Recreating Paradise

Your trip to the tropics left you hungry for a life of tranquility, but you live in the heart of a bustling berg. How can you create the atmosphere of an island paradise? Using the inspiration of such scenic and blissful spots as the Caribbean, Bali and Fiji, you can decorate your space in such a way as to recapture the sound of the waves and the scent of gardenia.

The Colors of a Tropical Palette

There are myriad colors to choose from when you plan to create a tropical decor. The typical color palette of this style of decor is drawn from the natural elements of the sea, sand, sky and vegetation. The range of hues goes from deep and lush to lighter and brighter. Sea blues and golden sands offer a variety of tones and the intensity of color is gleaned from the lush vegetation and gorgeous flora. Popular colors for this style of decor are blue, yellow, white, green, red and orange.

How Will I Furnish This Paradise of Mine?

There are certain types of woods that are most associated with tropical decor, such as teak, rattan, wicker and seagrass. Tables, chairs, shelving and ottomans are visually interesting and textured when made of these materials. Open wooden framed sofas of any of these woods, laden with cushions upholstered in floral fabrics, are often mixed with arm chairs and other accent items which are made of wicker or seagrass. The feeling is relaxed, open and airy.

From the Floors Up

If you are redoing the flooring, exotic hardwoods such as rosewood or bamboo are perfect color bases for your tropical furnishings. Placing rugs made of seagrass compliment the island motifs and present a lovely contrast to the dark floors.

Use a Blend of Personality and Color to Gain Atmosphere

Window coverings and furniture upholstery are usually floral patterns, vibrant and pulsating or subdued and calming. Hues of red, orange, blue and pink, are frequent color choices in tropical decor. You can find silks in solid colors or tropical botanical prints and your own personality will shine through as you create your own tropical paradise.

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

The right accessories richly enhance the theme. If you've chosen to use a subdued and more neutral design, then bringing in some color with bold accessories can add just the right dimension. If your tropical decor features color in the furnishings or the paint, then take your cue for accessories from these colors.

From the Verdant Jungle...

Of course, the first and obvious element to include in any tropical decor is verdant foliage, such as palm trees, orchids, a banana tree, Bird of Paradise, hibiscus, plumeria, dracaena or bamboo. The great thing is that you can choose living plants or opt for life-like faux versions. Either way, use containers made of wicker, bamboo or rattan to keep the theme flowing. the Sandy Beaches

Items from the beach, such as shells, coral, driftwood, coconuts and rocks add to the feel of the room. And, for truly authentic island flair, add a tiki statue, wood carving or something in a pineapple design. Botanical prints framed in bamboo or wood compliment and deepen the verdant motif. Add a small fountain and, if you're very brave, a parrot or parakeet and you're right back in the Islands.