African art is very popular for decorating. Bold earthy colors, geometric shapes, and animal themes are common elements. You can make use of the crafts and traditions of the many different tribes. Here are some tips, including ideas and variations you may not have considered!
- As I’m sure you realize, earth tones should be the dominant colors: brown, cream, rich greens, oranges, and reds. But if you like, other colors can be used perfectly well, in a limited role, for accents and highlights.
- One or two art photos on African themes can add color and interest for very little money. There is a wide range of photographic styles and subjects that would fit, from the wildlife, to the tribal customs and costumes, to the most spectacular scenery on earth. The best selection is at Art Photo Wall Decor.
- Using masks and figurines. There are several hundred to several thousand tribes in Africa, depending on who you ask and how you define a tribe. So there are plenty of art styles and traditions for you to be able to find something you like. You can use the great variety of African masks available as wall art, by hanging several small masks in an arrangement. And for an elegant look, include one of those elongated figurines carved in dark wood, and usually featuring a lovely African maiden.
- As of this writing, NOVICA has over 300 African masks and 200 African figurines for sale in the various tribal styles.
- AllSculptures has some very nice figurines in their African and Animal sections, if you can spend a little more money.
- Banana fiber and soapstone figurines are often overlooked. Banana fiber is cheap and gives a rustic and whimsical look; soapstone tends to be more colorful and elegant. Swahili-Imports has a good selection.
- Or browse the huge selection of African Masks and African Sculpture at Amazon.com.
- Don’t overlook the use of textures; African decor offers you a wide variety of options with texture. You can use straw baskets or ferns as a counterpoint to a smooth wood sculpture. Bògòlanfini, the distinctive Malian mudcloth, can be used for wall decor, drapes, pillows and tablecloths. Clay pots, driftwood, gourds (which are traditionally used in Africa to carry liquids), and bamboo can add different textures to your room.
- African baskets aren’t all done in plain straw. Some tribes have a tradition of brightly colored baskets, like the Ghanaian baskets, from Ananse Village. Also consider colorful Sisal Titja baskets from Swaziland.
- African drums are popular, but they aren’t the only African instrument! Also consider bells, flutes, shakers, marimbas and kalimbas, those thumb-powered xylophone-type things, which are all useful if you don’t have room for a drum, or you just don’t want something so big.
- The website AfricanTreasures has a good variety of African instruments at very good prices.
Here’s a simple and inexpensive way to Africa-up any window or doorway: nail strips of dark bamboo wood around the frame!