Island Style: Design Essentials of the Caribbean Home

The days are getting shorter, my hydrangeas are fading and autumn coffee drinks are already popping up on menus. Yup, these are sure signs that summer is winding to a close. So let's first journey to the Caribbean where summer never ends and see how we can incorporate elements of the island retreat into our homes for year-round tropical bliss!

What are common elements are seen in an island home, you might wonder?

Lots of white or slipcovered furniture for a cool and calm look, as seen in this colonial-style home in St. Barts. Verandas, shutters and seagrass rugs and baskets are also a nod to island style.

Texture is ramped up a notch in this Bahamian home seen in House Beautiful, with the wallpapered foyer, jute rug and mirrored shelves. Palms — either real or fake, like these painted metal palms — along with blue & white porcelains, are both recurrent themes throughout the Caribbean home.

Working shutter doors on windows and palm fans add complementing textures to India Hick's sitting room in the Bahamas. Neutral tones, natural materials and white walls with dark wood are familiar throughout the Caribbean. Here muted tones are jazzed up by an upholstered chair in dusty watermelon.

The living room in Bunny Williams' Dominican Republic home echoes many elements already mentioned above. Palms, real and painted, blue and white porcelains, and dark woods contrasted against neutral walls. Granted, Bunny's home is more playful with color and varying patterns, but like India, she sticks to subtle muted shades.

Mosquito netting and beds draped with gauzy white fabric or curtains seem to be a prerequisite for almost every Caribbean bedroom. The guest bedroom in David Bowie's house in the Grenadines is no exception. Notice the subtle pattern of the palm frond silk-screened onto the bed coverings and netting.

Colonial four-poster beds in dark wood are frequently seen adorning many of the bedrooms in the islands, this one from India Hick's home is dressed up with a traditional cotton canopy.

Many island kitchens are clean white with concrete floors. Here, dark mahogany custom cabinets pop against the sleek white walls, while rattan pendant lights, fronds, throw rugs and baskets round off the island theme.

What Caribbean home would be complete without a stellar bar stocked with lots-o-rum? This tiki-centric one, also from a home in the Bahamas, plays up the theme with a local painting and rope clock.

And what island retreat would be complete without a jaw-dropping view like this one? Bowie's home takes in a tranquil view that overlooks Britannia Bay.

(Image credits: House to Home; House to Home; House Beautiful; Veranda; Town & Country via Mark D. Sikes; Architectural Digest ; Veranda; House to Home; House Beautiful; Architectural Digest)