How to make African motifs work in an urban home

The African continent is filled with gorgeous tribal prints and patterns so here's how to make these motifsat home in your modern house

living room with brown sofa set brown wall with curtains and brown tiles on flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

1, Mix and match your patterns

This sleek living room shows off its tribal prints at their very best by layering these squares of pattern on top of one another. Due to their sheer nature and similar tones the overall effect is subtle yet still striking. We also love that the throw and ottoman pick up on these prints and continues the theme throughout the room which could have otherwise looked like a very neutral, urban living space.

living room with wall painting chair and cushions with round table and wooden tiles on flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

2, Make the most of muted tones

To add some brighter colours into the mix without going fully tropical, ground the décor with rich organic hues before layering up the look with a hanging in the same embracing palette. This wall hanging is actually a Linie Designs rug repurposed to enhance the orange and gold in the Zoffany material on the cushions.

office home with teak walls wooden flooring and wooden table with chair and white curtains

(Image credit: TBC)

3, Use subtle texture changes to maximize the theme

Make the most of your urban African theme by introducing various textures into the mix, but keep these minimal to ensure the look stays fresh and modern. Try naturally textured walls, like this great use of Hobie cotton by Zinc Textiles, a simple feather trim, raffia chair and earth-coloured flooring.

living room white walls with sofa rope and zebra skull

(Image credit: TBC)

4, Turn up the contrast to keep the look fresh

To echo one of the most eye-catching colour combos in the natural world, layer a monochrome scheme with geometric motifs for an urban, modern twist on African style. Even the oversized palm print on the sofa goes from loud and garish to chic and sty in these black and white tones.

Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.