4 Ways To Incorporate African Style Into Modern Interiors

 

As the seasons change thoughts often turn to a new look or refreshing an existing one. To help you on your way we turned to Thandi Mbali Renaldi, founder of stylish online interiors boutique Kudu for some tips on how to incorporate African Style into modern interiors…

With winter soon drawing to a close here in Europe I am really starting to enjoy the lunchtime spring sunshine that steams through my kitchen window. My thoughts turn to how to refresh our interior in preparation for the change of season. It is time to move things around a little. This will include removing and cleaning the lovingly-curated items from all over the African continent that are dotted around the house on shelves and displayed on walls; ostrich eggs, Zulu beer gourds, vintage watercolours, to name but a few. Anyone walking into our house will not fail to notice the reminders of the African continent that sit alongside its 19th century Belgian architecture. When I look at our house however, I sometimes ask myself: is our home a reflection of an ‘African style’? Does such a thing exist? I do not profess to have either invented it, or be an ‘expert’ in defining it. The African continent is a marvellous source of creative inspiration for my particular interior style. In my case, it reflects some of who I am but you do not need to have travelled to or be from Africa to use African elements in your interior space.

A question I am often asked is: how to integrate African style into a modern interior? If you feel overwhelmed about where to begin here are a few points to remember.

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Graham and Green Chic African Print and Velvet Cocktail Chairs

 

Currently crushing on these gorgeous Cocktail chairs from UK retailer Graham and Green. The chairs are upholstered in the front with sumptuous jewel-toned velvets in yellow and teal, and each colour way paired with a complementary intricately patterned African print wax textile to the back. The result is classic design with modern appeal. Cocktail chairs are a 1950s mid-century design classic, sought after for their simple yet chic silhouettes. The chairs make great accent pieces in living spaces, and these will be ideal for those looking to incorporate some Afro chic interior inspiration.

[Image credit: Alpana Velvet Chair – Graham and Green ]

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Planet Botanicals Natural African Inspired Skin Care Brand

As the seasons change from cold to warm, colds and flu become all too common and unfortunately for me I have been bedridden, trying to shake of a particularly nasty cold, and generally feeling sorry for myself! As one to shun medication for as long as I possibly can, I tend to prefer natural goodness and remedies in essential oils and soothing herbal teas to get me well, as well as aiding overall day-to-day wellbeing, so it always good to get to know new products. I recently came across Planet Botanicals, a US-based natural African inspired skin care brand whose luxurious products, comprising body scrubs, washes, butters and oils; in addition to a dedicated facial skin care range, are formulated to provide healing and nourishment to the skin, as well as promoting wellbeing to mind, body and soul.
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Hand Decorated Cabinets Inspired By African Design Elements

I stumbled upon these amazingly decorated, hand-painted cabinets by Argentinean artist, Lucas Risé. Visually stimulating, the cabinets are a riot of colour, pattern and texture, with several of the designs drawing inspiration from elements of African design and culture; from basketry to motifs. ‘Somewhere in Africa’, brings together elements of the different countries and regions visited during Lucas’ travels across Africa; whilst ‘African Whimsical’ pays homage to the traditional neck ornaments worn by women in the Continent’s mid-western regions. The ‘Carrousel’ cabinet, in particular reminds me of the Yoruba beaded chairs I have featured previously. The design sees the application of 21,000 metal studs covering the entire surface, creating an engaging tactile object. In addition to decorating cabinets, Lucas brings his intricate style to textiles, and other forms of furniture, like tables.
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African Footballers 2010 World Cup South Africa Art Posters

Granted the World Cup 2010 held in South Africa has long since come and gone, but while searching online for African patterns for a project I am working on I followed a link to some amazing digital 2010 World Cup South Africa art posters, showcased on the website Specky Boy, that were created to celebrate the event and pay homage to elements of African cultures and traditions. Although I am not a footie fan, I did catch some of the action on the pitch, especially when it came to charting the progress of African teams. The 2010 World Cup South Africa art poster series was an experimental personal project by Greek illustrator and visual designer, Charis Tsevis who was inspired by the heritage of African patterns and contemporary football culture.
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Serena & Lily Traditional African Textiles Inspiration

Having spotted some distinctive traditional African textiles inspired fabrics featuring bold graphic patterns, on many a pinterest board, I was wondering where exactly they came from, so you can imagine my delight when I stumbled across them on Serena & Lily, a US interiors decor company. I adore the prints, they are so chic in some gorgeous colourways that are perfect for interior styling. As I thought when I first saw them, the fabrics are inspired by traditional African textiles, and Serena & Lily have reworked the patterns to give a contemporary update.
[Image credits: clockwise from top left, Kuba Pillow Cover in Orchid; 
Kuba Fabric Swatch in Navy; Lattice Pillow Cover in Flame; and 
Lattice Fabric Swatch in Navy – Serena & Lily]
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Adriana Hoyos Contemporary African Inspired Furniture Collection

The majestic Serengeti Plains were the basis for a contemporary African inspired furniture range by US-based designer Adriana Hoyos. Using rich hardwood grains available in a selection of finishes, the aptly titled Africa Collection features the distinctive markings of the giraffe moulded in a striking cutout pattern that is used in chair backrests, headboards, sideboards and table bases. The patterns are accentuated with upholstery materials like leather in neutral or contrasting shades.
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India Hicks Indigo Dyed Linens For African Decor Inspiration

Just spotted these indigo dyed napkins currently retailing on the India Hick’s website. Whilst I cannot say if they were actually inspired by African indigo’s (they could just as easily be Japanese Shibori), I am instantly reminded of the centuries old dyeing tradition that can be attributed to countries like Mali and Nigeria. Made with linen, the napkins come as a set of four each; with its own individual pattern. The napkins are a great accessory for those looking to add some African decor inspiration to their table settings.
[Image credit: Indigo Napkin Set – India Hicks]  
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Marcus Samuelsson Ambessa Includes African Inspired Teas

Amharic for Lion, Ambessa is a new range of specialty teas created by top chef Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus embarked on creating the tea blends whilst writing his recently published memoirs; Yes, Chef. For the people of Ethiopia Ambessa represents pride, strength and independence; and for Marcus’ Ambessa also represents his travels, experiences and the everyday journeys that are a part of life. The range also includes a selection of African inspired teas.
[Image credit: Ambessa Teas – Marcus Samuelsson]
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