Balance dramatic wood furniture with less formal accents, such as...

Balance dramatic wood furniture with less formal accents, such as pillows with animal prints. Credit: Handout

The British Colonial decorating style has a cousin in the re-energized "safari" decor. Today's safari look is all about the lure of travel, cultural influences and nature-focused prints and textures -- minus guns and arrows. Unlike British Colonial, which takes its influence from India to the Caribbean, safari style remains focused on African themes, tribal patterns, flora and fauna. It looks effortless and relies on a collected appearance, not a designed one.


Furnishings keep the safari style from being too informal, while accents and natural elements lend an exotic, romantic allure. Dark, dramatic wood furniture is balanced by bamboo and other plant materials, woven baskets, animal patterns, loosely woven linen, rugs with tribal patterns and hides, iron and stone.


The colors of safari style are a reflection of the African landscape: beige, gold, yellow, brown, tan, black and rust. Try using a single color for a background, then dot brighter and darker colors and animal patterns as accents.


Pulling the look together is fairly straightforward. Wooden bowls, carved animal figures and picture frames, baskets and carved candle holders are all natural to the safari look.

Layer a bamboo shade behind drapes, toss woven wool pillows onto a chair and add tribal figures or masks to a wall to create a thoroughly safari style. A small bamboo folding chair, leather strapped steam trunk or campaign desk with small cubbies for letters all look at home here.

Be on the watch for rattan chairs, trays or place mats. Top a dresser or chest with vintage postcards under glass, decorate ceiling fans with palm leaves or stain them a dark-walnut hue. Soften a room corner with a burlap-covered folding screen, tall container of natural grasses or limbs, or drape mosquito netting from the ceiling.

The safari style is as romantic on a porch as it is in a bedroom or living room. Finding accents to incorporate into your decor is easy by scouting boutiques, home decorating centers, garage sales and flea markets.

In fact, a little wear and tear adds appeal. Mix some natural grasses, twigs or stems in a woven vase, and your safari look is complete. Think about the safari style if your home cries out for a little decorating adventure.


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