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Furniture > It?s a Jungle in There: Creating a Tropical Paradise in Your Home.

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By: ARA
(ARA) - Bold floral prints. Palm leaf motifs. Bamboo garden torches. This season?s tropical look is hotter than sand on bare feet at the beach. Even poolside serveware has taken on the look of the islands with bright fish motifs, umbrella drink picks and monkey swizzle sticks.

Why the obsession with all things tropical?

?It?s reminiscent of leisurely vacations and offers an escape from people?s sterile office environments,? says Daryle Gibbs, director of product development for Pier 1 Imports. ?It reflects a lifestyle that is comfortable and restful, and it enables people to connect with nature and recharge in a very livable setting.?

While this year?s look has some whimsical and kitschy elements (think paper umbrella drink picks and bright fish-shaped coasters), there are ways to incorporate what Gibbs terms a more understated ?everyday tropical? style to your home without having to undergo a room transformation akin to the set of Gilligan?s Island.

?Natural color palettes and fibers are a more subtle way to give hints of the tropics in your living space,? says Gibbs. ?Look for furniture that mixes wood, iron or bamboo with different types of woven fibers to add an unusual tropical element and to provide a more timeless look.?

Some of the more unique materials seen recently include coco bark, raffia, woven banana leaves and crushed bamboo. Elements that typify the tropical look, like rattan, are being reinvented and paired with unlikely partners.

?Pier 1?s tamarind pottery incorporates terra cotta dyed with the juice of the rust-colored tamarind fruit and it?s edged with woven rattan,? says Gibbs. ?And our coco bark accent furniture combines crushed coco bark surfaces with wood and metal.?

Gibbs suggests using florals sparingly and instead sticking to tropical greenery like banana, orchid and bamboo leaves for accents. ?Floral prints are headed toward a more subtle, botanical look that incorporates natural colors and creates tropical scenery, rather than an intensely vibrant jungle explosion,? he says.

Even small details, like the tropical leaf motif on the legs of a metal coffee table or a raffia fringed accent pillow, can add an understated touch of the tropics without clashing with a person?s current d?cor.

?You can be fashion-forward without being too trendy,? Gibbs says. ?We know people don't want to totally redecorate a room every season. Making subtle changes can really enhance your space.?

Tahiti? Who needs it with your own private island oasis -- at home.

Courtesy of ARA Content



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