Dreaming of a tropical escape? It’s often when those first chilly gusts of winter start blowing that we all book our winter getaways picturing of swaying palms, cocktails at sunset and hammocks swinging on the balmy breeze. But if you can’t get to the tropics, bring the tropics to you. From reclaimed timbers to rustic rattans, we’ve got plenty of tropical villa interior design ideas to transport you to paradise — no passport necessary.
1 Natural and reclaimed timbers
2 Rattan, wicker, jute and seagrass
3 Exotic prints and textures
4 Loads of luscious indoor plants
5 Indoor–outdoor flow
The tropical villa aesthetic is truly unique in that it is a beautiful blend of rustic timbers, textured rattans, lush colours and quality craftsmanship. It’s all about the easy, breezy, holiday-at-home feeling drawing inspiration from the sea, sky and lush tropical rainforests. The best part about it is that it can be incorporated in almost any existing theme — it’s not an all-or-nothing style. Whether you’re beachy boho, coastal or even Hamptons, you can easily add natural accents to take you to the tropics. Mid-century with tropical overtones, for instance, has a Palm Springs aesthetic. A few indoor plants and palm tree patterns can add a relaxed playfulness to a stark minimalist interior.
Moving away from the busy and vibrant party-island theme of a few years ago, the tropical trend has become more subdued, tasteful and luxurious. The contemporary tropical interior is about natural materials — like reclaimed timbers, rattan, wicker, seagrass and teak — exotic prints and textures, warm, vibrant accent colours and loads of luscious, tropical foliage to harness the vay-cay vibe.
Emphasising the indoor–outdoor flow like no other, the style is very much grounded in nature. Nothing says villa vibes like timber furniture crafted from rich and textured materials such as teak and acacia and reclaimed timber. Get an eclectic look by pairing a reclaimed timber table with a wicker or rattan set of chairs. Sustainable and reclaimed timbers are also an excellent choice, like mango wood — which is fast growing — and recycled pine. The Dawson collection (including beds, dining tables, chairs, buffets and bookshelves) is one of our most popular, as each piece boasts a unique grain.
Fast growing, biodegradable, versatile and surprisingly strong, tropical materials such as rattan, seagrass and bamboo are also a trademark of the tropics. Wavering in and out of vogue around the world over the decades (dating back to the Ancient Egyptians!), in climates along the equator, these materials are timeless — plus, there’s no wrong way to use them. Glamorous and bohemian, complement your heavier furniture with accent armchairs, a day bed or even a Havana pendant light.
While we’re on the topic, there’s often confusion between the difference between rattan and wicker. Rattan is the material (usually cane) and wicker is the weave itself — so, yes, they’re essentially the same thing and certainly used interchangeably. The beauty of rattan is that it’s incredibly eco-friendly, instead of cutting down whole trees to get the materials to make furniture, the harvesters cut the vines, which grow back quickly. These days there are also many synthetic wicker alternatives that are lightweight, super-durable in outdoor conditions and very affordable.
Keep your interiors fairly neutral and accessorise with exotic prints and textures. Integrate a palm-leaf theme, for instance, with cushions or table lamps, and add little pops of colourful florals. Mix subdued tones and textures, like wicker, linen, cotton, timber and leather. For just a touch of luxe, add some metallic accents, mirrors or velvet.
No matter how big your deck or city balcony may be, an outdoor oasis is a dreamy addition to the tropical villa vibe. Let your reclaimed timbers, bamboo and wicker furnishings spill out through sliding glass doors to the terrace. The Byron Wicker Occasional Chair it pretty enough for either the deck or dining room, while the Bonnie Wicker Sofa is the perfect piece for cocktails at sunset.