How to Decorate in the Afro Bohemian Style: 7 Design Principles

I'm going to walk you through the seven easy steps to design your home using the Afro-Bohemian style design. These seven design principles will help you DIY your home just like a pro. When designing your space, keep these principles in mind.

Design principles of Afro-Bohemian design
Design principle of balance

1. Balance

Balance means creating a visually pleasing space, and the elements are evenly distributed around the room.

Design principle of scale

2. Scale

Scale means proportion. You want to have items in your space that are in harmony with the size of the room and in comparison to other elements in the room.

Design principle of pattern

3. Pattern

Pattern is when something is not one solid color. It is overlaid with some design elements.

Design principle of contrast

4. Contrast

Then, there's contrast, where you combine two or more different forms or patterns.

Design principle of movement and rhythm

5. Movement and rhythm

We use contrast and pattern to create movement and rhythm. Repeating contrast and pattern strategically will give a room movement and rhythm and help the eye and the emotions play inside the room.

Design principle of emphasis

6. Emphasis

Emphasis is when you create a central element as a focal point. Anything that gives you a central focal point creates emphasis.

Design principle of unity

7. Unity

Unity creates cohesion. It helps us make sense of a room.

Now, our tag along for these seven design principles is white space. That's when you have a place for the eye and the emotions to rest in a room. When you're mindful to practice all seven of these design principles, you create harmony in a room.

Let's take these seven easy steps to design your home using the Afro-Boho design style.

Area rug with an Afro-Boho design

Areas of an Afro-Boho home to consider

1. Flooring

With Afro Boho design style, floor covering is very important. Area rugs are commonly used. Even if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, you can do rug on rug. The area rug is a great way to add texture, pattern, and pops of color to any room. With Afro Boho design style, you can lean towards a neutral or colorful palette.

Transforming a wall with paint

2. Walls

I am always going to suggest painting your walls. It's the quickest, cheapest, fastest way to transform a room. If you live in an apartment, you may be unable to paint the walls or add other treatments. So, what I suggest in that case is to hang wall coverings, like area rugs, which can even be hung on the wall, and large textiles to span an entire space.

But, if you can do something else to your walls, I will suggest wallpaper, specifically grasscloth. This wallpaper is my absolute favorite for the Afro-Boho design style. It's a woven wallpaper that comes in various colors and textures and will give a room that unique wow factor. Not only does grass cloth add texture, but it also adds warmth and a layer of pattern in any room.

Another wall treatment option is stenciling. Stenciling a wall is not hard to do. Just like anything, it takes prep and planning. Afro Boho design style is perfect for any room in your home, not just the living room.

Choosing furnishings in an Afro-Boho style

3. Furnishings

Now, it's time to fill the room. Afro-Boho design is that combination of eclectic, modern, and bohemian. Afro Boho design style loves furnishings and pieces that have character, things that have lived some life.

A great place to find pieces that fit this characteristic is the thrift store, flea market, or an estate sale. Pieces made with leather, tweeds, velvet, and chenille are also fabrics to look for.

Wooden stools and benches are excellent furnishing items for the Afro-Boho design style. Not only wood but also fabric-covered benches and daybeds in both colorful and neutral tones. Sideboards, credenzas, and repurposed vintage dressers are wonderful for storage, holding decor, and family photos.

Afro-Boho wall art

4. Wall art

I love African textiles like mud cloth, African fabric, and my favorite, Cuba cloth. A fabulous suggestion is to frame some African textile and hang it on your wall. Boom, wall art. Now, let's take it one step further. Paint your art right on the wall. Cuban cloth stencils are available, or you can always hang some wall art.

Afro-Bohemian wall art can be almost anything. I suggest you go with bold, abstract, and graphic art. Art that will celebrate your African diasporic heritage. Afro-Bohemian art is celebratory and takes pride in heritage and legacy.

Selecting lighting for your home design

5. Lighting

Now that we've got some stuff in the room and some on the walls, we need the lighting to look at it. Like everything else in the Afro-Boho design style, you can get your lighting from anywhere.

You name it: thrift shops, vintage shops, flea markets, big box stores. They're all great places to purchase lighting. No matter what lighting you choose, make sure you have enough lighting.

Afro-Bohemian decor

6. Decor

I've got a few decor recommendations to get your inspiration going. First up, we have the African Juju hat. This is a custom handmade piece. You can buy it on Etsy or even Amazon; recently, they even had them at Home Goods. This piece comes in various colors and will add lovely texture to any room. Don't forget the thrift store. I thrifted this ten-dollar Moroccan-inspired mirror, gave it a custom paint job, and voila, dope artwork.

Other decor pieces include baskets, wood sculptures, metal pieces that you can place on bookshelves, and credenzas around your room. And, of course, you can hang your baskets on your wall. Don't forget about macrame wall hangings. My favorite decor items are glass, metal, or ceramic vases filled with dried flowers and wonderfully aromatic eucalyptus leaves.

Pillows with Afro-Bohemian designs

7. Pillows

If you love it, you can add it to your style, from neutrals to animal prints to graphic images. And if you're feeling DIY handy, you can make your own.

Afro-Bohemian design

Characteristics of Afro-Bohemian design

I enjoy using the Afro-Boho design style because of the five main characteristics:

  1. Appreciation for artistry, craftsmanship, and individuality
  2. Honoring one's heritage and legacy
  3. Bold, vibrant colors and carefully curated neutrals for balance
  4. Harmony is created by combining eclectic, complementary pieces
  5. Blending modern, ethnic, and classic vintage furnishings and decor

Afro-Bohemian style

There are many elements to the Afro-Bohemian style, but these five main characteristics you will find in any Afro-Boho design room. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments too.

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