Style Scout: Tropics make a splash in home decor

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    Warm sunshine, cool breezes and longer days — yes, it’s almost summer. And with this luscious season comes new design trends in home décor.

    As forecasted earlier in the year, tropical-inspired designs are hot for 2016. And as the days get warmer, it seems the tropical trend gets bigger. From palm-leaf wallpaper to flamingo motifs to jungle-like gardens, the tropics are making a splash in every corner of the home décor industry. One of the biggest trends taking shape this season, a personal favorite of mine, is the rattan revival — a marriage of sculptural modernism and retro designs from the seventies.

    If you’re thinking this style is reminiscent of a Floridian retirement home or frightful 1980s wicker, think again. The rattan furniture and decor that are sweeping the home décor industry this year (worldwide) are eye-catching statement pieces. The designs are like coveted pieces of art, and nothing like your grandmother’s sunroom chair.

    Over the years, furniture manufacturers have explored new ways in how this organic material can be manipulated, and the results are striking. Manufacturers are pulling away from the once-popular oversized chunky three-piece rattan sets and directing their attention to one-offs with a sleeker, more sculptural aesthetic. Most of the styles lean toward a contemporary design, but some manufacturers are designing collections inspired from the Victorian era and as far back as ancient China. This mixture of styles celebrates the bohemian nature of this furniture design, and lends an ever-popular eclectic look.

    What to look for?

    There is a wide range of rattan, as well as cane, furnishings and décor to choose from. The key is to look for quality and authentic designs. The best pieces to buy do cost a pretty penny, but the investment is worth it. High-quality woven furniture will last you decades. The cheap stuff looks cheap and falls apart (quickly). Save your pennies and get the good stuff.

    How to style?

    Indoor or outdoor, rattan and other organic woven furnishings can be used in any space. The trick in keeping rattan contemporary is knowing how much or how little to use in your space. Going for the bohemian, eclectic vibe? Choose two to three statement rattan pieces and pair with other materials and styles. Want to keep it cool and modern? Choose one design and use three in a row, making sure the pieces are clean-lined and sculptural. Are you a traditionalist, but want a fresh look? Create an entire room in rattan, but choose clean-line and airy furnishings. Use solid colors for the cushions, and add touches of greenery and contemporary décor. Do you want a little rattan, but are not sure how to implement it into your current space? Choose one piece, like a chair or a lamp, that makes a statement but complements your existing furniture.

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