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"Tropical interior design emphasizes natural, exotic elements."

Surrounding yourself with a tropical interior design scheme is one way to indulge your taste for exotic lands. Feel the essence of old Bombay or the breezy majesty of Martinique as you spend time with family and friends. You won’t have to hop a plane or get seasick to do it. A tropical interior design scheme can be developed through the purposeful mix of elements.

One way to develop a tropical scheme is to think about what it is that you would expect to experience in a tropical location. Are you getting images of sand, beautiful ocean views, lush foliage? Maybe you’re feeling the soft ocean breeze brush your face. Let these images and sensations guide you in the creation of your space.

For a backdrop consider a neutral color scheme. You can add stronger touches of accent color, like citrus hues for example, to punch it up and round it out. Walls painted in a sandy beige color or white can a good choice to evoke the beach or breaking waves. Blue or green hues could also be a good choice, bringing to mind the sky or sea. The goal here is to establish a light and airy feeling.

Tropical Living Room

An alternate approach is to use warmer colors if you wanted to instead orient your tropical interior design toward an exotic, spice island look typical of the East Indies. Walls painted in cinnamon or nutmeg hues, for example, may be the perfect choice. For accent colors try jewel tones instead of citrus hues.

Texture and wood play a huge role in a tropical interior design scheme. Woven elements like rattan and wicker furniture work great. Teak and bamboo features lend a very tropical vibe as well. As an alternative to painted walls consider grasscloth wallpaper for an exotic, textural feel.

When you choose fabrics go with natural fibers such as cotton, linen and silk. These are more in tune with the tropics. As you imagined your favorite tropical location did you see gauzy fabric billowing in the ocean breeze as it sweeps through the open window? This is indispensible to a tropical look. Use gauze fabric on windows or draped over a four post bed, for example. It enhances the easy, breezy atmosphere. Just thinking about it makes me want to curl up for a nice afternoon nap.

Tropical Style Bedroom

For privacy consider bamboo, roll-up window blinds or wooden plantation blinds. It’s important to stick with natural textures and elements for a more authentic tropical look.

Palm plants and tropical flowers, like orchids for example, will further enhance your tropical interior design and inject a touch of lush foliage. Accessories featuring coral, shells – anything that evokes a tropical location – can help round out the look.

If you want to go the extra mile, add some wood beams in intervals across your ceiling. Or cover your ceiling completely with wood slats to inject an exotic, architectural element into your tropical interior design scheme.

Style Tips:

Tropical Interior Design

• Wood or tiled floors look best in a tropical interior. Use a natural fiber area rug such as sisal to anchor your space elements.

• Create a breeze with a tropically inspired fan overhead. A ceiling fan with woven panels or panels in the shape of banana tree leaves looks perfect! (see first photo above)

• Enhance your space with tropical flare. Consider a pair of pineapple shaped table lamp with fluted shades for accent lighting. Commandeer a flat-topped trunk for use as a coffee table.

Now, pop a little umbrella in that Pina Colada, and serve up a big slice of key lime pie. It's time to sit back and enjoy your own tropical corner of the world.

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