Photo by Chelsea Cavanaugh
Maybe it’s the endless-summer feeling that comes from being surrounded by palm-leaf prints and bright botanicals, or the retro vibe cast by all that brass and rattan. Whatever the reason, tropical decor is everywhere we turn these days. If you’re ready to bring the outdoors in, vintage shops are a great starting point for one-of-a-kind accessories and statement pieces (breezy woven seating, an iconic pineapple ice bucket). Just be sure to layer with contemporary elements—say, a minimalist bench and jewel-tone velvet pillows—to avoid the whole stuck-in-a-time-capsule-in-the-jungle thing.
Here’s how we got the look:
Clockwise from upper left: Mounted staghorn ferns, Pistils Nursery PDX, $48 and up; banana leaf print self-adhesive wallpaper, Wall Halla, $26.78 for 48 inches; vintage brass pendant lamp, Indigo Trade Co., similar from $195; vintage Soholm Denmark pottery vase, Glittery Moon Vintage, $145; vintage brass pineapple container, Northfork Vintage, $89; saffron velvet lumbar pillow, Studio Tullia, $80; palm motif linen pillows from Studio Tullia, $60; minimalist steel bench, Crafts Manhattan, $300.
1. Start with a high-impact backdrop, like this banana-leaf wallpaper from Wall Halla, to instantly set the scene; wall paint in a complementary shade (like the deep ocean blue shown above) is a nice alternative for those who prefer their patterns in smaller doses.
2. Balance with earthy materials like rattan, wood, and ceramics. Simple circular and squared shapes work best, since there’s so much pizzazz happening everywhere else.
3. Add glints of warm metallics. Brass, bronze, or gold, high-shine or burnished—as long as it reflects warm light, it’s right.
4. Work in some soft textures, like velvet pillows in solid jewel tones.
Mounted staghorn ferns, Pistils Nursery PDX, $48 and up
5. And don’t forget the actual plants. Perched on a stand, dangling from a hanger, or mounted on the wall, living, breathing greenery is the finishing touch no tropical-inspired room should go without.
Valerie Rains is an editor at Etsy.