African Art Design Tip


Interior J

Design tip from Chelsea Taylor, gallery associate

Africa and Beyond

1250 Prospect St., La Jolla


Africa and Beyond offers many faces of African art, from contemporary Shona stone sculptures to traditional artifacts. Owners Ian and Julie Allen travel extensively in Africa (where they were born and raised) to hand-select exotic treasures for their gallery, which has been in La Jolla for more than 20 years. (Photo by Jonothan Woodward)

The hottest trend in interior design is style through diversity. African art is a rich, ethnic tapestry of design that is highly collectable, adaptable and can be used to add dramatic accents to any home. Ethnic pieces such as figurative sculptures, basketry, textiles, masks, wood carvings, colorful beadwork and other utilitarian artifacts complement and enhance both traditional and contemporary design. 

African Art Design Tips

  • Figurative wood pieces can be placed around a room as accents or highlighted as the main décor. 
  • African furniture, often made of wood, can blend well with contemporary metal furniture, leather, fabric or even traditional pieces. 
  • African art can be showcased individually or together as a collection. Placement and lighting are key to ensuring success. 
  • For bold pieces like geometric beadwork or abstract masks, central points within the home display pieces well — try a fireplace mantel or the wall above a headboard.
  • Sculpted wood bowls and hand-painted cloths on the table add exotic touches to the dining room. 
  • Authentic cloth wall hangings and paintings can be used as focal points in any room.
  • African textiles such as raffia and Kuba cloth or batiks can be used for cushions, pillows or furniture fabric. 
  • Ndebele dolls, soapstone artifacts and ebony accessories can bring a sense of African mystique to a bookcase.
  • Tribal art is adaptable. Where paintings can only hang, African art can hang, stand, surround, adorn or accompany other pieces that are antique or new, exotic or everyday.


Categories: Home Design