Top 5 tips to achieve the tribal trend in any home

April 20, 2017

The hot home interiors trend for 2017 seen in all magazines, is definitely tribal. Although not everyone is keen to turn their homes into African savannahs and wild creatures, we can definitely envision more of the raw and beautiful state of nature. Tribal décor stems from any kind of tribal art or culture, whether it be Native Aztec, Indian or African, it just depends on what kind of aesthetic you are trying to achieve. Armed with some research on Pinterest and Instagram, I went on a shopping challenge at Homesense and TK Maxx for the perfect pieces to incorporate a tribal vibe into my home. When deciding upon a home decor trend, there is a fine line between inspired and over the top. A few accessories, key pieces or decorative walls can create a gentle accent and not overwhelm the space. My post is about 5 tips to get you started on creating a perfectly balanced, tribal inspired space.

My post is also about trends that do good, and I’ve chosen to shop at Homesense and TK Maxx because they are not just the only shops I can see myself living in, but also because since 2008 they have been working in Uganda enabling more than 10,000 children to go to school. All revenues from the production and sales of coffee, cocoa, cotton, and craft generate increased incomes for parents in Uganda. Since the sustainable trade project started in 2011, there has been a 40% increase of children finishing primary school education. The stores have a special delivery of unique hand-crafted homeware arrived last week and I already found some beautiful baskets and bowls made in Uganda which integrate perfectly into my tribal theme.

1.Colour and pattern

What I love about the tribal theme is that you can either go all neutral with some bold accents (as you’ll see in my living room theme), or envision the African palette: burnt orange, black, browns, and red. I added a punch of fresh updated tribal to my bedroom with the orange and light blue colour scheme of the throw blanket and pillows. A popular traditional African tribal pattern is known as Mudcloth. Historically, each African symbol had its own individual meaning. By combining the symbols in different patterns and colours, no two pieces of Mudcloth were the same, and each told its own unique story. These prints are a wonderful way to add a little culture to your home. I have found the Mudcloth vase at Homesense, part of the TK Maxx family, as well as the bedding and wooden tray, all at great value and high quality, as it was to be expected. Aztec and Indian Native tribal prints usually have a lot of geometric shapes within them, particularly triangles, arrows and circles. Some more contemporary versions may even incorporate images of feathers and tee pees. Integrating this style of print will immediately create a sort of tribal, trendy vibe in your space.

The key piece is the lime basket from Uganda, integrated perfectly into the positive colour scheme. Adding a unique decorating piece on the bedstand, instead of the classic lamp, brings character to any room, especially the one you spend most of the time in.

2. Tribal art

Tribal art can be a breathtaking addition to any room. Whether you enjoy the look of an African woman all colourful in her traditional garb, or a black and white photo of a chief in a beautiful feather headdress, art is an easy way to add a hint of tribal inspiration that really packs a punch. The best part about tribal art is that it lends itself to pretty much any aesthetic. The geometric pattern of the wooden frame found at Homesense is unique and one-off. 

What I found shopping at TK Maxx and the home chain Homesense, is that you will always get branded and unique homeware up to 60% less. A bargain is always better when the quality stands out, right? Imagine finding these 3 pieces made in Uganda on the sale shelf. It doesn’t get better than that! I have integrated the baskets on my hallway console table, attributing them different roles: a vase for my flowers, a wall decorative piece, as well as a basket for hiding different bits and bobs. Create a dramatic entrance in the first room guests see when they enter your home.

3. Neutral with bold accents

When researching for this home project, I discovered that tribal decor is mostly following an earthy pattern of colours; mostly brown, black accents. I have decided to turn my living room into a more inviting place, still bold and wild through animal print scatter cushions for the sofa, a deep brown fur throw and a jute stool turned into a table. Adding texture to give the room another dimension is mandatory when approaching the tribal theme. By using Kuba cloth, or Rafia cloth such as the rug I found at Homesense, as well as wall hangings, you will get that rough organic feel and primitive patterns. 

Don’t go overboard. It is so easy to get wild decorating, so keep it simple, yet let it tell a story. These days, designers and homemakers very often mix things up in an eclectic style which combines elements of both traditional and modern furnishings to create stunning dynamic spaces. Learning a thing or two from the masters, made me integrate new elements such as the lime accents into my decor, to make the living room fresh, still tribal but with a twist.

4. Accessories 

This next section is my favourite. I loved shopping for accessories, especially when TK Maxx and Homesense are so well known for the best deals and variety of amazing products stocked every week. Endless inspiration at prices you’ll love for sure. Everything from rugs and blankets in animal print or fur, to animal timber carvings or bronze statues, qualify as tribal accessories. It can seem quite daunting at the thought of trying to create your own piece of Africa in your home. I felt the same way, but as soon as I started adding items to my shopping cart, the fun part kicked in. No matter how big or small your budget is, bringing tribal accents to your home is easy. 

I have transformed my bedroom’s corner into a tribal shrine, a relaxed spot where I can disconnect and recharge my batteries reading, or listening to music, or simply taking a nap on the sheepskin rug. The secret in decorating tribal is to not rush into trying to do it in a short period of time. You will always find something new that matches the tribal puzzle in your home. A way to incorporate a bit of tribal culture into your home is to find authentic tribal artifacts, such as this hand carved wood Djembe, or goblet drum. African masks are another way to spice up the room with some ethnicity, such as the animal sculptures I found at TK Maxx. 

The hand woven bowls from Uganda with striking colour combinations, and geometric patterns can provide real impact to your room, add definition and build character at the same time.

5. Tribal kitchen 

With the rise of the tribal trend, the kitchenware found itself flooded with geometric patterns and bold colours. There’s a pulsating energy to the patterns that draws you to them and makes it hard to look away. Now, you may not live in Africa where you can see lions, giraffes and elephants from your front porch. Yeah, neither do I! If you want just a touch of tribal decor, try some bowls with African influences, or colourful mugs and coasters. I found them at TK Maxx and I feel so much energy when I have my coffee or lunch served in them. The Uganda fruit bowl is so handy while giving life to my neutral kitchen. Did I already mention accents are key? 

I hope you have now found the inspiration you were looking for to get started on your own unique tribal inspired space. Tribal decor adds rich visual interest and can be used in modern, transitional and traditional spaces. The design opportunities are endless. Cozy, energetic, engaging and often transcendental, African design is as charming and diverse as the continent itself. Even if you are not thinking about a complete makeover, adding an element or two of this fascinating style to your interior can help you capture the magic and the mystique of Africa. TK Maxx and Homesense have just the perfect elements to make you take a walk on the wild side with these 5 tips for bringing African-inspired design into your home. Don’t forget about trends that do good and shop the Uganda products. They will bring happiness to your home, as well as helping others.

  1. Reply


    April 21, 2017

    Hi there, this space is amazing! Beautifully styled. Just had one comment. I live in Africa and have visited over 20 African countries. I am not sure this statement: “Now, you may not live in Africa where you can see lions, giraffes and elephants from your front porch” is really an accurate depiction of life here. We do not live in the jungle. Just thought I would add some clarity 🙂 Thanks again for appreciating our design aesthetic!

    • Reply

      Elena Sandor

      April 24, 2017

      Thank you for your comment. It was just a metaphor, I know lions don’t actually walk on the streets in African countries;)) but that would be interesting;)