The Hottest Thing This Summer: The Tropical Trend

This one has been creeping into our consciousness like a stealthy panther for some time now . . . and the tropical trend is going to be HUGE this summer.

Mary McGee design

I get tons of design magazines and retail catalogs, and here are just a handful of recent ones that show how the popular tropical trend is trickling down to the mainstream. Pottery Barn is featuring tropical plants, gilded bamboo, banana leaf and dense floral patterns, and rattan.

Pottery Barn

Some of the influencers of this trend include hot young designers like Justina Blakeney and throw-back icons like Lily Pulitzer and Dorothy Draper. Blakeney’s “jungalow” look embraces bohemian maximillism, dark and vivid colors, and all things jungle-ish. We’re seeing tons of mixed patterns and oh-so-much rattan:

bamboo rattan chair with bohemian cushionsGrandinroad

Pottery Barn just pushed out a new line of outdoor products and fabrics by Lily Pulitzer. Lots of pink + green, this Palm Springs-meets-Paris vibe is back in fashion and decor. Preppy, but prettier than the 1980’s version.

Pottery Barn

cabana stripesPottery Barn

One of the late, great designers of the 20th century, Dorothy Draper’s influence is revived in this tropical jungle trend. Draper was able to use feminine color with abandon, simply by tossing in a heavy dose of black to keep it from becoming too saccharine. Cabana stripes abound – and it’s not just for the outdoors anymore.

pink and green outdoor fabrics with banana leaf printBallard Designs

navy blue cabana stripesSuzanne Kasler’s cabana stripes for Ballard Designs

tropical trend

The most popular colors this summer are greens and pinks. Dark greens and lighter yellow-greens are so hot right now, as are blush to raspberry pinks.

green and black fabricsWilliams Sonoma Home

Why not mix these jungle greens – a solid, a stripe, and banana leaf – with a cheetah or leopard print?

Ballard Designs

pink floral tablecloth and charcoal wicker chairssource

Mary McGee kitchen design with flamingo wallpaper and hot pink rattan chairsMary McGee in Coastal Living

Are you noticing lots of exotic animals in these images? Watch for flamingos, jungle cats, elephants, zebras, birds, just to name a few.

While natural rattan and bamboo (even retro finds) are uber-hot, painted versions of both are found in the juiciest, most saturated colors. Of course, white is fresh and a safe bet, too . . .

white rattan chairs


What do you think? Are you ready for this happy tropical trend for your home? Stay tuned for the reveal of my big winter project, 33 Palms, where I used a good dose of this style in this Florida vacation rental home!


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Laura P.
Laura P.
4 years ago

Hi Kristie, It is interesting to see how the mainstream designers have taken this trend down several notches from the rooms you showed us at the design showcase several months ago! Those rooms were stunning, especially the bold banana leaf wallpaper. I would be too hesitant to do anything to costly but in the photos above, most of the more permanent pieces are pretty neutral, with the pillows and tablecloths, etc. bringing in the trend (except for the flamingo wallpaper)!! I can’t wait to see your final design on the Florida home! Hope you are having a lot of fun with that project! Thanks for another informative post!

Laura P.
Laura P.
4 years ago

*too* costly

4 years ago

So hoping you will feature some basements esp. How to stage / paint and best flooring. Hoping you might feature basements in older homes with low ceilings and brick walls…!

3 years ago

I’ve always loved this look, so super excited that it’s easier to find now. Last month we did an Arbnb in Lake Worth FL and I spent my free time taking walks looking at the old Florida style homes. I almost swooned in the street when saw the an adorable pink stucco home with black & white awnings surrounded by the lush tropical landscape.

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