August 22, 2012

Jeanine Hays

Ten Ways to Bring Cultural Style Home

Guest Editor
Tangier-Like Archway Baskets Mexican Tenango Lotus Bed Silhouette Bookend Pattern on Pattern Kilim Pillow Covers Filigree Teardrop Pendant Mudcloth Chair Cultural Pieces by Scout Designs Tangier-Like Archway

Today I'm incredibly honored to be joined by one of interior design's most respected and creative forces on the web: Jeanine Hays, Creative Director & Founder of AphroChic . Originally taking shape as interior design blog, AphroChic became a place for Jeanine, a former policy attorney, to escape the stresses of legal work and share her passion for design.

Jeanine's story is truly one of my favorites. Our style is so often infused with a bit of copycat (our neighbor has it!), and I feel as if so much of what we see is the same. Below, Jeanine talks, in her usual fun and refreshing tone, about how we can bring worldwide cultural style into our homes. I know from a personal standpoint one of my biggest "talked about pieces" in my own home is an oversized basket I have in the middle of my floor. After reading today's article I'm encouraged to buy other pieces to make my home unique and cultural. Thanks, Jeanine!


  1. Add unique architectural details.

    The opening to a bedroom or living area can be so much more dramatic when global architecture is added. A curved archway can turn your bedroom into a soothing space reminiscent of Tangiers.

  2. Collect pieces from around the globe.

    I absolutely love handcrafted pieces like Rwandan baskets. A group of Rwanda baskets can form a global collection that you can display in many ways throughout your interior. My favorite is a collection that can be hung on the wall.

  3. Put global textiles on display.

    A Mexican Tenango, a Moroccan wedding blanket, an Indian kantha quilt, these pieces are more than just coverlets or throws. You can highlight the intricate work of each of these pieces by hanging them for display. A tenango can be an amazing headboard, and a kantha quilt can be featured as a wall-hanging. Elevate these cultural pieces by making them statement pieces in your home.

  4. Purchase furnishings reminiscent of far-away places.

    An intricately carved headboard, a teak table, a bone inlay chair, all of these furnishings have the ability to take you to different parts of the world that you’ve visited, or always dreamed of seeing. If you’re an avid traveler, bring furnishings that you discover back with you. You can also find amazing originals and reproductions at shops like ABC Carpet & Home, West Elm, and Anthropologie, that can whisk you far, far away.

  5. Purchase accessories from sites that ship worldwide.

    With our world more connected than ever through the internet, use the net to shop for accessories from boutiques around the world. You can find unique pieces - modern sculpture from South Africa, and beautiful pieces of lighting from Norway. Bring them together to create an eclectic, global space.

  6. Play with pattern.

    So many patterns have a deep cultural past. Beautiful tiles can be reminiscent of India, North Africa, and the Middle East. Look for ways to bring patterns in that speak to your own heritage, or a place that inspires you. You can use pattern in a small way, like on a backsplash, or in a big way, like wallpaper with a strong ethnic pattern.

  7. Just add pillows.

    Pillows are an inexpensive way to bring cultural style into your space. Kilims, ikat, and sari pillows are my favorite way to add color and culture to my space. You can even look for modern updates on antique patterns, like our THE BEAT PILLOW, which is a modern taken on an African kuba print.

  8. Look into lighting.

    You can find some of the most amazing handmade pendants for your space from places around the world. Pierced lamps that are handmade in Egypt and India will add an exotic detail to your space.

  9. Create a global mashup.

    If you have a vintage chair or sofa that you’ve been wanting to transform, give it a facelift with an unexpected cultural print. African mudcloth or a vintage suzani can be fabulous fabrics to upholster classic silhouettes in.

  10. Seamlessly blend cultural pieces into your space.

    You don’t have to change your entire interior to make room for cultural pieces. Choose items that coordinate with your color palette and general style. A wall of Cameroon juju hats fits perfectly int the red, black and white color scheme of this living area.



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