Interior design trend to watch for in 2019: African vibes

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A feeling of Africa

Africa is a beautiful and exotic place, with a rich cultural heritage and is characterized by unique interior design. Today Africa is announced as the continent of possibilities. Designers throughout the world have already taken the African culture to heart and are inspired by African culture for several reasons. For some, it is the dream of a photographic safari landscape, while others appreciate it from a cultural-historical perspective. Whatever the interest for African-inspired decor is, there are plenty of ways to incorporate timeless African elements in the home, that fits the individual interior style.

Exotic tendencies

Every year we see how fashion experts and interior designers embrace new styles and trends from all over the world. While the Scandinavian interior style has been a very popular choice for many years, when it comes to interior design, 2018 and 2019 are the years where the exotic tendencies (known as "exoticism") comes to life in the interior design industry. 

The exotic expression has for a long time been seen in the fashion industry, where exotic animal prints still are a focal point on the catwalk. Today we associate the exotic expression with distant skies, white sandy beaches, palm trees and wild animals on the African savannah. Bringing character, colours and a sense of luxury into our home makes the exotic style grow in popularity. With its intense colours and natural materials, it is a style that can be as bold or as bare as you like. 

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The continent of possibilities

One of the greatest social trends we see worldwide today is the fusion across different cultures and humans. This is due to both social- and political-economic conditions. We have both the opportunity to travel around the world and revel in different cultures and styles, but there is also a forced fusion of cultures due to the migration, that force us to welcome new cultures and habits. This tendency opens up new ways of thinking trends, in everything from fashion, food, consumption and design. Therefore, we also see that "everything is allowed" within the design world and we see more often, that new, interesting and unpredictable collaborations occur across brands and industries.

Today several African countries are some of the world's fastest growing economies, and fashion experts predicts an exciting development in the fashion and interior industry. Due to the strong economic growth in Africa and a population growth, that is at its highest level in the world, a creative wave has been started among Western designers and trendsetters, who have become aware of the beauty of African design and fashion. That is why we now see a strong inspiration from African materials, patterns and colours and find inspiration from animals as the leopard, the zebra and rhino, which is characterized as symbols of Africa's wildlife. 

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The longing for basic and earthy values

In a society where technology is in focus and influences our everyday lives, we now see a completely natural backlash. We already see a tendency to prioritize traditional craft and encourage the love of handmade design. We as humans long for stimulating our tactile sense with more basic and earthly values. The tactile sense makes us curious and gives us the urge to discover by using all our senses to fall in love with new products. By stimulating our tactile sense, our attention is attracted in a new and exciting way that we are not used to. 

In a busy and stressed everyday life, where it is challenging for many people to keep their everyday life together, we find a natural calm in making our home a lovely place to be. A home where we can turn off, disconnect and prioritize ourselves and our family. Due to that, it is therefore not important for us to follow a particular design trend when we furnish our home. The most important thing to remember is to use our senses, feelings and personality to create a home, that makes us feel safe and calm. 

We as humans love the freedom to choose and create our own personal style. Our home should reflect who we are, what makes us feel safe and comfortable. By decorating with African inspired elements, we incorporate something dark and cosy in our otherwise minimalistic homes, which adds a warmth and cosy feeling into our home. We also create a connection with natural values in combination with the beautiful culture and history of Africa. 

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Colours that takes our minds to warm skies

Imagine the sunset above Africa's savannah, filling the low coastal plains with a warm glow and slowly disappearing behind the horizon. Keep this picture in mind if you want to decorate in an African inspired style. Earthly shades of clay and terracotta in orange, red and brown shades, in a combination with bright and simple elements, will create a unique and breathtaking space. 

African inspired interior design is characterized by the combination of dark and bright shades. Due to the growing trend and interest in exotic interior design, warm shades have found their place in our homes. Colours inspired by African nature and culture include beautiful reddish and brown shades, warm pink, dusty blues, shades of rust and terracotta. Common to all these colours is, that they fit perfectly in combination with large, bright and airy rooms, bringing comfort and cosiness into the home. The beauty about decorating in African inspired style is, that it is a style which can be as bold or as bare as you like. 

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Dynamic, colourful and confident

Modern decor in African inspired style is not about crowding the home with masks, baskets, animal prints and red- and brown shades everywhere. It is about finding a few elements that add a touch of an African mood to an otherwise simple decor. It is about finding elements that create harmony, personality and warmth. 

Decor in African style is exciting and fits in every home, whether your style is modern, traditional, minimalistic or eclectic. The African style can be described as dynamic, colourful and confident and is characterized by lots of colours and different textures made in African fabrics, carvings and artworks, which makes it easy to integrate them into any interior style. 

African decor is inspired by nature and wildlife in print and has for a long time been seen at the catwalk and in fashion magazines around the world. The trend has now found its place in interior design too. The exotic inspired trend is a celebration of globally inspired patterns, taken home from travels, as a global association between several cultures. 

The expression in this global trend is characterized by a fusion of decorative prints, rich tones and raw textures, which symbolize authentic African handmade design. Leight, exotic and decorative elements with an ethnic expression can be combined beautifully with modern furniture design. A creative mix of modern decor spiced with traditional African design elements radiate originality, style and personal decor. 

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With love for raw and natural materials

The African decor trend embraces the love of the natures raw materials. Especially hand-woven baskets and bowls are of great importance in the African interior style and are often placed on walls in groups or shown visually on illustrations and images. The use of raw materials reflects Africa's tough climate, while textiles with motives of plants and animals reflect the country's natural beauty. Untreated surfaces are iconic in African design and the beauty of the handmade and imperfect is perceived as beautiful aesthetics. See here how an African inspired chair made from the sustainable material, rattan, embrace the beauty of natural materials.

Handmade design creates soul and personality in the home and adds a lot of charm. With a focus on raw surfaces, soft shapes, solid and natural materials this is a trend for dreamers, inspired by distant countries who are longing for the feeling of the southern exotic warmth. Patterns, materials and fabrics all have a natural and raw feel, which makes them extremely tactile. Characterized by great bold patterns, bright colourful fabrics, wildlife print and beautiful art, the African design language is a tribute to the country and the different tribes. Vibrant colours are combined with earthy colours, with wildlife print details, that emphasize the continent's splendour. These are complemented with virtual masks and wooden figures that add a mysterious touch to the interior. 

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African wildlife symbolism

African animals play a huge part in African culture and their symbolism can be found throughout countless pieces of art and sculptures. Several African tribes believe wearing animal carvings on their masks will improve their communication with animal spirits who live in the desert or wooded areas.

The most seen animals in the fashion and interior industry are the lion, the leopard and the zebra. The lion symbolizes strength, courage, royalty and pride and the lioness, represents femininity, motherhood and the moon. The leopard is known as the "Great Watcher" and is a symbol for cunning, agility and ferocity. Due to its secrecy and mystery, the leopard is highly revered in African cultures as a master hunter. The zebra symbolizes freedom, individuality, friendship and unity. Though they are gregarious animals, each of them brings something special to the group and seemingly get along with other animals. 

In the fashion and interior industry, these animals are often expressed by print on different types of textiles. See here how a Zebra print can adorn a fine velour cushion. The possibilities are endless and it is only the imagination that sets limits. Go wild and discover how to decor your home in African style. 

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Curious for more inspiration?

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Abigail Ahern at her trend exhibition at Formex in Stockholm

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