaves and dyed with natural tints. Framed, this textile creates a unique showpiece. For more practical incorporations, use woven baskets to display your animal print throws, display exotic flowers in African vases or keep your jewellery safe in vintage jewellery boxes. For a modern spin, hang contemporary paintings by African artists.

African Décor And Homewares: Get The Look

From L to R: the Natural Tribal Trend as styled by Zanui, featuring Amalfi Tuscon Vase, Have You Met Miss Jones vases, and LS Collections Terracotta Tribal Jar, Arden Batten Fix Ceiling Light, available Zanui.

African Décor And Homewares Style Guide

Put your best face forward with hand-carved African masks that’ll bring your walls to life. Photography by Steve Evans

African Décor And Homewares Style Guide

Add handwoven baskets, beads and bowls to the mix. Image left: Photography by Rod Waddington. Image right: Photography by rRradionica.

ABOUT: Writer Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and the editor-in-chief at Smooth Decorator.  She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that’s where she gets most of her inspiration.

Main Image: Christian Lacroix Maison Love Who You Want Dessert Plate Doña Jirafa, €32, Vista Alegre


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