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Tropical design isn’t about set-in-stone rules, the style is as casual as the tropics. It is equal parts state of mind and local custom. The style reflects a part of the world located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Because the tropics span so many cultures and customs, its nuances are numerous and diverse. Modern tropical decor is reminiscent of the islands in inspiration and stylish in execution.
Due to the region’s strong seafaring tradition that brought people from every part of the globe, who then brought their traditions, tropics decor is a multilayered, constantly evolving blend of cultures and styles. However, there are some underlying themes that bring the theme together.
Think exotic woods such as rosewood, teak, mahogany, and rattan. These materials evoke thoughts of a warm westerly breeze rustling through the palm trees outside your window. The Island Estate Round Hill Bed from Tommy Bahama Home exhibits a wide assortment of island materials and textures as well as a fresh mix of Caribbean design and inspired island styling. It demonstrates the layered, collected effect that suits this design style to a T.
The natural fibers of the tropics are anything but delicate. Rattan, cane, jute, bamboo, and pandan add texture and interest. You’ll see these woven materials in occasional chairs, area rugs, baskets, and wall coverings in more traditional designs. Or you can experiment by choosing furniture with woven inserts on headboards, footboards, and cabinets.
Colors should be bright and patterns should be bold. Because of this, they should also be used subtly. Palm trees are traditional but look modern as an incised motif on the Twin Palms St. Croix Hall Chest from Tommy Bahama Home. The theme is echoed in a blue print on the chair and ottoman. The colors and patterns pop against the neutral background of white and taupe.
The quintessential tropical home has a sunlit, airy feel to it, as does the design style in general. Think tropical breezes wafting through and sunlight streaming in. The design style references its ties to warm, sunny locales by blending indoor and outdoor spaces. It makes use of windows that let in plenty of light, and favors Bermuda shutters or rattan/bamboo blinds that afford privacy without blocking the light. If you can, make use of skylights, sliding glass doors, and floor-to-ceiling windows as design features.
In keeping with the light and airy feel, if you must have curtains, sheer and floaty fabrics should adorn windows and French doors, keeping the look cool, light, and breezy. In general, you can’t go wrong with solids in soft colors such as taupe, cream, or white. Dashes of bold colors such as coral, or engaging prints such as banana leaves, or palm trees on upholstered pieces will keep the look from becoming too one-note.
Nothing creates a tropical feel like plenty of foliage. Group together tropical plants such as anthuriums, dieffenbachia, and aspidistra as well as the traditional potted palms and ficus trees to create a rainforest/jungle feel. Or go minimalist with a single amaryllis bloom in a glass vase.
If you are interested in tropical decor for your home, visit the Baer’s Furniture showroom near you. Talk to one of our in-house design professionals about how you can achieve the look.
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