If you’re in the process of decorating or redecorating your house, you’re probably feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety. On one hand you’ve got a lot of exciting shopping to do and you can let your imagination run wild. On the other, you don’t want to spend too much money and sometimes you can fall in love with multiple items that are beautiful on their own, but don’t really work together. If you’re going for a Native American theme, you want to find a way of showing reverence for the culture without falling into a trap of offensive cultural misappropriations. This means that authenticity is paramount. The last thing you want to do is spend a whole lot of time and money on your home only to have people scoff at you when it’s time to show it off. So, here are some pointers on how to decorate your home in a Native American theme.
- Do your research. When you say Native American, you should be aware that there are 565 recognized tribes within the United States alone, and almost half of them are from Alaska. Many tribes are similar in many ways, but there are also great differences between them. Your best bet is to choose one that you find inspiring and look specifically at their cultural heritage. You can look at things like pottery, weaponry, and textiles to get an idea of the historical artifacts that you could incorporate in your home design.
- Find niche retailers. Native American wares are truly a niche market, and there are plenty of companies, like Coyote’s Game that specialize in beautiful and authentic jewelry, beadwork, and other crafts. If you don’t know where to start, consider taking a look at some of the wares they have to offer and see if you can start building upon that. You never know when or where inspiration will come from, but when your eye catches something that speaks to you, the rest will start to get easier.
- Don’t go crazy. If you go too crazy with the decor, your house may start to look like a diorama. To prevent this, you want to think about different ways to accent your home, rather than trying to turn your home into a museum exhibit. Colors like brown, red, turquoise and yellow can be used subtly throughout the home, but don’t go looking for Native American themed wallpaper. This will look juvenile and corny. Small statues and pottery are great, but a large totem pole found at your local world market chain store – which will not be named – will look silly and possibly offensive. Most importantly, your house shouldn’t be a reflection of the stereotypes that we were all exposed to in the old western movies. They should be a reflection of truth and history. Keep it real and keep it classy – do your homework and have fun at the same time. Best of luck!