Kathy Wilfert's Blog
Blissful breezes, palms sweeping the heavy air, waves rolling onto warm sand—whether you're looking to take a vacation or trying to create a relaxing space in your home, the islands’ siren song calls. Recreating the island look in your space can be an elaborate enterprise or a simple changeup. Either way, bringing the islands home adds character and timeless tranquility.
In the bath
By far the simplest room to add Caribbean flair, the bathroom easily lends itself to touches of palm trees on shower curtains or a cluster of shells on a shelf above the tub. Paint the cabinets a deep blue-green to mimic the ocean, the brush on a pale blue faux finish with soft blue-white barely-there clouds sponged onto the upper reaches. Add a tropical floral arrangement to give the splash of color it deserves.
For the bedroom
To give your sleeping area that island look, swap out heavy drapes for breezy, gauzy linen or cotton chiffon or georgette. Hung from antiqued wooden rods, let the curtains drift across the floor. Change out regular fan blades for a basket-weave or banana-leaf style. Use whites or creams in varied textures for bed linens to offset the heavy colonial-style furniture.
Living the dream
Move the tropical into your living spaces with lighter oversized, overstuffed rattan furniture and mother-of-pearl framed mirrors. A sandy-hued area rug on wood or terra cotta tiles evokes the beachy shores. Indoor tropical plants and sea glass collections give that punch of color to conjure up rum punch and dancing on the beach.
Changing out your exterior for the island-style is a brave move unless you're located on the coast. Nevertheless, the serenity it brings to your environment might make it just the right move for your home. Start by painting the wood siding or brick a soft pastel, cream, or white. Great color choices are mint green, pale blue, creamy yellow, and sandy beige. Create an outdoor living space with clusters of tropical trees, colorful bougainvillea, and other islandy-flora if your climate allows for it. Sago palms in pots that you can move indoors in the winter will give you the look if you're in a colder climate.
Extend the design to your windows with Bahama shutters. Also called Colonial or Bermuda shutters, these window coverings fit within the exterior window frame and tilt outward from the bottom to allow breezes in while keeping the bright rays of the sun out. Paint the shutters a contrasting color to add that casual island-style palette. Shutters come in natural wood construction, aluminum versions, composite, or fiberglass versions. During inclement weather, drop the shutters down to protect your windowpanes.
If you're not sure how to bring the islands to your home, seek out a professional decorator. And if your island-happy home is on the market, let a certified home stager advise you on which furniture pieces to keep and which to store during showings.