Africa is a beautifully diverse and exotic continent with a rich cultural heritage. African culture offers an endless source of inspiration for unique interior design styles with a focus on natural raw materials and handcrafted products.
This interior design trend looks best when small touches of African inspired décor are fused with simple, western elements such as modern furniture to create a warm, cosy, peaceful, and relaxed feel in your home.
What’s great about African interior design is that it can be as simple or as bold as you like. Unique African elements can add personality, warmth, and charm to your living space. It’s easy to add African interior design ideas to any home.
Go wild and explore how you could decorate your home in African inspired style!
There are numerous sources of design inspiration when it comes to African style interior. Discover some of the main influences below.
The African continent boasts an impressive variety of different terrains including deserts, forests, mountains, rivers and white sandy beaches with palm trees. Similar colour themes and images can be incorporated into your home decor.
Wild zebras at Ngorongoro National Park in Tanzania
Wild animals including lions, leopards and zebras, are popular in the fashion and interior design industries. Exotic animal prints are a timeless, luxurious trend commonly seen on the catwalk, in fashion retail shops and in magazines. Wild animals are a big part of African culture, which inspires art, fashion and design.
Due to the African continent being so diverse there are many decorative items that often represent tribal culture and history. Each handcrafted item has a unique story behind it, which adds interest and uniqueness to your home.
A kente cloth weaver in Ghana
Handmade African designs are usually made from natural raw materials, such as sisal and rattan, and use ancient processes linked to tribal culture. Handcrafted African inspired décor can add soul and personality to a room; no two items are ever the same.
Art and sculptures are very impressive in many African countries. Some painters like to pass down their knowledge and expertise to their children to continue a family business.
The usual colour theme for African inspired décor features earthy, rustic colours in rich, natural and warm orange, brown and red shades inspired by African sunsets, culture and nature. Dusty pink and blues with terracotta shades are also common. The colours can be a mixture of bright and dark tones.
When it comes to African interior style, natural raw materials and untreated surfaces that give a rustic texture and imperfect look are popular. African textiles with decorative prints and vibrant colours are also commonly used.
Cushion covers are great for adding pattern, texture and even a pop of colour to a simple chair or sofa that uses natural colours.
Handwoven baskets can be used to store magazines or to display exotic plants. Handwoven bowls can be placed on feature walls in groups as seen in the example below. Handwoven placemats and coasters can complement a wooden coffee or dining table.
Handwoven items by WomenCraft
You could go for a traditional handwoven rug such as the example pictured below or an animal print themed mat to add a cosy feel to your sitting room.
Handwoven rug made from palm leaves by Nabri London
There are so many wood carvings handcrafted by African artisans so you will have plenty to choose from. Tribal masks are great for adding interest and a wow factor to a plain wall.
Sculptors and figures can be displayed easily in your sitting room too. Wooden carved utensils can be displayed in the kitchen or on your dining room table.
Hand-carved wooden coffee scoops and lemon squeezers by QÄSA QÄSA
Handwoven throws for beds and sofas can add the finishing touch to a room and create a cosy and relaxed feel. There are many luxurious throws available that use locally produced African cotton too.
Traditional African textiles, such as mud cloth from Mali and printed kanga from East Africa, can be used as wall hangings to add colour and texture to plain coloured walls. You could make your own creative wall hanging at home by using leftover African print fabrics.
Closeup of a printed kanga cloth design from East Africa
Tablecloths and napkins are a great way to add some texture or colour to your dining table display and could be a talking point at your next dinner party. You could even make your own for a homemade touch.
African print fabric napkins by QÄSA QÄSA
African inspired lampshades are a great way to add a splash of colour to your living space especially if you use bold and vibrant African wax print fabrics.
Lampshade by Tropikala using our authentic Yellow/Red/Blue African Print Fabric
Hand-painted and terracotta vases can be displayed in your home to add richness and character. The below photographs are examples of beautifully hand-painted vases and pottery pieces ethically made in Morocco.
Hand-painted terracotta water cups and vintage vase by Nabri London
The most popular drum made in Africa is the Djembe from West Africa. It is traditionally made by hand and often features beautifully carved designs on the outside wood.
Djembe drums handmade in Ghana, West Africa
There is also the Dundun, Bata, and Bougarabou drums. All can be used to decorate your living space while you take up a new hobby at the same time.
Bougarabou drums handmade in Ghana, West Africa
Be it a coffee, side, bed, hall, desk or dining table there are so many options to choose from that can add a rustic, natural look to your home. Handcrafted wooden tables are made with love and come with their own unique story.
Curtains can be the focal point of a room with bold and bright prints, or they can blend into the background using plain and natural colours. You can also use the same material to make complementary cushion covers to complete the look.
Red/Green Flower African wax print fabric curtains by Kitenge Store
There are so many talented artists in Africa that you’ll be spoilt for choice. A painting can be a main feature and talking point of a room.
Tinga Tinga is a visually stunning painting style, often featuring wild animals, the Maasai tribe, and Mount Kilimanjaro that was developed in Tanzania, East Africa.
African paintings featuring wild animals by Tinga Tinga Art
A Tinga Tinga painting from Tanzania featuring people from the Maasai tribe
Authentic and traditional African textiles can help to add colour, texture and uniqueness to your home. Examples include: mud cloth, kente, aso-oke, adire, akwete, kanga, kikoy, basotho blanket, and ankara fabric.
Learn more about African fabric for interior design.
African print plant pot covers by Tropikala
Versatile African wax print fabrics are well known for their bold patterns and bright colours. The cotton cloth can be used to decorate so many items in your home and garden including curtains, cushion covers, tablecloths, lampshades, and even upholstery. The options are endless so you can enjoy using your imagination and creativity.
Discover more great fabric ideas that you could make at home.
Kitenge Store’s collection of authentic African wax print fabrics
While you’re here, why not browse our authentic, high-quality African wax print fabric collection and get inspiration for home décor ideas.
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