Check out the full array of designs mentioned in Courtney’s post!
Featured designs

Did you know that the breadth of Spoonflower designs exists not only across motifs and colorways, but also across cultures too? This Black History Month we’re highlighting designs inspired by the Black Diaspora with journalist Courtney Napier. In this post, she shares her curated design collection so you can incorporate them into your home, office or studio with wallpaper or home decor. Create a handmade gift like a quilted jacket or tote bag for someone special. Beyond the visual beauty of these designs is the cultural connection they have to people. Keep reading and check out Courtney’s design picks and themes. 

Courtney: Like most Millennials, our starter home has become our for-(the foreseeable)-ever home. My spouse and I are excitedly planning our renovation and I am looking forward to finally incorporating some inspiration from motifs inspired by the Black Diaspora. 

What Is the African Diaspora?

The African (or Black) Diaspora are communities of people with roots connected back to Africa. While Afrocentric design sounds like it would consist primarily of African artifacts and traditional Ankara fabrics, the artistic breadth represented in Black culture is as diverse as our stories, music and cuisine.  

From the crisp and cozy southern farmhouse with vintage quilts and exposed wood, to vivid Caribbean beach bungalow with vibrant colors and plenty of tropical greenery, the Black Diasporic design aesthetic holds within it all the styles and shades of our multicultural experience. 

How I Found My Favorite Designs

Spoonflower has a diverse community of designers who represent an array of nationalities, races, genders and religions. Spoonflower’s blog is an excellent place to find design collections from artists with whom you identify. I had a lot of luck with the Black Artists Matter collection and the blog post entitled “6 Black Artists You Should Know”. Here are some of my favorite motifs paired with gorgeous designs from Black artists in our very own Spoonflower community: 

African Diaspora Inspired Design Themes

Gullah Geechee Indigo Farmhouse

The Gullah Geechee culture, native to the Sea Islands and coastal regions of the southeastern United States, notably in South Carolina and Georgia, has a rich and distinctive art and aesthetic. This culture has roots in various African traditions as peoples of various tribes were forced together through slavery. Survivors of the cruel journey to American shores cultivated their indigenous plants like rice and indigo in the marshy coastal soil. Today, artists like Arianne King Comer and Amiri Farris use these precious natural resources to create breathtaking textiles and paintings while also carrying the traditions of their ancestors.  

Modern African Maximalism 

Maximalism in design is a trend that emerged as a reaction against minimalism, embracing richness and excess in decoration and design. This style is characterized by its bold, eclectic and often over-the-top approach. It has historical roots stretching back to various opulent periods in history, like the Baroque and Victorian eras. While African influences on these areas are traditionally minimized or altogether ignored, designers like Abdel El Tayeb and Rich Mnisi are reimagining maximalism by representing the fusion of both European and African aesthetics. Modern African Maximalism blends ornate chandeliers or filigree ceiling tiles with African wax print fabrics and striking traditional art, all at the pleasure and delight of the decorator. 

Art Deco a La Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance, a cultural, social and artistic movement that blossomed in Harlem, New York in the 1920s and 1930s, brought a unique African American perspective to the Art Deco motif, resulting in a distinctive style that was evident in the architecture and interior design of Harlem.

This style was characterized by a combination of modernist Art Deco elements with African and jazz-age influences, creating spaces that were both culturally significant and aesthetically innovative. Artists like Aaron Douglas and Loïs Mailou Jones incorporated the bold, geographic forms central to Art Deco, but those shapes were inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphics and the colors were inspired by the vibrancy of the African aesthetic.   

Caribbean Beach Haus 

For those seeking the #SoftLife, a Caribbean-inspired aesthetic is the perfect space to explore. Caribbean art and aesthetics are characterized by a vibrant and diverse tapestry of cultures, reflecting the region’s complex history of indigenous communities, European colonization, African heritage and Asian influences. Colorful interiors inspired by the turquoise waters and tropical foliage, traditional crafts like basket weaving and pottery and a deep respect for spirituality and the ancestral realm.  

Funkadelic Seventies Chic 

The funkadelic design trend of the 1970s originated from the broader context of the Funk and Psychedelic movements in music, art and culture. This trend was a vibrant, eclectic mix of various styles and influences, reflecting the era’s social and cultural changes. The term “Funkadelic” itself is derived from the combination of “funky,” denoting a raw, earthy quality and “psychedelic,” referring to the surreal and vibrant aesthetics of the 1960s psychedelic culture.

Key features of the funkadelic design trend include bold patterns, groovy typography and African and Afrofuturist influences. Designers seeking inspiration need not look further than the elaborate costumes and stage shows from world-class artists like Earth, Wind, and Fire, the Jackson 5 and the band who embodies the era, Funkadelic featuring George Clinton and Bootsy Collins.   

The art and design of the Black Diaspora is as diverse as its people and as omnipresent as its culture. By opening your mind and setting your creativity free, you can thoughtfully incorporate African and African American artistic motifs in any design style with fidelity and style.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I organize designs I like based on themes?
Organizing the designs you love can definitely help with planning your next project, and be a useful resource alongside your Pinterest boards. To organize all of the Spoonflower designs you love, place them into collections. Check out this Help Center link for the steps.
How can I incorporate African Diaspora themes in home decor ideas? 
Spoonflower products allow you to turn your favorite designs into products for any room in your home including tablecloths, curtains, sheet sets, duvets and wallpaper. Find more home decor ideas on the blog.
Where can I find home decor tips on Spoonflower? 
Find more interior design tips and ideas in the Interior Design section on the blog. 
What home decor can I make using African Diaspora-inspired designs? 
Spoonflower has a plethora of tutorials. Learn how to make an upholstered headboard for your bedroom, a fabric bulletin board for your office and a floor cushion—just to name a few.

Want To See A Spoonflower Home Tour?

See our products in action as you take a tour of a Spoonflower employee’s home. Kristina is one of our talented graphic designers who incorporates both her Florida background and Haitian family in her home decor.  
Take the Tour