Ahh, the Tropics, ranging from one end of the Pacific to the other, with varied languages, lifestyles, and culture. So goes the tropical style of decorating with ornamental carvings, island motifs, pineapples and palm trees, exotic woods, and botanicals. If you can dream it; with sunlight and bright colors, you can have the tropics at your finger tips.
Are there any hard set rules with this style? Not really. The main idea is to reflect the culture of the area you choose, but that’s not to say you can’t mix it up a little, too. Use exotic hardwoods like rosewood or teak and natural materials like grass cloth, banana leaf and rattan for furnishings as well as accessories and accents.
Choose color schemes spanning from the bright sun soaked florals of yellows, reds and oranges of the Caribbean, to dark, deeper, richer colors of Thailand. Fabric prints can feature palm trees, hibiscus, orchids or Bird of Paradise; even animals and can be more refined in silks and linens than in cotton. Don’t overwhelm the room in print. Tone it down with solid colors of greens, browns, and blues.
When choosing furniture, make it large, but comfortable. Wicker, bamboo, and rattan are favorites. Wood pieces and wood flooring go great with this look. To give weight to the room, mix some dark tables and lamps with lighter woods. Often, woven inserts are found in wood furniture like tables, cabinet doors, and even chairs.
What about accessories? Feel the warm breeze and sand, smell the fresh air and coconuts. Candles are perfect to bring in that touch of outdoors and open air rooms. For inspiration, look to the beach for collections of shells, agates, or driftwood that can be incorporated or even used as a focal point for the room. Botanical prints hung on walls are a classic accent and can set the theme of your room. Tropical plants and wicker baskets, shadow box displays of beach “finds,” mats and rugs made of natural materials all give a room that warm-weathered feeling. Heavy carpeting or drapes don’t belong in the tropics. Wood flooring with grass matted rugs and linen and silk or cotton window coverings do.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what to choose when it comes to the tropical style because the tropics are so versatile and wide. Just keep it comfortable, warm, and airy. I’m seriously thinking about going to Thailand now or…I could bring Thailand home in a tropical style makeover. The possibilities are endless.
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