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Journal

June 28th

Bring the Tropics Inside

Subtle touches can provide tropical flavor to your home.

Being in San Diego, a lot of our clients enjoy a coastal design look for their home, but some want a more tropical enhancement that reflects our sunny beach environment. The trick is to do it subtly so you get hints of this style without feeling like you are sitting at a Tiki bar in Polynesia.

Grasscloth wallpaper is a great way to introduce texture and that tropical feel to a room. We used this for a client recently in combination with wood paneling. The wood provided warmth while the grasscloth gave the space the relaxed “resort” vibe that the client wanted.

Some designers such as Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren incorporate entire furniture collections that fit with a tropical style. These are beautiful pieces but I suggest avoiding an entire room filled with them so you don’t feel like you’ve living in an ad. It also limits your flexibility in updating your décor as you move forward. Instead, select key items – perhaps a few carved wood pieces with the palm or pineapple motif – and fill in with less thematic selections.

You can also accomplish tropical flair through simple accessories. Fill an apothecary jar with seashells or sand dollars, for example, and place it in your foyer. Or position a piece of coral or driftwood on a stack of coffee table books in your living room. Side tables in woven wicker and durable sisal rugs are other ways to suggest the tropics without overdoing it.

Window treatments can also be designed to bring the tropics home. Gauzy white billowing drapes always make me think of beach living, for example. Shutters are another popular application – think Florida Keys and island plantation houses, and you can envision how these can supplement that tropical ambiance.

A simple addition like netting gives this bedroom a dramatic tropical feel.

And of course you will include plants in your tropical space! Rafus palms and Kentia palms are beautiful accents. If you bring in a large pot, underplant it with a cascading leaf such as pothos for more visual interest.

For the floor, wood is most traditional for tropical but you could also use a neutral tile as a palette for your distinctive furniture and accessories. Using that same theory, paint the walls a light tan or white, and do the same with the upholstery, allowing your tropical hints come through your furniture and accessories.

If we can help you transform your home into a tropical paradise – or with any of your design needs – please contact us.