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African Safari Decorating

Guest Author - Donna Coogan

African Safari style is very distinctive and brings to mind adjectives like exotic, mysterious, wild, romantic, lush and primitive. Whether you want to design an entire room around this theme or create just a few touches, African Safari style is one that will certainly make a stunning statement in your home. It mixes wonderfully with other styles including contemporary, rustic and eastern decor styles.

Common elements of African Safari style include the following:

Color: natural earth tones, green, red, burnt orange, gold, purple and touches of black and white.

These colors come from the African Safari landscape, flora and stunning sunsets. They should be distributed to create a harmonious blend throughout the room, much like the symphony of an African landscape.

Furnishings: leather; rattan; wicker or wood furniture made from African mahogany; teak or other wood indigenous to the area such as obeche wood or the highly sought after yellowwood.

Furniture may seem more like art with its sculptural shapes and mix of materials. Authentic African upholstery is often made with animal skins like ostrich, leather, zebra, cowhide and lizard. Furniture legs are often of African wood or animal horns such as gemsbok or kudu, while more contemporary pieces might use chrome.

Fabrics: mudcloth; kuba cloth; brocade; silk; lace; velvet

African Safari decor should include lots of texture and fabrics are sure to supply this. They are beautifully woven and often portrayed with abstract patterns, animal prints or with pictures of wildlife, beetles, folklore, plants and flora. Look also for decorative touches like appliques and embroidery in throw pillows and bedding.

Art: African art offers a wide array of hand made items. Consider African face masks; batik paintings; hand carvings of tribal figures; various wildlife sculptures such as elephants, camels, crocodiles, lions, giraffes and zebras.

Accents: Zulu baskets; African ceramic pots; hand-forged copper; large leafy plants; tribal instruments including African drums, rattles, balafons and bamboo flutes.

Rugs: real or faux animal skins; woven textiles; raffia floor mats; Persian rugs

Window treatments: sheer panels; mosquito netting; lace; shutters or simple wooden blinds. Minimal, natural window treatments accentuate African Safari style.

Lighting: Look for lamps that have a natural, rustic quality to them with a simple animal print shade or a lamp designed to look like a wild animal or palm tree.

Taking these decorative elements into consideration, letís look at how a living room might be decorated in African Safari style:
  • Paint the walls in a warm golden hue.
  • Hang wooden matchstick blinds and white sheers on the windows.
  • Use an area rug in colorful abstract prints or a woven raffia mat over a wooden floor.
  • Furnish with a leather sofa, two wooden side chairs and a faux zebra print ottoman.
  • Hang a large print of the African landscape on one wall and a collection of African facemasks on another.
  • Accent the sofa with throw pillows in red, burnt orange and green or in colors taken from the African landscape print.
  • Include two or three occasional tables of differing types and top one with a few choice African wildlife figurines and another with books about Africa.
  • Place several colorful pots of assorted sizes in a corner, incorporating the same accent colors as the throw pillows, and fill with tall leafy plants.
  • Provide adequate lighting that complements the space.
When shopping for African Safari decor, check out local discount stores specializing in imports such as Pier 1, TJ Max and World Market. If you want to avoid a room from feeling too much like a theme, include plenty of color and texture to your space, but limit the amount of African specific items. Perhaps start with a faux cheetah throw or rug and add a large framed map or photo of Africa. Then fill in with other items, developing the look and feel of your room as your budget allows.


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Content copyright © 2014 by Donna Coogan. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Donna Coogan. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Michelle Ullman for details.

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