May 3, 2008

Tropical Chic

I just got back from Costa Rica (which explains my lack of blogging lately!) and it was gorgeous. Far prettier and more fun than anything I could have ever imagined. Aside from the breathtaking mountains, lush greenery, gorgeous flowers, and colorful birds, even the interiors of hotels and restaurants there were cheerful and bright. Our hotel room walls were painted a bold turquoise color! I was in color heaven the whole time...

They even love the "blue and brown" trend just like we do!

I was so inspired by their casual, relaxed, and exotic atmosphere that I couldn't help going back to my favorite "vacation" inspired rooms that I have gathered from various magazines. Since summer is almost here and it's finally the weekend, take a look at some of my relaxing and refreshing photos of a few Living spaces that inhabit the tropical chic decorating style!

West Elm room vignette...I love the set up of it- wouldn't it be nice to take a nap on that sectional!

A Living Area featured in Traditional Home. I love the way they incorporated several different materials and textures in this room. The greenery brings a bit of the outdoors inside and the yellow wallcovering brightens up the room

Pottery Barn catalog- tropical flowers really make this room stand out. It's like its own little hotel getaway!

Another Pottery Barn ad...fresh and crisp, this blue on white scheme reminds me of the ocean...very soothing colors, I feel like I am at a beach house- wouldn't that be nice!

This Living Area was featured in Met Home. A bit more exotic, this space can accomodate large groups which is great and also has small wooden stools you can move around for seating versatility. I adore the geometric pillows and the random plant in the middle of the room! Gives it some spunk.

The key to decorating in tropical chic style is not to go overboard. You don't want to start getting a "jungle theme". You really want it understated so it's comfortable and fun to be in... not overwhelming and movie set like!

Here are a few elements to add to your home this summer to give it more of an exotic, relaxing, and tropical atmosphere:
  • Rattan or wicker furniture
  • Wood flooring
  • Natural area rug- seagrass or sisal
  • Mixing lots of texture and pattern is a must!
  • Small stylish "palm trees"/banana plants- they have some adorable and funky ones at Pottery Barn now...beware of 1980's type silk plants- you want to stay away from that and go for more unique greenery and natural elements
  • Comfort is key- large upholstered furniture in preferably white or off white will give it a fresh, clean, and crisp look
  • Animal prints!!!!
  • A few leather pieces
  • Grasscloth wallcovering
  • Try to stick with these colors- pale yellows, browns, golds, beiges, natural greens that have more yellow in them, soothing blues, whites, and splashes of red, black, and chocolate brown
  • Incorporating some iron like those sconces in the photo above would look great in your new room
  • Wood furniture
  • Lanterns
  • Use leaf motif sparingly but how about a leaf shaped tray? Could do one in metallic so as not to get too tropical looking
  • Bamboo shades for your windows
  • Table setting- they have these great round textured placemats at Crate and Barrel/ C&B Outlet or you could do wooden bowls
  • Large floor vase with bamboo sticks
  • A candle in a glass container with water rocks/stones
  • Wood bowl with real fruit
But if you want more of a beach/nautical look, here are some of my favorite accessories:

  • Faux coral- I can't say enough about it, I have a piece of it in my Living Room that I bought at Crate and Barrell and it just makes my coffee table.
  • Extra large clam shells- I know we have done a high low feature on this before, but you can find them everywhere these days- they are very in style!
  • Anything dark blue and white
  • Stripes are always nice for this
  • How about putting starfish in a bowl or in a jar?
  • Shells on a stand or in a glass bowl
  • A glass apothecary jar filled with mom (who inspires me every day!) has been collecting sand from the different beaches she has visisted while on vacation for the past I don't know how many years- she then puts the sand in different glass jars and labels them where they came from. It makes a really cute display and a great conversation starter about all of your travels!
Personally, I would mix some tropical and natural elements in with some glamorous elements..that's the best way to know you are not going overboard. If you have a Hollywood Glam scheme, how about throwing in a big pot of natural sticks in the corner? Keep in mind that most schemes you can over do, so you should always have something opposite that will complement it nicely!