Embrace the tropical trend at home

From jungle fabrics and Caribbean colours to exotic fruit imagery and bird of paradise accessories, interiors have gone totally tropical, finds Emily Jenkinson

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The Independent Online

Fruity, tropical prints were all over the Spring/Summer catwalks this year and it hasn’t taken long for the trend to be picked up in interiors where everything from palm leaves and pineapples to exotic flowers and flamingos are serving as an apt reflection of the unsettled storm-to-sunshine weather we have been having this summer.

Lucy St George, founder of home accessories retailer Rockett St George comments: “At Rocket St George, we’ve embraced this trend with some fabulous faux-stuffed parrots, flamingos and cockatoos that conjure up images of tropical environments and bring a welcome boost of colour to the home. Meanwhile, Laura Oakes’ multi-coloured cushions use all the colours of paradise with hot pinks, greens and reds; and our Chloe Croft flamingo and flower cushions certainly make things feel quite tropical.”

Embracing bold prints, bright colours and a relaxed, subtly glamourous vibe reminiscent of 70s Palm Springs styling, the tropical look offers an unusual way to inject some colour, opulence and a little humour into your home whether it’s through Graham & Green’s magnificent pineapple lamp base, mydeco’s tropical bed throws and cushions, or a faux-parrot perched on your fireplace (“sure to make you smile,” says St George).

For those keen to embrace the trend more comprehensively, Dan Hopwood from the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) suggests using “emerald and green jazzed up with lime and a splash of terracotta” in kitchens or conservatories. Other colours being picked up by interiors designers include indigo blue, flamingo pink, mango, coral, sunny yellows and Pantone’s colour of spring/summer 2012, tangerine orange. “The tropical look is all about going bold with colour and print,” says Nina Maklin, a Scandinavian interior designer based in London, who advises using colour “in bold blocks rather than in tiny details to make that instant statement” and embracing the daring  clashes found in tropical sunsets.

For statement walls, Hopwood suggests using a wallpaper such as Cole & Son’s ‘Palm Jungle.’ Failing that Julien Macdonald’s has recently collaborated with wallpaper retailer Graham & Brown to produce a runway-inspired range of exotic florals, bold cat prints and butterflies in a riot of colours. Meanwhile, the Content by Conran Tamar sofa (pictured), upholstered in Sanderson’s lush rainforest fabric, is about as ‘jungle’ as it gets, short of introducing live monkeys as part of your home decor.

If that sounds like too much, fret not. The tropical trend is not all about wild colours and statement walls and can be embraced as part of a relaxed Colonial villa vibe with crisp white fabrics, subdued palm prints and natural materials introduced through hardwood floors, rattan furniture, bamboo blinds or plantation shutters. A more tasteful, low-key version of the tropical look, this style is typified in the projects of interior designer India Hicks, whose island life in the Bahamas inspires much of her work.

Whether you’re escaping the rain or embracing the sun, going for bold bird of paradise colours or understated colonial chic, the tropical look offers a highly adaptable way to update your interior. The only thing missing? Make that a piña colada - and an umbrella cocktail stick, obviously.

Emily Jenkinson is interiors writer for the mydecomarketplace, an online shopping experience where you can search hundreds of home furnishings and accessories all in one place.