Many a designer and decorator advise against doing themes because there is a tendency to “lock yourself in” design wise. This is many cases is true. Additionally, theme rooms become dated over time and also if done poorly can come across as tacky, and low budget. There are ways around these problems though and once you apply the correct tips and techniques you can up up with a theme that reflects you, and your passions successfully. If you'd love to decorate in a theme or specific design, these tips are for you.
Educate yourself on the theme. It is important to learn as much as you can about the design you wish to incorporate into your lifestyle. Doing this beforehand will also help you decide if this theme can work with your lifestyle. If you find you're compromising on comfort you may want to use a new strategy. If you love African art, try to learn as much about African art as possible, and develop an eye for it. Study print,color and shapes to help you get that “eye.”
Be as authentic as possible. Try to keep things authentic in color, style and design. Straying too far from this will result in a confused attempt. Once your eye for this theme is well defined and educated you can find accessories, common colors and shapes to get you to where you want to be design-wise. Now it is acknowledged that you may not be able to acquire every authentic accessory, you can at least know the difference between a poorly done knock off and a well done reproduction, budget allowing. It's not necessary that each piece be authentic, but it needs to be true to the design aesthetic.
Avoid one stop shopping. Granted this is a budget friendly approach, but in the long run, too matchy-matchy often comes across as tacky, and preconceived. You don't want the store to design your home and dictate your theme to you. To get around this and spare your budget at the same time, shop around, Take your time to find your pieces. The feel should be as if you traveled the world to find each piece. This is best done when we use a variety of sources to find our “look.” Online sources like Ebay etc can help a lot in this regard since it is easy to find vintage and “no longer in production” items that stores don't have. This approach is also budget friendly.
For more decorating and design inspiration, see Dawn's Interior Decorating Solutions