Afrocentric home decor for your interior

  • 16 May 2018 | Tumelo Buthelezi

This Africa Month, bring a touch of the motherland’s spirit into your home with some Afrocentric decor.

This brand of styling goes beyond expressing pride in one’s heritage; it allows you to combine modern art with nature in ways that evoke meaningful thinking that is both enlightening and therapeutic. The best part is that you can buy this type of beauty on a budget, as it is available at an affordable price at roadside stalls and craft markets.

But don’t go overboard. The trick here is keeping your decor simple and letting its elegant ambiance accentuate the room. Here’s a list of some items sold at local markets that can easily help you achieve Afrocentric decor.

Elephant art

Elephants are beautiful and gentle giants with much in common with humans – these animals cherish family bonds. Elephant art is the perfect symbol of love, care and protection in the household. Visual art inspired by the African elephant in the form of a poster print, or a faux taxidermy head, is a great accent piece for any wall and can add the right pop of colour. Poster printing is an easy and affordable way to style and personalise walls with this symbol of family unity. All you need is the right frame and a good quality image to bring this member of the Big Five into your home.

African masks

If you’re not sold on the idea of putting animal designs in your house, then perhaps you should consider African masks. They are among the most admired and well-known pieces of art from Africa, and are used to represent the spirits of ancestors or to attract good fortune where they hang. The wooden parts of African masks are often decorated with impressive geometric colours and patterns, which can breathe life into a room by creating an appeal that radiates with beauty, savagery and vitality.

An African wooden mask with stunning patterns. (Image: Myrna Fields)

Table runners

African table runners are a great way to dress up the table. The tribal-themed designs on the material are very distinct and richly symbolic. For example, a pattern showing cobs of corn is said to represent harvest, fertility and wealth. Bright colours on these table fabrics represent the spiritual, cultural and social fundamentals that influence a generation’s paradigm of consciousness at a particular moment in time. Table runners come in various shapes, sizes and styles that easily allow you to get creative and choose a unique look for your table.


Handcrafted African sculptures and statues are among the most popular creations of art to come from this continent. Their artistic portrayal of the human body has an enchanting aesthetic that is largely appreciated by collectors. But you don’t have to be a connoisseur before you can give them a place among the room’s furniture – crafts markets are plentiful in South Africa, offering affordable handcrafted works with which you can decorate the house to give it the warmth and vibrancy of the African continent.


Handwoven African baskets are beautiful, functional items that can be used in the house for storage and decor. In the dining room, they make the perfect ornamentation for the dining table and can even double as fruit containers. For decor on your wall, you can hang winnowing baskets from Zimbabwe to give it a captivating dynamic.

A beautiful winnowing basket. (Image: African Weave)

With African interior furbishing, less is definitely more – design experts advise that you should avoid over accessorising. Connect with the spirit of Africa but don’t end up turning your house into a safari with too many items, which will take away from the elegant impact of subtle aesthetics. All you have to do is simply add one or two items that will exude the Afrocentric concept of minimalist interior decor.