How To Nail The Tropical Print Trend

Modern tropical prints need to be more trendy less Tarzan.

As enduring as fond memories of days spent lounging on a lilo in the Caribbean, the tropical look is one of those trends that never quite fades. This season, however, it’s less punch-drunk primaries, more segments of juicy hues set against deep, inky tones, insists Paula Taylor, colour and trend specialist at Graham & Brown.

Ubud Tropic wallpaper, £50 a roll, Graham & Brown

‘We’re seeing a sophisticated take on the theme, with pops of berry-bright fuchsia, turquoise and parakeet green – and even flashes of metallic – enhanced by brooding, dark backdrops.’

Tropical Garden wall panel, £319.85, Casadeco

Designers Guild’s Tricia Guild concurs. ‘The tropical theme is a timeless classic. In urban settings, a bit of exotic escapism is the perfect antidote to our supersonic, always-on lifestyles,’ she says.

Florida Vert cotton, £52m, Camengo

‘But balance is vital to the look’s longevity. Splashes of saturated colour offset either with plenty of balancing white or with cooler, calming hues work better than a mob of eye-popping brights that pack an overwhelming punch.’

Palme Botanique cotton in Emerald, £65m, Designers Guild

As with colour, balance is also key when it comes to pattern and prints, says designer Matthew Williamson. ‘By all means, mix it up, but, as a rule of thumb, the more patterns you play with in your scheme, the more you should limit your palette – otherwise it risks becoming one big, busy confusion.’

Tropicana wallpaper, £64 a roll, Matthew Williamson at Osborne & Little

So, how can you get the tropical trend right?

* DO play with scale

Mixing bold, tropical patterns can be tricky so, while sticking to a uniform palette, try experimenting with different scales of the same print.

Santana folding screen, £83.99, Maisons du Monde

* DON’T overdo brights

This take on the tropical look is about playing down brights. Instead, go exotic by injecting bold, fruity accents into a scheme of sophisticated moody darks.

Rousseau velvet in Lime, £49m, Clarke & Clarke

* DO look to the light

Natural light takes first prize, but a well-curated selection of table lamps does wonders to pull out pockets of intense, jewel-bright colour.

* DON’T forget foliage

Choose oversized plants for maximum impact. Palms and sculptural succulents work well at windows – and do wonderful things with shadows at night.

Palm Leaf upholstered sofa, £495, Ella James at

* DO remember to balance your scheme

If walls and fabrics are your statement pieces, tone down your furniture and accessories. Think trendy, not Tarzan.

* DON’T be afraid

Not yet ready to welcome the jungle into your living room? Consider a tropical print in the guest loo, entrance hall, or on just one accent wall, such as behind a bed.

A bedroom’s tropical prints are kept calm thanks to a panel of bleached wood

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