African Style: History of Origin and Main Directions
The richness of African culture, many artistic traditions and the mysterious atmosphere that has enveloped the continent throughout the history of mankind have not remained without the close attention of artists and decorators from Europe. African motives can be found in three European styles of the twentieth century: colonial, ethnic, and art deco. Elements associated with this continent are present in ornaments, textiles, decor.
The culture of North Africa had a significant impact on European interior art as early as the 17th - 18th centuries. There were many strong and warlike countries in this geographical region: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Mauritania. Behind these names are several centuries of history, which is closely intertwined with the European one. First, changes have occurred in the design of dwellings of citizens of the states of Southern Europe. Their interiors were enriched by the use of a huge variety of African interior ornaments, bright colors, and the use of vaulted architectural forms, combined with the traditions of the Mediterranean countries.
Currently, the most demanded directions of the North African style are Moroccan and Egyptian.
What Are the Main Features of a Modern African Interior Design?
Conceptual Features of the African Style
When choosing materials, furniture, and accessories for decorating the interior of your home, you should pay attention to the fact that the laconicism of pictorial traditions and crude primitivism are completely different things. For example, in African decor as sculpture at all times, a three-dimensional image was used, and in European sculpture, a two-dimensional one. Plastics are present in almost all details of the Afrocentric interior design, even if they are created in an angular manner. In addition, you should take into account such nuances as the use of natural materials and numerous textiles, the choice of an appropriate palette of colors, and furniture furnishings.
Maximum Proximity to Nature
Natural contours, materials, furnishings, and accessories are the most important feature of the African interior style. This does not mean that owners who have chosen this style for decorating their apartment or house will have to be prepared for significant expenses. Some Afrocentric home decor can simply be replaced with an imitation "for natural material". So, even wealthy families do not always have the opportunity to purchase ebony furniture, and it is generally very difficult to find suitable ivory products in our latitudes. But in all that is available, natural materials should be used as widely as possible.
To achieve the desired effect, you can use not only expensive types of wood or various curiosities. Here you should pay attention to all the materials that nature has endowed us with in abundance. Good African themed decorations will be:
- ceramic products;
- rough clay statues or decorative utensils;
- bark (ideal - as a base for wall crafts).
How to Decorate the Interior in African Style
African Decor Ideas
Before you start working on the utilization of the room, you should decide: Will the future interior fully correspond to the chosen direction, or is it planned to be enriched with only some African home decor that brings the flavor of Africa? What does the owner want to see when the design of the room is ready: high cost, simplicity, brightness, feeling of warmth ...? Do the homeowners have enough time to care for the many natural details that true African style calls for, or do they want an easy-care “practical fake”? And, of course, one should take into account the dimensions of the premises, their purpose, the presence of children and pets, as well as other factors. Below are a number of secrets to help "transfer" the African interior design into homes, taking into account possible wishes.
The stone floor as African art decor is not just a tribute to the style, but a decision dictated by necessity. In the African climate, the device of such a cold floor is designed to make the stay in a hot and stuffy room more comfortable. But the use of a stone floor in the interior can make the home uncomfortable and cold. Therefore, it is necessary to install a warm floor system under the stone floor. This option is more suitable for living rooms, corridors, and kitchens, and for flooring, in bedrooms, it is better to prefer a solution that will be warmer and without the mentioned system - this is a parquet floor or bamboo flooring, realized in the form of large slabs.
To create the illusion of being in a real African hut, you should use special bamboo ceiling tiles. They are either attached to the ceiling lathing or glued. Fans of original options can be advised to fix several dark wood beams in the ceiling area at a distance of 50-70 cm from each other and at a small distance from the ceiling itself. Long stems of reeds or bamboo are laid on them. You can "enhance" the African style by attaching draperies to the ceiling. Both options have high heat and sound insulating characteristics, but the second is more expensive and more difficult to maintain. And it is also permissible to apply water-based paint on the ceiling or pasting it with plain wallpaper.
The simplest option for African interior decorating, both in the creation and in visual perception of the result, is the usual African wall decor ideas in your African-themed room. Their pattern, as mentioned above, should imitate the pattern of the fur of African animals or the skin of amphibians. A combination of plain wallpaper with colored ones will look great. For those who strive for the most relaxed design, you can simply paint the walls in a light warm shade of white.
Fans of the richness of colors should consider options such as applying a bright border with paints or decorating corners and edges with ornaments. The sense of African presence can be enhanced by covering the walls with a pattern that simulates cracks in a dry land, or by drawing the contours of animals. A fragment of the wall can be decorated with a photo wallpaper with a corresponding thematic pattern or a fabric with a printed ornament.
The walls of rooms with high humidity (kitchens and bathrooms) are best covered with mosaics or tiles that imitate reptile skin.
The African style in the interior is characterized by a special palette of shades. For the decoration of the premises, exclusively warm tones of the natural range are used. Despite the fact that hot weather almost always reigns outside, Africans do not seek to create a "cold effect" with the help of appropriate shades. On the contrary, they have always decorated their huts and houses with the use of juicy, warm, and “tasty” tones: red, orange, yellow, ocher-terracotta and chocolate. Sharp detail was achieved through the use of a rich azure hue, while charcoal black was added to achieve contrast. Black is indispensable even when calm sandy-creamy shades are chosen to create the interior with safari-themed home decor.
Modern African home decor implies the presence of numerous textiles. These are variegated carpets with unusual ornaments, curtains, as well as fabrics with a pattern of animal fur and amphibian skin. Skins of African animals or their artificial copies will be very practical and aesthetic African home accessories. They can be used to cover floors, decorate walls, and use them as bedspreads and capes.
You can curtain the windows using roller blinds or bamboo blinds, which fit perfectly into the typical African style decor of the room.
Afrocentric Home Furnishings
The African style provides for the use of pieces of African-inspired home decor and African-style furniture made of natural dark wood or wicker products (chairs, chests, tables, etc.).
The fact is that in an ethnic interior there should be a minimum of furniture, that is, only the most necessary.
Interior design in African style involves the use of various objects of applied art (African table decorations) and African-themed decor. The aesthetics of the hottest continent can be emphasized with African room decor: figurines of people and animals, ritual masks, and wooden dishes. In decorating a spacious room, it will be appropriate to use large floor jugs and vases, the pattern on which bears African motives. And about stuffed animals, which were very popular several decades ago, should be forgotten (now their use is considered bad manners). In this case, only the hunter's house can be an exception.