Design Style : Inspired by African Tribal

Africa has a rich tribal culture. The tribe-vibe brings a certain amount of boldness and edgy feeling with it. The dark wood, graphic patterns, natural materials...all part of the scheme. It doesn't always have to be rustic and safari looking. By sprinkling just the quintessential features & elements,  you can create a modern and sophisticated African Inspired space.

Here are 3 simple design elements you can use to bring in some of the exotic African tribal culture into your home :

1) Textiles : Get inspired from the Bakuba cloths from the Kuba people in Congo. Use the stunning ethnic textiles with graphic and bold patterns scattered around : on your furnishings or wall decor.

2) Handicrafts & Folk Art : A definite and easy addition to show off your love for the culture. Masks , wooden sculptures, chunky wood furniture etc are some of the popular choices.

3) Colors & Patterns : Use some of the exclusive and bold graphics patterns  that are synonymous to the African tribal culture in your space. The use of dark colored furnishings and warm earthy tones also reflect the tribal vibe. 

I agree that it's super easy to get carried away with the vibrant colors and the traditional features of the African tribes. The trick is to incorporate the right accents, colors & elements in your space to maintain a simple , clean & modern look . 

Here are a few styling tips to infuse just the right amount of the tribal edge to your space:

1) One unique design element:  Use just one typical design feature or a typical handicraft item. Masks, Head-dresses, Masai chokers are some of the things you can use to bring the tribe-vibe into your home. Group 'em and showcase them. 

2) Tone down the colors : The essential colors of the African tribal cultures can be overbearing in a place. Tone it down. Use lighter hues and shades..and bright colors with grey undertones. If you absolutely must use the bold colors...the key is to use it in moderation...maybe as a wall decor or a throw on the bed !

3) Traditional patterns for Modern designs: Interpret and improvise on the traditional patterns and shapes to suit your modern space. The colors of the zebra stripes can be used as a chevron pattern on a cushion, or you could bring in a rug with diamond patterns to mimic the traditional textiles of the tribes.

I love the modern african-chic style for the interiors. But the only African things in my home right now are a pair of Masai statues & a carved wooden Giraffe ( which I would have loved to claim that I got from my travels to the Land of the Sahara, but have to admit they were gifts). 

Don't be intimidated by this edgy design style. With my simple styling tips bring in a lil' of the exotic Africa into your modern space.

Happy Styling !



  1. Hey !!! I love your articles! Infact ,its getting better and better....And best part is that it is very crisp and still informative...

    And I must say - its getting innovative also :)

    1. Minol Shamreen ( Studio M )August 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      Thank you "secret".


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