Living in Asia, it’s not surprising we love a few tropical touches in a home. It can be understated and refined or wild and kitsch as these rooms show.
We have to admit we always used to associate tropical with fun, frivolous times, fuelled by Mai Tais, Pina Coladas, surrounded by colourful parrots, bright pink flamingos, pineapples, palm fronds, tiki huts and maybe it was something to do with growing up in the 80’s that scenes of Miami often came to mind.
Source: Binti Home
But since we’ve been living in the tropics, we’ve come to realise tropical decor is often a far more subtle affair. Due to the colonial influence, you often find a European style that has evolved to embrace the climate and instead of lots of garish, bright colours you tend to find light airy spaces, subdued tones and natural textures… though admittedly there are quite a few palm fronds and definitely the odd pineapple.
Source: Apartment Therapy
As the selection of images below displays, at it’s best tropical decor can be vibrant, it can be calming, it’s always cooling, and done correctly, can exude a sense of sophistication, whilst also being laid back and inviting, reflecting the pace of life and surrounding nature.
To create your own tropically inspired interior, use a simple palette of white, greens and browns; choose natural fibres for texture, things made of wood, rattan, hessian, adding tropical plants like palms is an easy way to add a bit of tropical life, and think abut subtle tropical inspired prints for your soft furnishing to add a bit of depth and additional colour and detail.
1. Subtle touches.
The combination woods, rattans and plants against a backdrop of white walls, blended with soft coloured muted tones creates a very serene and inviting tropical ambiance.
Source: The Little Corner
2. Confidently colourful.
Opt for a combination of deeper shades or vibrant colours to create a more playful tropical look, bur keep your palette to a few key shades so the look doesn’t become too eclectic.
Source: Apartment Therapy
Source: House of Turquoise
3. Classic colonial.
Elegant and refined, for that old colonial look use dark mahogany furniture, wooden fans, natural fibres and palms. Use small amounts of chinoiserie to add a bit of colour and texture, and old prints to give some detail to your walls – maps, antique photos and historic paintings are great, providing a bit of character.
Source: Temple & Webster
4. Cool and calming.
Light and airy, the combination of muted tones (think creams, pale greys and browns), use of natural stone and lots of plants and natural light make these rooms so inviting and incredibly calming, you can literally feel the cool soft breeze blowing over you.
Source: Danielle de Lange
5. A little kitsch yet classy.
There’s always room for a bit of kitsch when it comes to tropical decor, but it doesn’t need to be crass. Have some fun, use patterned wallpapers but combine with complimentary colours so the rooms blends seamlessly together and creates a welcoming and relaxing ambiance rather than loud and brash.
Source: Casa Vogue
All this talk of tropical life is making us thirsty, Mai Tai anyone? If you fancy trying the original, here’s Trader’s Vic’s recipe.
- 2 ounces aged rum
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, juiced lime half reserved
- 1/2 ounce orange curaçao
- 1/4 ounce sugar syrup
- 1/4 ounce orgeat
Main image source: Centsationalgirl