Bringing a bit of "Kwanzaa" into your living space as a design style is easy to do. Decorating your space with African art and global sensibilities is a perfect way to embrace the Kwanzaa Principle of Creativity (Kuumba). You don't have to recreate an African village to affirm your appreciation of African and global art. A few strong elements used judiciously will bring on the 'Kwan'. Paint color, accessories, natural and living materials, all can transport your home to an exotic refuge that reflects your heritage, values, and style.
Strong Color Accents
There is amazing potential in the use of strong color. Strong color is extremely useful as a tool for personalizing space. Color can also enhance the global feel of a design. Certain colors like Indigo (dark blue) become options as indigo is the most commonly used natural dye in Africa. Add in a vibrant contrast of objets d'art and an eclectic mix of patterns and textiles and you're on your way to adding some 'kwan'.
Objects and Accessories
Art objects really help set a global mood in a room. It is surprisingly easy to find a stunning array of tribal art in most urban communities at import stores and even street fairs. Other items like globes, map prints, even old trunks can create a sense of faraway places. Be selective about what you purchase. Try to find items that speak to you personally on a deeper level.
Masks, shields, beadery, figurines, painted sculpture, or metal art made from recycled oil drums. You can mix and match colors, styles, and designs but balance is important. You don't want your space to look like a street bazaar. Little touches when added to an overall larger theme do much to telegraph a design concept while adding to the space's functionality in general. Woven grass baskets double as storage as well as add to the decor. Animal prints whether zebra, leopard, or chitah have been big in both fashion and home design for a number of years. Buy a couple of animal print pillows or a fake fur throw for the couch. These quickly modernize and update a room look.
African peoples live close to the earth and African design reflects that with the use of natural materials. Natural in this case meaning raw, unpolished condition in which these elements are found in their natural surroundings. Grass cloth wallpaper, woven chairs, grass baskets, sisal rugs all fit this definition and can work to bring a depth of design to your home or apartment. Cowry shells, mudcloth or batik pillows, and larger objects made of distressed or ancient wood like stools, tables or chairs bring the kwan to a space big-time.
Dressing the Space
Go for a sparser look in general and a neutral color palette on walls when using a number of strong African elements. A monochromatic palette allows the boldness of color, pattern, and form inherent in the art, textiles and objects to command undistracted attention.
Blend artifacts that are identifiably of African-descent with traditional or contemporary Western furnishings. Look for larger pieces that instantly make a design statement rather than a lot of smaller items that look more like an interesting collection and not the statement making room decor the kwan achieves.