The various cultures of the world are often an inspiration when it comes to interior design. Perhaps you want to incorporate a certain culture’s style as a nod to your family ancestry. Maybe you fell in love with the colors and textures of a special place on a recent vacation and want to recreate the experience in your own way. Whatever the reason, there are many ways to introduce culture-based design into your living and work spaces in a modern and timeless way. In this blog, we’re going to look to the beautiful African landscape for style inspiration.


The colors of Africa are as warm as the climate itself. Consider neutrals such as cream, beige, and taupe for your walls and find ways to bring in the accent colors of the glowing African sunset – reds, yellows, and oranges! Our founder, Beth Slifer, just returned from an African safari at the Singita Game Reserves. In this photo of a bedroom in the Ebony Lodge, you’ll see how they did just that with bright bed linens that pop against the neutral background. Doesn’t it look so cozy and welcoming?


Perhaps the most iconic design influence of Africa is the animal print. It will always be a classic design touch (we adore it!), but remember that a little bit goes a long way. Think of zebra and leopard for accent pieces or small furniture and have some fun with it! One of our designers, Marilyn Smith Heaney, worked on the design of the headquarters for The Player Group. Founded by Gary Player, who hails from South Africa, the group provides golf course design, real estate services, and more. In these photos, Marilyn demonstrates how to use animal prints for maximum impact!


The furniture style of Africa is simple and elegant with a splash of rugged and rustic. Choose solid pieces crafted of exotic woods like wenge, teak, or walnut that are stained a dark, rich color and then upholstered in natural linens, brown leather, or geometric patterns that are reminiscent of traditional tribal art and textiles such as Kuba cloth. Texture is key to capturing the feeling of Africa, as well as a dramatic contrast in pattern and color. Of course, a bit more animal print does the trick, too!

Decorative Accents

The art and culture of Africa offers an endless assortment of fun and unique accent pieces…the hard part is settling on a just a few! Organic items that are reminiscent of African culture are an obvious choice – woven baskets, carved wood, textured rugs, stone sculptures. Below are just a few items we recommend for that “taste of Africa” in your next design project.

Carved Ebony Head from Art by God

Carved Wood Animal Heads by Roost

Ostrich Eggs from Original Outpost


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