Decorating with Tribal prints has become big in the fashion world over the past few years, and thanks to their huge success in clothing industry, they managed to seize the eye of interior designers across the globe. From their shy beginnings, tribal patterns have moved on to walls, floors and upholstery, adding a recognizable African feel to stylish homes throughout Europe and the U.S. Here are a few simple tips on how to incorporate a tribal touch in your décor and add a dose of texture and color to liven up your home ambiance.
Throw ‘em down: Ethnic motifs dancing across the floor
Rugs with tribal-inspired prints can add a hefty dose of visual interest to even the most austere of decors. If you already have a monochromatic carpet in your living area, there is no need to pull it back: simply add a couple of animal skins to different room areas, and voila! Your home is already richer by a dash of tribal textures. (Do note: although hides work well with most decorative styles, best backdrops for animal skins include mid-century modern, vintage and shabby chic, so avoid them if your home boasts an industrial, English country or Provencal feel.)
From ground up: Decorating walls with tribal stencils
Another area of your living space where tribal motifs can be effectively incorporated, walls make up a large portion of your home and their design can substantially affect the overall atmosphere indoors. Tribal stencils are an excellent way to add interest to otherwise monotonous decors, and you can apply them yourself using a transparent film, adhesive tape, and either a brush and a bit of paint, or tinted spray. The advantage of DIY tribal-inspired wall art as opposed to ready-made stencils lies in the fact that you can custom-pick the motifs you will transplant to your walls – or even create your own with just a little imagination.
The line of comfort: Quaint weaves for comfort
Sofa covers, blankets, cushions and throws evocative of African, Native American, or Indian weave can completely change the vibe of a home. Zig-zagging prints, diamonds and triangles, geometric shapes and coarse textures will add a note of warmth and authenticity to the living area, granted you use them with moderation and taste. Though the choice of colors will mainly depend on the overall color scheme in the room, go-to tones for woven elements include chocolate brown, burnt red, beige, terracotta and orange.
Rough yet elegant view: Printed curtains and drapes
To achieve a sense of raw elegance, use curtains or drapes with tribal motifs. The most popular ethnic print for window covers includes diamonds and soft geometric shapes. The choice of fabrics is also varied, though most designers recommend rough and/or heavy materials such as homespun, jute and burlap. For an airy feel, try simple canvas or hopsacking, or supplement your lavish wood-dominated decor with tribal-inspired brocade or satin curtains.
Paws and speckles: It is a jungle in here
Another cool idea for embellishing your home the African way, paw prints and hide-like patterns can be applied vertically to a corner of the room or along columns (in case you have these in your house). Leopard spots and/or paw prints running up a plain white wall will break the monotony of neutrals, and they also exude a playful ethnic feel and a sense of modern jungle indoors.
No need to move to Africa or India for a dose of ethnic eye-candy: use inspiring prints borrowed from other traditions to create your home’s unique multicultural identity. For more ideas as to how you effectively can use tribal prints and motifs, check out the interiors of real African homes featured on real estate portals such as propertymaputo: ethnic decors simply do not get any better than in the region of their origin.
Consider bringing tribal decor to the East Coast by contacting Melanie Langford, All About Interiors for an in-home consultation.
A huge thank you to Zoe for contributing to this blog!