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Interior Designer, Licensed Therapist & SoCal mama of three. Welcome to the blog!  I hope it brings you inspiration to create a life (and home) you really love.

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DIY

1 step makeover: Add instant color with mud cloths

May 4, 2017

Mud cloths are a stylist’s dream to design with. The most obvious way to style one is as a throw. You can effortlessly throw one on a sofa, chair or bed. Adding color and pattern is the easiest road to bolder looks without the commitment!

Who doesn’t love a colorful, patterned mud cloth rich with texture? I sure do!

It can be overwhelming to know what to do with it once you get home, especially if you are color+print challenged. Before I share my personal ways on how to style it, here’s a few interesting facts on how mud cloth is made.

  1. Mud cloth originated in Africa. The men in a village would weave the narrow strips of fabric into a rectangular cloth that would be naturally dyed by leaves and branches of trees.
  2. It is called mud cloth because the mud used to dye the patterns is a special fermented mud collected from the pond during a previous season.
  3. The intricate patterns are painted on with special and sometimes secret meanings passed from mother to daughter.

If you want to delve into more history of the mud cloth, don’t miss this article on Design*Sponge.

As a visually inspired person, I am constantly fascinated by the myriad of patterns and texture on the mud cloth I style. It is intriguing to wonder what each symbol means and the specific message the printmaker is conveying to the villager who acquires the special cloth. Now that I have begun collecting mud cloths, it feels like I am curating art as well. 

Learn simple ways to “throw” color at any space with mud cloth

Now, fast forward to current time. Mud cloth can be found on the walls, beds, sofas and even on the floors of many new bohemian living spaces.  I definitely lean towards the eclectic style because of my deep love for color, pattern and texture. So for many of you who do not think you could ever play with bold colors and patterns, think again!

Bottom line, mud cloths are a stylist’s dream to design with. The most obvious way to style one is as a throw. You can effortlessly throw one on a sofa, chair or bed. Adding color and pattern is the easiest road to bolder looks without the commitment! Trust me, your design bestie here won’t steer you wrong, I promise. 

Another earth inspiring way to use mud cloths in your home are as rugs. A mud cloth looks particularly stunning layered with a rug underneath. Because the fabric is lighter than a rug, it can be effortlessly styled on top of any rug such as jute, vintage or even a cowhide.

As you can see in the pictures from my guest room and dining room, the mud cloths that I got from last month’s Rose Bowl Flea Market are definitely styled to the fullest degree!

I hope you enjoyed reading and learning a bit more about this rich African tradition that has heavily influenced how designers style many bohemian spaces. Truly amazing when art and functional design meet. 

And, if you don’t feel like your style completely aligns with earthy, bohemian or you’re intimidated to add color, I urge you to try a mud cloth throw. It is a great piece to introduce into your neutral space. You can switch up the focus in a space quickly by placing the throw in different areas of your home.

Where can I shop for mud cloth?

Now that you have an idea of how to style mud cloths, you must be wondering well, Anita, where should I shop? No worries, I got you covered!  Here are some stunning shops who purvey a wonderful selection of mud cloths for your home. D+K renewal are two cousins with on point bohemian wares. Anything you can dream of, they have. Isn’t the brown, yellow and black pattern fascinating? This would be lovely over a buttery leather sofa or as a bright wall hang.

Shut the front door!! is pretty much all I said to myself  when I first came across The Ivory Gull on Instagram. These pillows are to die for! In a future post, I will cover pillows and definitely count on me getting into more of these. Mia, the creative seamstress behind Ivory Gull has stunning workmanship and its art every time she makes a pillow.

Well, I am off re-arranging my spaces again with layers of colors and patterns and you can count on me mixing in a mud cloth throw here or there. I hope you try it too! I would love to hear how you experiment and style with mud cloths, drop me a line, why don’t you?

Happy day!

xo,

Anita

 

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