Safari Glam Guest Room: Interior Decorating

Phase 2 of our room flip was turning the old office into a ‘Safari Glam’ guest room (you can see the new office – the Unshelf Design studio – on our pop of yellow project). This room is far better suited to be a guest room as it is a much darker room with less windows.

OUR INSPIRATION: We went to Africa in January of 2020 and were absolutely inspired by how beautifully decorated the safari tents were, even though they seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere! Being in the tents made you forget that you could step outside and stare across the savannah for miles – like you were in a luxurious getaway. They had old steamer trunks paired with gold decor, and rich soft fabrics strewn across hardy leather furniture.

When we got back I became obsessed with the new (and old) emerald green and velvet trend sweeping the pinterest boards – reminiscent of 1920s glam. But I still had that luxurious African safari style in my mind and felt I needed to bring that into my home. So I merged the two styles into what I am calling ‘safari glam.’

I knew I wanted to paint the ceiling – and sourced the absolute perfect green to do all of the walls and the ceiling in. I wanted to create a room that wrapped around you and swathed you in a luxurious velvety warmth. UNFORTUNATELY, my fiance was a little bit nervous about a completely green room and so for now we painted the ceiling and one wall. The good news though, is after I put it all together he could see the vision of the completely green room and we now intend to FINISH painting it in the next couple of months. So stay tuned!!


Unfortunately we forgot to get before photos!! Too bad, because it was a pretty ugly disjointed office before the redesign! These photos here are from the real estate listing when we bought the house. The previous owners had it as a bedroom anyway.


Green and gold – what better combo is there?

This whole room revolved around 3 important pieces that we already owned and that really brought the design together:

  1. My mom’s childhood brass bed frame
  2. An antique wooden dresser
  3. The African animal themed chair I bought at Restore that had been awkwardly sitting in the corner of my office for 3 years.

In order to really bring the ‘safari glam’ design together I needed to really work with rich dark woods, and with shiny brass golds to offset them. And so I shopped

  • Metal wall art: This piece is a metal design made up of different colours ranging from bronze to brass to silver. I scored this baby off of FB Marketplace for $60. It had the tags still on and when I scanned it with Google Lens it came up at home depot for $280. WIN!
  • Sputnik light fixture with amber Edison bulbs: I scoured FB marketplace but ended up hopping on Amazon (surprise tip I learned from a local furniture refinisher, Amazon has some pretty decent and decently priced light fixtures – who knew!) and buying this for under $200. I chose amber bulbs because I wanted the room to feel very warm, giving that velvety feel.
  • Beige & Cream Bedding: The bedding I had in our spare room was navy blue and floral… obviously not ‘Safari Glam’ so I found a pretty neutral beige and cream coloured bed set on Wayfair and a textured light brown throw pillow at Homesense. I donated the throw pillow that came with the set because… yuck.
  • Seagrass Area Rug: Area rugs have got to be the most under-utilized design piece. Even in a room as small as this it made a huge impact. I wanted it to feel earthy and natural, like the untouched savannah, and seagrass was the perfect candidate (too bad it is so trendy and expensive right now). It really reminds me of the grasslands and plains we trucked through on our safari – brown dry grass as far as the eye can see.
  • Wooden Side tables: These took a bit of searching on Facebook Marketplace to find the right stain, but I found them! I bought 2 mismatched tables (from different ends of the city) that were fairly close to the colour of the dresser. I was ok with the fact that they were not perfect because I felt like it paid tribute to that ‘thrown together perfectly’ feel I got at the safari. One is a larger rectangular table with a magazine rack attached to the base and serves as a proper nightstand for guests, so we can put kleenex and reading material, and had more room to display a photo and the wheat. The other is a small round table with a beautiful silhouette – like a pedestal for my vintage lamp – that leaves more room to access the closet on that side.
  • Cream & Gold Hardware: Last but not least (because details matter), I wanted to ‘upcycle’ the dresser a little bit and tie a few elements together. The cream was really isolated to the bedding and I found these awesome nobs at Homesense that had cream AND gold in them – and swapped out the hardware on the top 3 drawers of the dresser to tie that in a bit more.

The job then is to style the room and we ‘shopped the house’ for some decor we could use:

  • Brown velvet curtains: These came with the house and were originally in the dining room. I found them in the closet where I shoved them thinking “when would I ever reuse brown velvet?” Safari Glam is when!
  • Vintage Hanging Lamp: This gold and frosted glass plug-in light fixture finally found it’s home. I grabbed this beauty 2 years ago at a garage sale for $2!!! We hung it above the Africa chair to create a little reading vignette, and with it’s gold chain sweeping across the wall it looks like it was made for that spot.
  • Vintage glow lamp: This was my grandmothers and I believe it is over 100 years old. While it doesn’t give off a lot of light it sure gives a stunning glow. I honestly have no idea how it works.
  • Inlaid Precious Stone Globe: I bought this globe off of a friend who was shutting down her downtown office 4 years ago for $50. These things sell for well over $500 and my jaw hit the floor when I googled that at home. I never had anywhere to put it and so it too floated around my office – and now it has a home as part of a cozy Safari Glam guest bedroom vignette – if that is not a luxury guest experience I don’t know what is!!!
  • Crown of Thorns: This is my Fiance’s favourite plant and I hate it because it is poisonous to dogs and purposely attacks me when I walk by – but it does grow in Africa and I do love having plants in every room… so it was actually a very natural fit.
  • White Mirror: This mirror I actually found on Marketplace for $40 quite a while ago and have struggled to find a place to put it in our home. It was such a steal I couldnt pass it up. So it landed in here. And… Unfortunately it is a designer no-no because it is covering the light switch… but since it it is leaning against the wall at an angle you can reach behind and hit the switch… shhhhhhhh. A smaller round wooden mirror with gold inlet would be a way better choice here. Anyone have one laying around?
  • White Knit Throw Blanket: To really make this room cozy it needed that tried and true throw blanket. I had found a super soft white knit blanket at a garage sale last year for $5 whom I bought off of a little old adorable lady and it was the perfect touch.
    (Note: ‘tossing’ a throw blanket is an art… this took me 10+ tries).
  • Wheat: It’s just so trendy right now and gives that ‘dry’ raw feel that the the savannah gives you. Plus, it gives a bit of height to that table and pulls some white into the room to keep it feeling crisp.
  • Books & Boxes: Find the right colours… stack them.
  • Russian Nesting Dolls: Ok… this is a weird one… but 3 years ago I found a set of animal themed Russian nesting dolls, and the big one is an elephant (my favourite animal in the world and also from Africa), a smaller rhino (lives in Africa), and

And there you have it!!

Progress: Behind the Scenes

Cause why not!