How to use African textiles to create a vibrant and eclectic room scheme

Be inspired by the tribal trend and the bright colours and bold prints of African-inspired textiles

Whether on a few scatter cushions or a statement piece of upholstered furniture, it is easy to incorporate African textiles into your home. The exuberant patterns on these cushions make a stunning contrast when displayed together. Cushions (from top), In the Sky, Tongues, Cells, Memory and Penta, all 50cm sq, £64 each, Nathalie Du Pasquier at Wrong for Hay. A graphic wallpaper provides the perfect foil, this is Sun Loving Bollards in Col 35, £160 a roll, from Eley Kishimoto.

You’ll discover an exceptional range of African textiles by the metre at The African Fabric Shop, which is owned and run by Yorkshire couple Magie Relph and Robert Irwin. The couple lived in Africa during the 1980s and still spend time there each year researching and buying cloth. From their experience, people looking for typical African designs usually expect to see the bold, colourful wax prints. These washable cotton fabrics, £14m, could be used for lined curtains and blinds, cushions, tablecloths and quilting, but at 115cm wide, may not be large enough for some projects and aren’t suitable for upholstery. For interior furnishings, try the heavier cotton of the Kudhinda Zimbabwe screen prints – like this Small Zig Zag in Blue Steel fabric (above), 145cm wide, £29.60m – which features geometric patterns in vibrant colours.

A simple way of bringing African textiles into your current scheme is by choosing a couple of key pieces. We went for this Serengeti Green and White rug, wool, 150x230cm, £175, from Heal’s and added a splash of sunshine by making a throw in Selby Yellow & Black L9007-03, linen mix, 142cm wide, £140m, from Larsen at Colefax & Fowler.

Producing textiles in qualities suitable for clothing and interiors was the starting point for fashion graduate Eva Sonaike. Drawing on her Nigerian heritage, she has created her own designs on cotton twill for upholstery. Products made up in her fabrics include cushions, from £69 each, and a pouffe at £349. This fabulous design (above) is Ijoba in Orange, 145cm wide, from £59m.

For a striking African design with fun tropical print that will add a burst of colour to a neutral space, choose Wewe in Green (above), cotton twill, 145cm wide, from £59m, by Eva Soniake.

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To create a dramatic look, mix and match African textiles with geometric prints in a range of vivid colours, like this giant cube in Gouliot Pink, organic cotton, 146cm ide, £75m, from Claire Gaudion. We love the strong print on these walking stick umbrellas in Print U12 (on floor) and Print U4, £95 each, and on the New Hex wallpaper, £98 a roll; all from David David.

For more inspiring interior ideas, visit Homes & Gardens.

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