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Six Tips for Practical Outdoor Decorating in the Caribbean

by Maia Muttoo Jul 15, 2019

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When starting a new outdoor décor project, it’s not all about aesthetics; it’s also important to make the design practical by considering the environment you live in.

In the Caribbean, we live with direct sunlight, heat, salty air and insects; these realities should be factors in your design decisions.

Here are six practical tips for designing outdoor spaces in the tropics.

Select Plants That Can Withstand the Elements

Decorating with potted plants adds more life to a patio, balcony or deck. Select plants of varying sizes and shapes for dimension and visual interest.

Just be sure to choose plant species that do well in the conditions of your area. For example, if you live near the sea, use plants that can withstand salty air or soil.

Take a walk around your neighbourhood. What plants flourish naturally there? Take inspiration from nature itself!

Incorporate Shade

The year-round heat in the Caribbean is both a blessing and a curse.

Add a shade structure to your outdoor space, so you aren’t driven inside by the sun. Options include a large standing umbrella, an awning, or a shade sail.

Choose Colours Wisely

If you plan to add cushions, rugs, or other textiles, select bright or light colours. Darker colours can fade over time in the sunlight.

Direct sunlight also blows out colours, so even the brightest highlighter hues can look toned down and chic in the tropics. Don’t shy away from the colourful designs of your dreams!

Think About Potential Storms

Unfortunately, hurricanes are a reality of life in the Caribbean. When decorating your outdoor space, opt for items that can be easily secured during heavy rainfall or a storm.

You can choose awnings that double as hurricane-proof window shutters, purchase furniture that can be easily carried inside if necessary or invest in weatherproof outdoor furniture covers.

Keep Out Critters

If you want to lounge on your patio during the sunset hours without swatting away mosquitos, invest in insect netting or curtains. This way, you can enjoy a relaxing evening in your hammock without bug bites.

Go for Quality Materials

No matter where you live, outdoor décor is always susceptible to general wear and tear.

Buy or build furniture of quality that will withstand the elements for longer than cheaper counterparts.

Though heavier, wrought-iron or tropical hardwoods are durable materials that will last the test of time (and weather) outside.

In the Caribbean, we’re blessed with stunning landscapes and year-round warm weather; creating an outdoor space is a great way to enjoy the beauty of our region. These six tips should help you design a space that’s both aesthetically pleasing and practical. 

Sources: Coastal Living, HGTV, and Patio Productions.