Bahama Mama: Your Caribbean-style Textiles And Design Quick Guide

“There’s just something about this place.” 

Have you ever found yourself saying that while on some exotic vacation getaway? Or even while surfing dream vacation ideas on the internet? Some places have an energy and a groove that just has a certain something, an ability to open up parts of you unlike any other place.

Places like the Caribbean. It’s like you find an island version of yourself who’s a blissful world apart from the regular Tuesday version of you back home. And you like that person. Like, a lot.

Let “exotic island you” stow away by bringing a bit of that Caribbean-inspired design vibe into your home’s style. Today we’ll talk through some of the key elements that can help you keep the island breezes flowing. And, specifically, we’ll offer ideas for doing so through the fabrics, colors, and patterns you choose for your upholstery. 

The Yummy Ingredients Of Your New Caribbean Design Style Cocktail

One of the best things about travel is leaving behind not only your cares but also your stuff. You arrive at some dream locale and find a neat, clean, and fabulously appointed place to sleep and play. Ahhhhhh. So liberating. 

Simple, uncluttered spaces are one of the central elements that give the Caribbean design style its richly expansive and relaxing vibe. You walk into a space that feels like there’s room to breathe a bit deeper, stretch out, and relax.

Besides the instant organization and simplification of your world, there’s an instantly obvious design element uniquely Caribbean: color. Lots and lots of color. And each color is a vibrant version of its base notes. Not just green, lime green. Not just orange, tangerine orange. Not just blue, turquoise blue. Not just yellow, sunshine yellow. And on and on.

The use of such electric and energized colors adds a sense of playfulness and possibilities. You can’t help but smile and dream at least a little. (More of that, please.)

The final garnish on your tropical interior design cocktail comes naturally. The energy and uplift of the simplicity and colors are grounded and warmed with natural elements and textures. That’s done through the liberal use of actual plants and natural materials. But also, through using textiles made from — or made to feel like — natural fibers, and patterns featuring foliage and other natural designs.  

So now you’ve got the guiding principles of our journey to your interior design setting sail Caribbean-style: Keep it simple. Definitely keep it colorful. And keep it natural. 

How That Tropical Design Vibe Can Fit In With Your Home’s Vibe

With those elements in mind, where should you begin? That’s mostly a question of how far you want to go. 

Ready to go all-in with island interior design? 

How about going with rattan frame furniture for the natural texture. And upholster the cushions with fade-resistant Sunbrella fabric in stunning shades of papaya and coral. Add some more comfort and island feels with throw pillows in a contemporary tropical foliage pattern. 

This is a style that loves natural light, so if you’re going all-in and wanting to add window dressings keep them light and airy. Like simple sheer curtains in white or other pale colors. Finish the look with plenty of greenery and perhaps a woven rug in turquoise blue. It’s bold, yes. But it’s also an instant oasis. 

Check out more examples of going big in this piece from Kate Simmons at Decoist magazine. (We especially love the home positively brimming with teal. And the bedroom with zesty orange pillows and sheer curtains over the bed.) 

Or just want a design-style souvenir or two from your getaway? 

That’s 100% doable. You can add something that reminds you of your adventure but doesn’t compete with your existing style. Remember the central principles of Caribbean interior design. Keep it simple, colorful, and natural.

Many styles already lend themselves to this. Pops of color and natural elements are elegant accents that thrive in Hollywood glam style. So you can add a sofa in Caribbean green velvet giving you that pop of island color but a texture at home in your existing vibe. Or even upholster dining chairs in small-scale foliage patterned purple chenille for a hint of ocean breezes.

With its colorful celebration of all things eclectic, Boho chic is another natural fit for adopting a bit of a Caribbean design dialect. Keep your bedroom looking like the calming and creative suite you wanted, but add a bit of beachy, too. Try upholstering your headboard in eco-friendly cotton twill in soothing ocean blue. And maybe add some shams to your bedroom throw pillow rotation in a pattern we lovingly call Oasis. (And no worries about using blues and greens together. In Caribbean design style, it totally works.)

You can even bring home a bit of the islands in a modern farmhouse design approach. Actually, with their shared love of an uncluttered look and natural textures, the farmhouse and the beach house have more in common than not. In a more muted color scheme, add throw pillows or an armchair in simple but striped patterned jacquard featuring soft tropical colors. Or in a bright and monochrome white farmhouse space, showcase some exotic foliage patterned curtains in bold crimson and white.  

Your New Tropical Design Style Can Really Be A Breeze

By now, what we hope is drifting over you like a gentle ocean breeze is that adding a bit of Caribbean design style can be quick and easy. And there are boatloads of inspiration out there beyond what we’ve offered today (like these 55 ideas from Southern Living). 

The key things to remember are:

  • Keep it simple — as much as Caribbean design is lively and happy it’s also fundamentally calming, peaceful, and uncluttered.
  • Keep it colorful — The use of bright, bold, happy tones in an array of combinations is encouraged.
  • Keep it natural — Build on the sense of uplift and aliveness with natural textures in fabrics, patterns, and other decor.

When you’re ready to set sail with your new design style, we’re standing by — or, after this, maybe lounging in a hammock nearby — to help you with all your upholstery needs from design to delivery. Give us a call today. 

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