In With the New: South Asian and African Influences

As I’m sure most of you have noticed, every year there are cultural trends.  A little while back it was Asian-inspired and in 2013 its South Asian and African influences in the home.  Being of South Asian descent, I can’t help but throw in some of my culture in some of my designs. Also, I adore travelling and collecting cultural pieces along the way that I can eventually incorporate in my designs. All in all, I think adding South Asian or African culture is a fantastic idea if you are a traveller or want to create a zen-like space.

Here are some things you may want to consider when planning a space using South Asian, Southeast Asian, or African Influences.

1.  Stick with Natural Materials

SOURCE: Raja Ji Arts

SOURCE: Raja Ji Arts

Both South Asian and African cultures rely heavily on natural materials such as dark woods. Gold, copper, and bronze coloured metals are you in South Asian pieces. Other materials regularly used in India include marble and clay.

2. Choose earthy colours with splashes of bright colours as accents

African Colour Combinations

COLOURlovers.com-a_f_r_i_K_a (1)COLOURlovers.com-z_i_m_b_a_b_w_e

For more examples of African-inspired colour combinations, click here.

South Asian Colour Combinations

india, indian, south asia, south asian, colour, coloursCOLOURlovers.com-Vaction_in_India

For more examples of South Asian-inspired colour combinations, click here.

3. Select Appropriate Fabrics

Traditional tribal print. Apartment Therapy

Traditional tribal print. SOURCE: Apartment Therapy

DesignWali.com

Silk saree material with gold thread work. SOURCE: DesignWali.com

Paisley, one of my favourite traditional South Asian patterns. SOURCE: Etsy.com

Paisley, one of my favs. SOURCE: Etsy.com

Choose fabrics such as silk with metallic or beaded embellishments for South Asian influences. Use cotton or woven fabrics (such as kumba) with tribal prints for an African feel to your room.

4. Pick a few pieces and don’t overdo it!

Too themed

Add a cushion or two and a rug with a handful of accent pieces to achieve a serene, yet ethnic look to your room. Everything doesn’t need to be African or South Asian.

5. Check to Make Sure You Aren’t Purchasing Anything that Could be Considered Offensive

Ganesh, Hindu God of Beginnings. SOURCE: PRWeb

Ganesh, Hindu God of Beginnings. SOURCE: PRWeb

Including statues of gods may not be in your best interests if you don’t know anything about the significance of what you’re buying.  Do a little research of what you’re buying, what it represents, and how to take care of it without offending those who subscribe to that religion or spiritual belief system.

Symbols of the African continent: giraffes, zebras, lions, elephants. Other symbols depend on the country you are basing your decor on.

Symbols of India: peacock, elephant, tiger, lotus flower, mango, sitar, wooden flute, tabla, harmonium

Good luck and have fun if you’re doing this!  I’ll be posting up pics of my South Asian inspired basement is looking like (it’s a work in progress).

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Since I was a kid, I used to stay up at night and quietly rearrange the furniture in my home. My parents would wake up and be stunned at the transformations that took place. "Why?" they'd ask. And all I could say was, "I was bored with the room". I became a school teacher but never lost my interest in design. I love how space, colour, and texture combine to show off someone's personality. I can't wait to share my ideas with you!

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Posted in Colour, Patterns, Themes

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