Okay – I’m putting it out there, I think we are seeing an interior decorating trend towards a tropical style that’s a modern interpretation of British Colonial style.  Well the style was invented over 100 years ago when the British were colonising The Caribbean, India, and parts of Asia, but it’s style is working it’s way into furniture and homewares in our stores now.

Bamboo Desk

Bamboo desk available from Alfresco Emporium

Although we tend to stick to classical decorating styles here on DIY Decorator, there are trends within that style – Vintage, French, and currently Hamptons is the buzz word.  I spend hours every week looking at interiors products and projects, and I’m seeing tropical work it’s way in.  Last week I was talking to a Brisbane Interior Designer, and a professional magazine stylist and we were all talking palm fronds and India Hicks style.  So just what is that style?

Tropical British Colonial Style

India Hicks Bahamas Home

Furniture was traditional formal British dark wood furniture, that had been adapted and inspired by the tropics. Elegantly carved wood furniture made from mahogany, bamboo, rattan and cane.  Campaign furniture was collapsable furniture that was easily packed up, and ready to ship to the next destination such as, folding chairs, writing tables, and liquor cabinets, together with old trunks and suitcases.

tropical British colonial style

Cape Lodge Plantation Chair – Ralph Lauren Home

To deal with the heat in the new colonies, the British kept their wall colours neutral, so rooms would be bright and cool in the heat.  Windows were covered with shutters or sheer fabric and wood or woven ceiling fans were used both inside and out.

British colonial style

Image Left – Lisa Romerein photograhy via Desire to Inspire   |   Ralph Lauren’s Jamacia home via Architectural Digest

Accessories were a mix of traditional British fine china, crystal and silver with tropical inspired decor such as carved pineapples, sea shells, and coral, and travel related accessories such as globes, maps, telescopes, and letter writing equipment.  Accessories were often made of bamboo, rattan, leather and tortoise patterned glass.

British colonial style

Image Left – Stuart Membery Home   |   Image Right – Tommy Bahama (They ship to Australia)

Fabrics and artwork featured native flora and fauna such as exotic birds, palm trees, monkeys, tropical foliage and flowers.  Potted palms and ferns were brought inside.

Tropical Style

 Image – Olivaux Interiors

Time will tell if this is the next trend in decorating styles, but it works so well up here in Queensland, that I think a modern interpretation of the style will be popular.  It will be interesting to see what products hit the shops in spring when the weather warms up again.

Further reading – British Colonial Style Decorating Tips at Ideal Home Garden