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Perfecting Tropical Plantation Style

Perfecting Tropical Plantation Style







In the heat of summer, a cool, shady oasis can provide a welcome escape. Increasingly popular indoors, Plantation Style, is  a great look  to extend outdoors onto a verandah. If you’re careful about your material and furniture choices you can even extend it to a full outdoor  or poolside location. 


So what exactly is Plantation Style?  It also described as British Colonial Style but with British territories once stretching across Africa, India, Asia, North America, and the South Pacific, that probably doesn't narrow it down much. So enough of the history lesson.  






Most typically,  it is associated with the tropics and conjures up imagery of wide verandahs with cooling plantationshutters; potted plants; the sound of lazily rotating ceiling fans; and perhaps even the  clink of ice in a glass of gin and tonic – the perfect respite from tropical heat.


Essentially, the style partners traditional British furniture and decor elements with local textiles, materials and plants. Think formal tempered by casual; sophisticated elegance combined with island style; and practicality merged with the exotic. 


With our warm summers and humidity, (okay maybe not as bad as the tropics) Sydney climate is ideally suited to this kind of decor style. To achieve this look on your verandah or outdoor area, the key elements are: 


  • Dark Flooring or decking contrasted against light  or brightly coloured walls and fabrics and furniture. 
  • Wooden shutters or rattan shades, ceiling fans with wicker, rattan or palm leaf blades
  • a colour scheme that mixes corals or cobalt blue with gentle shades of the sea, forest, sun and desert (pale greens, blues, tans or creams).
  • Cane or rattan furniture
  • Natural fibre rugs  eg. sisal and jute
  • Cushions with botanical prints: palm trees, tropical foliage and flowers or paisleys, or exotic birds
  • Potted ferns, palms and orchids in brass or aluminium pots, and elevated pots on plant stands
  • Accessories with Asian, African, Indian or Caribbean heritage.  Perhaps a few pineapple ornaments; a bird cage or two and some shells and coral 
  • Hurricane lamps dotted around to illuminate the tropical foliage
  • and, if you can find one, a bar cart with the obligatory bottle of gin!


palm leaf cushionOutdoor-Cane_-Chairsbritish-colonial-styleWhite_Cane_rattan_chair




If you’re  wanting  to extend the look to a full outdoor or poolside location you need to: 

  • substitute cane and rattan with all weather cane or rattan which will endure salty coastal air and won’t require maintenance. There are some great options available that replicate the look of cane exceptionally well. An added bonus is that you won’t have the hassle of ever having to repaint or repair split pieces of cane
  • replace natural fibre mats with outdoor rugs made from polypropylene
  • buy full outdoor cushions that are uv treated and mould resistant
  • adapt Palm choices to suit your garden’s microclimate.



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