Contemporary African Design: Colour & Pattern Insights | Eva Sonaike Blog

My Personal Secret for Cosy Winter Homes: African Rugs

My Personal Secret for Cosy Winter Homes: African Rugs

A new year, a new beginning. I hope you all had a great start to the new year. Back to normal is it for the most fo us this week. It is hard enough to get out of bed in the morning, but especially after the holidays, when you are used to a well-deserved sleep in. And I am sure you agree that, with the temperatures falling, getting out of bed in the morning is even more challenging! Especially when the first thing you feel is the cold floor underneath your feet.

That’s why many of us prefer a nice rug or carpet next to their bed. Feeling the warmth and softness on your bare soles can make a difference in how you start your day.

I love natural fibre rugs such as sisal, which massages your feet when stepping onto it, or Greek Flokati rugs, made from fluffy sheepskin, which make you feel like you are stepping onto clouds.

But in this feature, we want to introduce you to some amazing African rugs, that will make your home pop with colour or, with their geometric patterns, add elegance and style to your home.

The most popular African rugs are Moroccan Berber rugs, named after the traditional hand-woven carpets of the Berber people of North Africa that date back to the Palaeolithic era.

Berber rugs may be very thick with a heavy pile, making them useful for the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, or they may be flat woven and light as to suit the hot climate of the Sahara desert.

Berber rugs have been woven by tribal people for their utility rather than for decorative purposes.

The nomadic Moroccans and Berber tribes used these pile, knotted, and flat-woven carpets as bed coverings and sleeping mats, as well as for self-adornment, and burial shrouds. Some of these rugs were also used as saddle blankets. Can you imagine!

My favourite example of Berber rugs are the Beni Ourain rugs, which are generally dichromatic and tribal in design.

Bògòlanfini, also know as mud cloth- is the traditional cloth from Mali. Popular for its rich dark shades, sections of cloth are decorated with geometric patterns or individual motifs. What makes traditional mud cloth so special is that each piece has its own story to tell. The arrangement of the symbols on the cloth reveals something secret about the intended meaning, and  often this language of the cloth was passed down from weaver to weaver.

Bògòlanfini is not a rug per say, but with the right underlay, it can be used as a rug and will add a special touch to any room.

I also love handwoven Fulani wedding blankets, which make perfect rugs. Mostly male weavers from the Fulani tribe in the northern parts of Nigeria, take weeks and often months to weave these amazing tapestries.


The Fulani weaving is very unique and distinguishes itself from other West African weaving forms because the design is inspired by North African symbolism.

Traditionally Fulani wedding blankets are made of camel hair, wool and cotton, which can make the textiles quite scratchy and sturdy. But today many wedding blankets are made from soft woven cotton,which narrow panels are sewn together.

And did you know that we here at Eva Sonaike have our own rug collection which is hand woven in Nepal by adult artisans from 100% New Zealand wool? Our rugs are bespoke and can be made to order in any size and colour in our designs.


The inspiration for the Ojo rug comes from my childhood memories as I sat watching the sky through the geometric patterns of the open verandas as the heavens bathed the world in water during the rainy season in Lagos.

The Osupa rug represents the moon and the universe reimagined in the form of a traditional Yoruba knot design, which has been used in the traditional art for centuries to represent fertility and unity.

And my current favourite is the green Ijoba rug from the Aburi Rise collection, inspired by the Aburi botanical gardens in Ghana, this lush green rug will enhance your home with a fresh vibe with its vibrant colours and soft texture.

So why not inject a touch of African luxury to your living spaces this autumn by adorning your floors with some rugs from the African continent? If you don’t want to step on them, why not transform the rugs into a tapestry by displaying them on the wall for an eye-catching decorative centrepiece?

And if you are looking for more ideas on how to add colour to your home, download our free Room by Room Guide full of tips & techniques to help you introduce colour to your home with style and confidence.

Get the FREE Colour Guide

If you want more tips on how to live a colourful life, download our free colour guide full of tips & techniques to help you introduce colour to your home with style and confidence.

Get the FREE Colour Guide

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