Eclectic, colorful, bright and breezy… anyone who’s ever spent a little time in a Caribbean home is guaranteed to have lost a little piece of their heart to it. The weathered wooden furniture, the bright, tropical airiness, the vibrant use of color… Caribbean homes have a timeless appeal that never seems to fall out of flavor. If your dream home is one that evokes the tranquility and beauty of the Caribbean, there are a few key elements you’ll need to consider. Get these right, and you’ll be one step closer to your own little slice of tropical paradise. Here, we take a closer look at how you can create a Caribbean style living room with a few clever color choices, some crisp linen, and a boatload of tropical plants.
If you want to introduce some Caribbean flavor into your living room, you’ll need to abandon that modern predilection for neutral, minimalist spaces and crisp white walls. The Caribbean is all about vibrancy and exuberance… and what says either of these better than a big, bold color scheme? Get loud and proud with your color choices, and you’ll be halfway to creating your Caribbean style living room before you’ve even started thinking about furniture. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas about what kind of colors will fit your space the best, look for inspiration in the great outdoors. Residents of the Caribbean love nothing more than adding a touch of their surrounds to the homes, so look to the blue spectrum of the color chart (think turquoise seas and cloud-free skies) as much as possible. Don’t think you have to limit your color choices to the walls either: take every piece of furniture, every piece of fabric and every decorative item as your opportunity to add a splash of color. As Beach Bliss Living notes, if you feel especially adventurous, a few accents in canary yellows, cheerful corals and pretty pinks will complement the theme perfectly.
Textiles are a big feature in Caribbean homes, and while you can get as creative with their patterns and colors as you like, just make sure to keep them crisp. Fuzzy woolen fabrics in pastel tones might be cozy, but they don’t really occupy a place in Caribbean interiors. When it comes to patterns, bold geometric designs are popular, as are abstract floral forms. How you mix the different fabrics is purely personal, but one classic combination that you’ll often find in Caribbean homes is a mix of white and bolder shades- think two overlapping sofa throws, with one in white and one in turquoise. As Decoist notes, the contrast between the sterile white and tropical hue will do a great job of looking both striking and inviting. When it comes to choosing the textiles for your window treatment, look for something gauzy that lets in plenty of natural light (unless privacy is an issue, of course, in which case a bamboo slatted blind makes a great alternative).
Wood features heavily in Caribbean design, and nowhere is this truer than in the living room. Don’t worry if your existing wooden furniture has become a little battered and bruised over the years; Caribbean style is as welcoming of the old as it is of the new, and a few weathered pieces that look like they have a story to tell will add a great sense of depth and history to your home. Thrift stores and antique markets are a great place to dig around for some timeless pieces if you want to add a few new pieces to your collection. On the other hand, if your current furniture is more IKEA than St Louis, and you don’t want to make do with other people’s second-hand goods, look for new pieces made from distressed wood that looks like it’s spent more than just a few years being eroded by the sea. Otherwise, rattan, wicker, bamboo, teak and stripped pine all make equally popular choices that are well in keeping with the overall style. When it comes to whether you go for simple lines or ornate carvings, its really up to you. Traditional Caribbean homes tend to feature an abundance of wooden furniture that looks like it’s just been dug up from Davey Jones’ locker – i.e., old, ornate and beautiful in an elaborate, stylized way. Modern Caribbean houses, on the other hand, are just as inclined to furnish their interiors with clean, simple furniture that emphasizes the light airiness of the space. Both styles fit equally well with the design theme, so this is really one area where you can let personal choice guide you.
Let’s get one thing straight – if you can’t keep a plant alive for more than a few days, you might want to look for an alternative style to this one. If you’re going Caribbean, then like it or not, you’re going to have to go green. No Caribbean home is complete without at least a little tropical greenery, and really, this is one case of the more the better. To create a talking point, make sure the plants you introduce are of varying sizes (a few floor to ceiling examples will look amazing) and have plenty of lush, interestingly shaped foliage. If you’ve no green fingers at all, don’t give up on the idea of greenery completely – just replace the potted plants with some of the cut variety- most florists are well stocked in tropical greenery and, as an added bonus, also offer plenty of vibrant tropical flowers as well.
While a few tropical plants and palm leaves are undoubtedly a great way of introducing a tropical taste to your living room, don’t miss out on the chance to really work that Caribbean vibe with a few decorative items scattered throughout your living room. Items created to look like abstract versions of seashells make great decorative pieces, while a few hanging pendant lights will look beautiful (and serve a very useful purpose).