Summer may be over here in Australia, but in the global world of fashion, tropical style is just heating up. From the runways of Paris to uber-cool homewares stores here in Oz, ‘tropical’ is one of the hottest trends this year.
While it’s true to say that we’ve been here before – cast your mind back to 80s pine lounges with lime green leafy prints – going tropical in 2020 is like going back to your favourite holiday spot after they’ve just renovated the resort.
The prints are bold. The look is colourful. And the vibe is fresh.
Now if you’re thinking that you have to live in the tropics to go troppo with your décor, think again. Tropical style is more about a state-of-mind than a geographic location.
Yes, if you want to get technical, in Australia, the ‘Tropics’ are defined as anything north of the Tropic of Capricorn (which passes through just above Rockhampton on Queensland’s east coast).
But the current passion for all things tropical means that the look isn’t just reserved for holiday houses and beach bars ‘up north’.
Like a trickle of sweat down the back of your leg in a Bali market, tropical style is heading south into the homes of urban dwellers from Brisbane to Tassie.
And for good reason. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on holiday 24/7?
Our latest million-dollar Prize Home at Buderim on the Sunshine Coast is the perfect example of how some creative styling can create a colourful, tropical haven.
Let’s take a look at what ‘Tropical 2020’ looks like.
Depending on what floats your boat, the tropical vibe you create can be calm and subtle, or bright, bold and beautiful. So, what are the tropical colour trends colours will you see in a 2020 tropical colour palette?
Green is back, baby. From the huge trend toward indoor plants to sage painted walls and khaki cushions, green is one of the hottest colours around at the moment. For a tropical look it’s a natural choice but what shade of green to choose? Think about going for muted tones like military greens to create an edgier look.
Neutrals are always a staple of tropic al style. Think whites and sandy tones combined with the warm shades inspired by thatched rooves, coconuts and hand-carved timber. While neutrals are calming and connect your interior with nature, they also create the perfect backdrop for a few splashes of tropical colour.
If you have minimalist tendencies, you can start and stop with neutrals. White wash your walls and build gorgeous layers of texture with cane and timber, all while staying within a neutral palette. Add some touches of greenery with indoor plants and you have tropical minimalism at its very best.
This is where the fun begins. We’ve been living in a world of grey and taupe for far too long, so now it’s time to be brave, take a deep breath, and dive into colour. While greenery still reigns in the tropics there’s also a spectacularly colourful world of flowers, birds and bees to inspire your tropical colour palette. Think vivid tangerine, intense fuchsia, bright coral, spicy turmeric and aquamarine.
If you love the idea of incorporating some colour, but don’t want to turn your home into the Rio Carnivale, go for more muted shades for a rich but softer look.
Starting from the ground up, timber floors are a great base for a tropical interior. If you’re looking at renovating and don’t have timber floors, consider laying vinyl timber planks throughout your living areas. They are easy to lay yourself, durable, and will create a very realistic timber look on a limited budget. Another option are bamboo floors – a little pricier but they’re the real deal and are still easy to DIY. If re-doing your floor coverings isn’t an option right now, you can introduce an earthy element to your floors with a natural fibre rug like jute or sisal.
If you want to create an instant tropical vibe, cane furniture is where it’s at. There’s something about these hand-woven beauties that immediately transports you to some far-flung destination. Whether you go for vintage or modern, choose relaxed pieces that are as comfortable as they are stylish. But don’t think you have to replace your furniture with a full cane lounge suite. Find a comfy cane arm chair with your name on it, a vintage bedhead, or look out for a couple of smaller pieces to add to your décor. Even just a plantstand or a magazine rack can add a tropical flavour.
If cane isn’t your thing, anchor your tropical look with timber. Furniture made from wood brings in that natural element that is so important in tropical style and it will stand the test of time. Opt for more rustic pieces with natural finishes but keep the lines clean if you want a modern edge. Timber accessories also add an earthy warmth to your look. Before you head to the homewares stores, scour flea markets and secondhand shops for vintage timber fruit bowls and carved timber wall-art. You’ll save a fortune and give an old piece a second chance at life.
It can be as simple as accessorising your couch with a couple of bold leaf print cushions, or you could go that step further and create a vista of palm trees with wallpaper to really set the mood. From placemats, to linen, to prints on the wall, there are lots of ways to subtly incorporate a tropical theme without going too over the top – unless of course you want to.
Of course, the ultimate in tropical styling is incorporating the real thing – plants. Indoor plants are not only ultra-cool right now; they are also good for your health.
If just looking at nature can help to relax the mind and reduce stress, imagine what sharing your living space with plants could do for your state-of-mind and well-being. Plus, as well as being beautiful to look at, they can also help to clean the air.
Indoor plants also make great first ‘pets’ for the kids to look after to see if they’re ready for the real thing.
So, if you’re going to incorporate some beautiful greenery into your home, which plants do you choose? Not all plants are created equal. There are some that will thrive inside and others that will… sadly… not thrive (if you know what we mean).
Some tropical plants suited to being grown indoors include parlour palms, fishtail palms, dracaenas, rubber trees and the ever-popular devil’s ivy. Whatever plants you choose, make sure you check what growing conditions they prefer so you can find just the right spot.
With a bit of care and attention, you’ll have a tropical jungle at your place in no time.
Get a lesson in tropical styling at Endeavour Foundation’s current Prize Home in Buderim. Come and explore this stunning home valued at over $1 million and see our interior designer’s tricks for creating a relaxed, resort-style home that you’ll never want to leave. Check opening times and address details here.