canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read

What do the words ‘tribal design’ conjure in your mind? Do you immediately think of safari adventures and amazing wildlife or beautiful patterns and rich colours? More and more we are seeking a tribal influence emerging in homewares, and we love it!

So where should you start? Give consideration to the materials used in the home. Animal hides and raw leathers, beaten metals and natural woods are elements that can bring texture and interest to the room.

We are really enjoying the mix of furniture and homewares currently available on the market. There is an abundance of unique original pieces on offer that have been ethically sourced from all around the world – a wonderful showcase that there truly is perfection in imperfection.

Using items both new and old, collected and gathered through your travels is a great way to get the ‘look’ we are trying to attain. Infusing colour and pattern into the design is equally important. Warm colours are vital to create an inviting and cosy atmosphere. Terracotta, clay, creams and burnt umbers work beautifully with this style and the rawness of the materials we mentioned above.
When dressing your home there are plenty of ways to layer a space. Textiles are readily available now with African motifs. Heavy linen-base cloths mixed with embroidery and throws with hand-painted designs are a must.

Try urns and vases that are grand in scale and with a hand-beaten effect, or large carved wooden bowls can be a great addition to your coffee table.

When it comes to your walls there is plenty on offer. Large-scale portraits featuring African people adorned in their stunning tribal necklaces and clothing. Also there are some fun and interesting wallpaper patterns on the market, for example wallpaper inspired by African mud cloth as pictured below.

We just adore Andrew Martin’s ‘Expedition’ fabric collection with its glorious animals marching in a row. Colours are muted and soft, meaning you could incorporate it easily in curtains, blinds or custom-made cushions.

Wherever we look we can see this modern tribal influence in all areas of interior design, and we hope you too are inspired to allow a little piece of Africa in your home.

Maree Hynes is a specialist interior designer with a love of colour and texture. She offers colour consultancy through to the complete interior design and furnishing of your home or office. Visit for more information.