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When developing a new collection, part of my job as a designer is doing research. If that sounds boring to you, trust me, it’s not. To create a new print, I examine both the latest trends and the history of a certain pattern or detail. My husband, the scholar in our family (he is currently working on his Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies), recently gave me a book — African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design by Ron Eglash. (For you Ph.D. types, Eglash traveled to Africa for his research on the intersection of fractal mathematics and African architecture, art and culture.)

At its core, the book is about the creation of African patterns, something I love and have incorporated into my own designs. I look to the past and then impose a modern twist. The Beat pillow from AphroChic does just that, using an African kuba print in a large, oversized scale, and in mod colors like cerulean and coral. Here’s no-math-required look at my finds for incorporating African print and pattern in your home decor from stores that have included them in their collections.


One of the things I love about African prints is that they incorporate a variety of colors into each pattern. This Dutch Wax Ottoman has a beautiful color palette of green, blue and yellow. It’s the perfect starting point for a colorful room.


The Etsy shop Amani At Home offers some beautiful African batik pillows. Each design features bright and bold hues. One or two would make the perfect accent piece on a neutral sofa.

And how about these adorable seats from Artifort? They are called African Swamps and come in a variety of lush colors like hot pink, lemon yellow and teal. I definitely would like one of these as a pouf for my living room. So cute!


Finally, the Josef Wingback Chair from Anthropologie, upholstered in an eye-catching African wax fabric, would serve as a guaranteed statement piece in any room.

Do you have any African prints at home? Have you always wanted to incorporate them in your decor but haven’t been sure where to start?

Tell me in the comments below.

17 Responses

  1. Karli_HGTV says:

    African designs often get overlooked. I'd love to see more African textiles in mainstream stores!

  2. Lauren Faye says:

    These prints are great and very similar to material on a pouf i bought from <a href="http://www.amara.co.uk” target=”_blank”>www.amara.co.uk. The african print is an immediate touch of fabulous colour in any room!

  3. CplusE says:

    Decades ago, long before it became popular, my husband purchased a piece of authentic African mud cloth. It is one of our favorite possessions and I used it as the design inspiration for one of our guest bedrooms. It is black and cream in color, and I used green and terra cotta in the room as well, but after seeing that chair from Anthropologie I'm thinking it may be time to update my color scheme!

  4. anna@HGTV.com says:

    Your guest room sounds wonderful!

  5. Jeanine Hays says:

    That is so nice Kayla! I think it's important too to incorporate one's culture into an interior. Very nice!

  6. La Petite Congolaise says:

    Hi Jeanine,
    Great post, wonderful ideas, and I totally agree that the research part is far from boring … but please remember that Africa is a continent, not a country, and that her beauty comes from her variety and diversity … from the Kuba in the Congo to the Ewe in Ghana, the Fulani, the Tuareg, the Ndebele, the Masai and beyond … each bring a different aesthetic, special colour combinations and flavour which make up the uniqueness of this magnificent continent.

    • Anna@HGTV says:

      Absolutely. That's why I love studying African dance…each country and kingdom with its own dance traditions and forms. The word unique is so overused, but not when it comes to the diverse art and culture found on the continent of Africa.

  7. lizinha says:

    So excited to see this post! I love the traditional style furniture upholstered in Kente style fabrics – it reminds me of artist Yinka Shonibare's work.
    I am currently obsessed with colour and pattern, mixing fabrics and textures. I relocated to Los Angeles from the UK and I wanted to create an inspiring and cosy bedroom -I used a Yoruba style bedding set as the basis for a makeover and I hope eventually to bring over my collection of West African sculpture and Moroccan jewellery to display on the walls. I wrote about it over on my blog here: http://ellelens.com/wordpress/?p=1086
    btw I found a great supplier for wax print and kente, lace and other fabrics in LA http://www.ashantifabrics.com/

  8. diane says:

    Great article. We also celebrated these beautiful fabrics on our blog http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/blog/fabrics-out

    Anyone and everyone can enjoy these amazing prints along with their history regardless of their own personal culture.

  9. Gail says:

    Love the chair coverd with African wax cloth. Where can you find this type of fabric?

  10. Nell says:

    I think this is a wonderful ways to display these great fabrics. JoanAnn Fabric Store has a small collection of materials during the year you just have to go in more than once to find something you would like.

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