We all remember the first time we set foot in a tropical paradise. The colors, the greenery, the water – instantly we fell in love! After that, many of us decided to come to Florida when it was cold up North or even decided to move here permanently.

One of the first things most people try to capture in their home when they come here is the “Tropical Lifestyle”. At one point, it was a pretty narrow style, consisting of mostly palm tree prints, large scaled furniture and dark woods. Now, luckily, it has evolved to include a much broader range of colors and style.

What is your idea of the Tropical Lifestyle?”

I have asked this question of folks when I do seminars and the answers are quite varied and include: relaxed, cool colors, beach, comfortable, airy, brightly colored, fresh, natural, etc. What I think of when evoking this may be completely different that what you are thinking of. Each person has in their mind what ‘tropical’ means to them and they then want it reflected in their home. This is a key point, meaning I think that the “Tropical Lifestyle” should be whatever it is to YOU.

I am a true believer that you should keep your interiors a reflection of you. Your tastes, things you love, memories of your travels, favorite colors and favorite collections should all have a place in your interior. I like when interiors have a “collected” or “eclectic” look. If it all matches and looks the same, it’s downright boring. Your eye will just gloss over the entire space and not even register what it is seeing. When pieces and textures vary, it is much more interesting to look at. Your eye will stop to appreciate the differences. We all need to get a bit more adventurous when designing our homes.

We all have pieces that we love or have just because we inherited them or can’t bring ourselves to let them go. Don’t worry, it is ok to keep these! They can always be incorporated into our spaces. For instance, if you want to keep a piece but don’t like the finish or fabric, it can be reworked into something new and interesting. You could add nailheads in an interesting pattern to that old ottoman. On that chair from Aunt Sue, consider a really cool patterned fabric in your tropical colors and bright finish. How about a green and blue print with a bright blue painted frame? That odd ball piece could become the new star of the show!

I know I said this just a few paragraphs before, but it bears repeating, everything does not need to match, unless you want to yawn a lot when you’re at home. You can ‘blend’ multiple pieces and still have a cohesive look. If you have multiple chair styles, you could place them all around the same table and tie them together by having them all in the same finish and fabric. Voila! Interesting!

The current trends I am seeing in color include the jewel tones, like tangerine orange, cobalt blue and emerald green, in saturated hues. We are forever going to be in love with anything that brings the outdoors in. What is a better way to enjoy our tropical environment than to be surrounded by natural and created beauty? So, embrace the items you have and make them unique and interesting. Add a few color pops and different patterns and you will be well on your way to creating YOUR tropical lifestyle! Good luck!