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.
‘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.’
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.
‘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.’
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.’
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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.