Black style icons to channel into your home decor this Black History Month

    Although interior design may not be the first thing you think of when you hear the names Beyoncé or Cecily Tyson, black style icons have had a profound impact on fashion, art, and culture around the world. From Celia Cruz’s bold, unapologetic fashion pairings to Marvin Gaye’s ’70s masculine hippie spirit, pioneers of black cultural history have made waves spanning all creative categories—interiors included. This Black History Month, what better way to celebrate the diversity and accomplishments of these icons than to incorporate their feelings into your living space? We collected seven icons of black history, then chose designs from their region (a state in the US, a country if outside the US) to visualize a room decorated with them in mind. Read on for inspiration.

    Cecily Tyson

    Sincerely, Tyson

    Cecily Tyson was – and still is – a key figure in African American culture and arts. She was synonymous with stellar fashion moments, spanning six decades of expressive glamor with the likes of red carpet dresses embellished with rich textures and bold colours. Approaching this living room interior design with Cicely in mind, combine embroidered silk pillows over a cream mohair velvet sofa, along with two antique chairs in one of her signature colors—navy or oxblood. Balance the seating area with a rustic rug from Morocco and a marble coffee table with coffee table books dedicated to Harlem arts culture. To complete the space, add a gallery wall of family photos in ornate gold frames to color the walls in the colors of Goodnight Moon by CLEAR PAINT. Make sure your space smells divine by adding Goddess Perfume by The Black Home to set a luxurious mood. –Navy Walker

    Neffi Walker is an enterprise black housean interior design firm and retail store located in Newark, New Jersey, highlights the beauty and culture of black through design.

    Myriam Muqba

    Mary Makeba

    South African singer-songwriter Miriam Makeba unites style, craftsmanship and heritage in a way that is traditional, like her music, but also looks forward to a global audience inspired by the spirit of Africa. Bringing that spirit into your space means looking at a distant place, embracing the past, and celebrating hope for the future. Start with a strong base. Warm tones—like coral and tangerine—paired with white or black, keep the design simultaneously cohesive and modern. Next, introduce multicultural elements that speak of Makeba’s ability to transition between her upbringing in Swazi-Xhosa. A clash of bold graphic patterns, such as those inspired by traditional South African Xhosa beadwork, or incorporating patterns found in Swazi grass weaves can channel this multi-dimensional pattern. Finally, include items like woven Swazi side tables and graphic photographic prints of historic African cities. It’s all about finding the right beat, as I did, and putting it together with a sound that is both global and local. – Gareth van Niekerk

    Gareth van Niekerk is the co-founder of you are welcome any timea Johannesburg-based South African design cooperative of owner-run design studios that manufacture furniture, homeware and lifestyle items.

    Celia Cruz

    Celia Cruz

    The late Cuban-American singer Celia Cruz has always performed in a lively and eccentric style. To channel the AfroLatina, blend textures. Show off her unflinching personality with ruffles and layers and add a sculpted as a surprise element to tie the space together. Place pillows, shams, and throws on multiple layers of quilts, quilts, or throws to decorate bedding or sofas. Cruz often wore primary colors in her bold style, reminiscent of checkered monochromatic spaces. Matching wall paint and paint can give your office a cohesive and attractive look. Place colored spines for books the same way Cruz would use jewelry accents. – Sharyn Bailey

    Shareen Bailey is the lead interior designer and owner Green Shareen designIt is an interior design company with a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.

    Villa Kuti

    just this

    Boldness and daring do not even begin to describe the aesthetics of legendary musician Villa Coti. His style was an extreme dream. A beautiful mess full of soul and character. To channel Fela into your interior space, use highly saturated colors painted in parallels, bold patterns, and newspaper prints. This mix and match may appear frivolous to the untrained eye, but it guides both Fela and his alter ego, Anikulapo. Use playful prints for accent pieces, such as pillows, curtains, or blankets. You can’t go wrong with layered embellishments and patterns. Remember to hang framed art and mixed media in groups, salon style. “Panky Agagona”

    Banke Ajagunna is the founder of Nigeria Decora technology-driven interior design firm based in Lagos that designs spaces that are both functional and aesthetically appealing.

    Bionicit’s a


    To channel “The Queen B” or “Mutha” into an interior space, start with bold custom furniture sourced from artisans from around the world. Combine designer-forward furniture with shapes and silhouettes with strong lines and made from mixed materials, such as wood, metal, stone, and leather. The elegant, sumptuous neutrals of wall colors will give room to breathe and transform with ease, as the seasons change and creativity shifts. Original art is another way to channel Mrs. Carter. Set the oversized abstracts in massively bright colors in black floating frames. Finally, create a personalized home fragrance that captures the essence of who you are, who you are, and who you are. – Christopher Charles Evans

    Christopher Charles Evans is the owner and chief designer of Texas-based Christopher Charles Interiors in Indigo Reda luxury design company focused on creative bespoke interiors.

    Grace Jones

    Grace Jones

    Grace Jones is a beacon of strong, androgynous, unapologetic style — and she’s been for decades. To channel it, think moody jewel tones alongside bold metallics. Use a textured knit on clean quilted upholstery with herringbone curves layered with the sexy soft texture of mink and silk pillows. Accent fabrics should be modest and honest; Graphic prints, such as the Malie Mudcloth, are highly recommended. Violin fig leaf trees in baskets and a wide variety of fine art should be the daily accessory arrangement. Complete this stunning aesthetic with sexy lighting and uncensored accessories that will undoubtedly make you laugh, cry, or hold your pearl. Karen Booker

    Karen Bowker is Principal Designer and Creative Director at Karen Booker Design Collection in Kingston, Jamaica, which combines traditional interior design with contemporary looks.

    Marvin Jay

    Marvin Jay

    Channel Marvin Gaye’s lively spirit into your home with a modern, contemporary look. “Hippie eclectic” decor from the 70s can be brought in by incorporating some vintage elements into your interiors. Consider adding an accent wall with paint or wallpaper in warm colors, such as brown, yellow, orange, or green. Don’t be afraid to choose printed wallpaper for a cool effect. For furniture, bamboo and rattan pieces are nostalgic for the times. Bring on the trend by adding a wicker chair, stool, or dresser to your living room or bedroom. Curved or modular sofas are a great addition to creating a conversation area. Add texture with decorative pillows and a throw blanket. For lighting, choose table or floor lamps with chrome details, a dome, a funky shade, or glossy finishes. Finally, add a standard player to enjoy your Marvin Gay vinyl while relaxing in your newly renovated home. – Rebecca Margau

    Rebecca Margao driving The Shade DCa garage-turned-furniture store offering a curated collection of new, gently used, and customized items that reflect the personal style of consumers based in Washington, DC.

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