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Monday, March 15, 2010

Tropical Chic – Heading to the Beach for Style

We see the word ‘Chic’ a lot in design which is not surprising since it means ‘well put together’ or stylish which is after all the heart of interior design and decorating.When used with natural-themed styles such as ‘tropical’ which first brings to mind bamboo huts and little to no furnishings and accessories however it may bring a quick smile to one’s face – yet there is no better term for what has now become known as the “Tropical Chic” style
Influenced by the island-themed bamboo and minimalist styles of native tribes in tropical islands and jungles this style is not about island living but about invoking a feeling of the raw and powerful nature such living characterizes.Its bold use of animal prints in juxtaposition to the use of simple and elegant colors and textures helps to create an adult playground that is lush yet simple and not reminiscent of the jungle-themes of the early 70’s!
tropical hardwood floor room
tropical room with hardwood floor in white
Most often seen in living and great rooms due to the powerful nature of mood this style invokes the Tropical chic style can however be modified to work in bathrooms or bedrooms as well.Featuring comfortable upholstered furniture with long lines and a casual restful look are important to creating the exciting but restful retreat that this design style is going for.
At the heart of any tropical design style is a heavy reliance on natural materials and colors to set a tone against which a theme and color palette that will invoke a feeling of being in a jungle or natural environment can be achieved.Primary in setting this tone is the use of neutral color tones such as camel, tan, beige, ivory, soft gold and yellows combined with deep brown and greens that range from light sage to dark avocado or even black are the basic color palette.Accenting these base colors are dark shades of brown or blacks, or muted reds.
These colors when used effectively help create the feeling of nature and the wild that is desired, while carefully chosen furnishing and accent pieces bring the elegant and modern ‘chic’ attributes to the room.
tropical chic
When choosing fabrics, whether to be used on the large overstuffed and noticeably comfortable furniture (which is often made of wicker, iron, rattan or bamboo) or on accent pillows try to choose designs patterned in leaf or jungle print styles bearing in mind that your choice must be soft and lush and fit with the color tones of the rest of the room – part of Tropical CHIC is to keep consistency for a more comfortable feeling rather then jarring the senses in an overwhelming pattern of jungle prints and clashing styles.
Recommended materials for larger pieces like couches or ottomans would be neutral color solid chenille’s and if desired can be based around a motif such as a tropical jungle look, animal designs etc.
Pillows should not have fringes and should be little ‘works of art’ themselves while maintaining simple square or rectangular shapes.
Most wooden pieces and flooring will work with the tropical chic look, especially with the use of a table throw or animal skin when necessary.
For most pieces, especially the larger ones using lighter colors works better although careful use of darker and exotic woods such as rattan or ebony, while best used to add weight to tables lamps or feet of furnishings can add a nice bit of dramatic focus to a room without losing sight of the basic premise.
Accents can be ivory or wooden carvings, African or tropical style masks and weapons and be displayed on shelving, hanging on walls or even on pedestals.One important element necessary to create a proper feeling of being near nature is to use large plants placed where they are visible from the comfortable seating, as well as liberal use of texture such as grass cloth and bamboo.Any artwork can be made to work, but be certain that the colors and subject matter match the color and tone of the room to help complete and not compete with the look you are trying to achieve.
With proper attention to color tones and choosing the right accents a Tropical Chic style is easy to achieve and can help create a vibrant and dynamic space in which to relax or play.


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