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Woman Making Moves: Sesame Mosweu

Posted by Editor On May - 24 - 2011

Sesame Mosweu is taking Bostwana media industry by storm; a true MOGUL in the making. She is not only a radio and TV presenter but an actress, lawyer and entrepreneur. Sesame has been on radio for 4 years and television since she was 19 years old.

Woman Making Moves: Jinna Mutune

Posted by Editor On May - 23 - 2011

A young, energetic rising star, Jinna Mutune is an aspiring Director from Eastern Africa whose native country of East Africa provides the perfect backdrop and inspiration for her creative mind. Jinna majored in Directing and Producing at the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance [AFDA, Johannesburg, South Africa] and a course in Film Studies from the Houston Community College in Texas, USA and Fitchburg University (MA)

Woman Making Moves: Lisa Mundembe-Chuma

Posted by Editor On May - 23 - 2011

Apart from being an International Speaker for Schools in the UK, Lisa Mundembe-Chuma, originally from Zimbabwe is also the founder of Inspirational Woman Magazine a global women’s magazine that promotes unity amongst all women and celebrates women despite possible differences.

Woman Making Moves: Tiffany Aliche

Posted by Editor On May - 23 - 2011

Tiffany Aliche, better known as ‘The Budgetnista’ describes herself as a preschool teacher, tomboy, travelnista, social butterfly, chatterbox turned financial coach, speaker and author. A passionate teacher of financial empowerment, the New Jersey native earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Montclair State University and passed up a career in corporate America to teach undeserved youth in Newark, NJ.

Woman Making Moves:Amanda Ebokosia

Posted by Editor On May - 23 - 2011

Amanda Ebokosia is the founder and CEO of The Gem Project, Inc. The Gem Project is a nonprofit organization that educates school-age children, youth, and young adults about issues that are affecting them and their communities. Through the use of the organization's innovative programs, the Gem Project is able to hone the skills of leadership and community organizing skills of our youth.

Woman Making Moves:TolumiDE

Posted by Editor On May - 23- 2011

TolumiDE, pronounced toe-LU-me-day, is a Nigerian - Canadian Singer and Songwriter. Her name is a fusion of er first name Tolu and last name Olumide. TolumiDE who currently lives in Washington, DC was born in Toronto, Canada, she attended Primary and High School in Lagos, Nigeria and later studied Fine Art in the University in Toronto, Canada.

Woman Making Moves: Vickie Remoe

Posted by Editor On May - 23 - 2011

While in grade school, most of the comments from her teachers on her report card noted "very clever but too talkative” what they did not know was that Vickie was destined for greatness with her skill. Born and raised in Sierra Leone, host Vickie Remoe, who is currently in Freetown, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, U.S.A

Woman Making Moves: Myne Whitman

Posted by Editor On May - 23 - 2011

Nigerian blogger and author, Nkem Akinsoto is greatly known in the blogsphere by her pen name Myne Whitman. The full time writer and blogger has a Masters degree in Public Health Research but decided to follow her childhood dreams of writing popular fiction to get people writing.

African fashion is seeing an unprecedented amount of exposure on haute couture runways across the globe.  However, when we think of fashion, home is usually not the first place to come to mind.  It is quite easy to indulge in new looks, but like any trend it takes some constraint to decide what works best for you.  African inspired interiors are a bona fide style with its own design aesthetic – and lucky for us it is here to stay.  The spirit of Africa can be translated into most homes ranging from subtle whispers to jubilant cheers that scream Mama Africa!  Whether you are looking to achieve an eclectic, modern, or a sophisticated high-end look, all it takes is some creativity and ethnic details to see it through.

Color:  When designing a room, color is the most personal choice that one can make.  Fortunately, taking inspiration from the African continent spans the entire color palette.  Neutral earth tones such as brown, grey, white, green, orange, and some reds provide a warm and rich backdrop.  Vibrant colors such as purple, blue, red, and yellow can radiate a cheerfulness that can be both soulful and uplifting.

Texture:  Texture is an important element in any design.  It describes the tactile surface of an object and offers visual depth to a space.  African inspired spaces takes cue from nature here.  Natural elements from the porcelain like finish of cowrie shells that adorn many African items to rough fibers which are used as flooring to hand-woven baskets.  Texture also breaks up the monotony of similarly shaped or colored items. 

Textiles:  The African continent hosts a vast world of textiles such as Mud cloth, Kuba Cloth, Indigo, Adire, and Kente Cloth.  Many of the weaving and dying processes have been passed down through centuries and can be found in interpreted in contemporary rooms as pillows, curtains, table runners, tapestries, throws, and upholstery on furniture. 

Patterns:  Gladly, we have moved beyond the notion that zebra, lion, and giraffe prints represent the only patterns of the continent.  Wax print fabrics, tribal designs, and motifs with Adinkra symbols communicate messages that give our spaces greater purpose and meaning.

Art:  African art comes in diverse media’s dating from centuries ago to today.  Sculptures, masks, paintings, woodwork and handicrafts all offer exquisite expressions of African life.  Art gives a space more visual power and feature the innovation and creativity of the artist.

Furniture and Accessories: Utilizing traditional pieces such as an Ashanti or Bamileke stool, as an accent table is a great way to incorporate traditional pieces in your home.  Accessories should be placed thoughtfully and are the perfect opportunity to display your sentimental pieces, collectables, or treasures from your travels.

I hope that I have given you some valuable information to inspire you when designing your own space.  Traditionally speaking, African homes were never just decorated for the sake of doing so.  Rather homes reflected tribal identifications, spiritual, and/or social messages like marriage, birth, and more.  Today we have greater access than ever, much like the runaways, to choose and reclaim our history.  By doing so we are able to capture both the complexity and the beauty of Africa, right in our very homes.  

Amani Bush is the Founder and Creative Director of Amani at Home, an ethnic décor and home furnishings company based in Washington, DC.  Amani specializes in creating African-inspired spaces she refers to “Afropolitan” home décor.  Amani is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and holds a certificate in African American Studies. In addition, she is the Executive Director of Roots to Freedom, a nonprofit that promotes the study of African & African Diaspora life, history, and culture through education.  In her spare time she enjoys international travel, decorating her home, and her newest pastime of cooking ethnic cuisine.

For more information on Amani's work follow her on Twitter, visit her shop or read her blog. 

3 Response to "Quick and Easy Tips to Create an African Inspired Space"

  1. Heart of Decor Said,

    Terrific article! I love that you show how fabulous a contemporary room can look when African art is incorporated. The end result is fabulous! Well done! -Nat


  2. Hamid Bundu Said,

    This is a spectacular and much needed article, highlighting how African art and design can be used to enhance a living space or home. African art and design is often overlooked, so using these tips can help people understand (the art and rich history of African pieces and colors) and give a solid place to start.


  3. Linda Obilo Said,

    I totally love AfroElle and all the enlightening articles. Am working on having more time to read and got through all of the articles :) Keep it up Tricia


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