My affinity for Palm Beach runs deep. I have returned year after year to this pink-and-green palm land since I was born. A childhood spent visiting my grandmother and having our own home in Palm Beach made it a family destination where we escaped the cold and spent time with loved ones. As I grew up and moved around, I always anticipate returning to this magical barrier island full of pink stucco, green palms, and blue waters. Palm Beach evolved from colorful natural surroundings and proximity to the Southern Hemisphere to inspire Spanish style architecture and preppy color schemes.
I can’t help but think that some of the penchants for color and pattern that I imbue into interiors projects is influenced by this special destination that has always been a part of me. When I travel there to visit my parents who have been wintering there for many years, I’m always taken away by my surroundings. As I leave behind the bleak Iowa landscape and disembark a flight, I soak in the vivid colors of the vegetation, interior design, and architecture just as I do with the intense sun that beams down from Florida’s azure skies to heat my soul.
I’m always thrilled to take on a project in Palm Beach because it allows me to stretch my design wings with little moments of flair that might not always work in other areas of the country. Here, I’m sharing with you, my suggestions for pumping a little (or a lot) of Palm Beach style into your own space. Keep in mind, overall, when in doubt, Palm Beach is all about whimsy and fun.
A Bit of Bamboo
Bamboo may be relatively new to the crowd that celebrates what’s environmentally chic, but it’s an old-school favorite in Palm Beach interiors.
Raffia in its natural form recalls the hues of nearby beaches. A pair of slipper chairs with edges scalloped like a seashell wear pretty, coral-pink cushions.
Palm Beach isn’t the spot for garish, gold-and-silver furniture finishes. Painted coatings either satin finish or lacquered play an important role in the kaleidoscope of hues that keeps Palm Beach interiors spirited and perky.
Birds of All Kinds
Florida offers a colorful palette of fauna: egrets, parrots in the most vivid brights, pink flamingos, and white swans. Invite all of them inside to add an animal kick to the environment.
Coral naturally provides a graphic motif. Try it in an unexpected coloration, such as the blue-and-white print I used here as a valance and curtain panels. It puts an oceanic spin on an awning- like window covering.
Push for Parrots
Jimmy Buffet would be delighted. The tropics’ colorful creatures capture attention in any form. Here, I’ve added a vintage ceramic object that’s ready to participate in conversation.
Fun with Fretwork
Palm Beach is all about open-air living to enjoy the tropical air, and the decoration nods to that. This etagere with fretwork details offers light and airy perches for favorite things.
Palm Beach is meant for relaxing, and that means a dismissal of anything that’s too buttoned up. Palm trees bring the outdoors in. I adore this pair of lime green candlesticks to lighten the scene of a dining table.
Whimsy isn’t reserved just for accessories. Furniture, too, should offer the type of personality that’s more merry and amusing than proper and stuffy. Bamboo chairs are a classic addition to the Palm Beach vernacular and are readily available from many brands today.
Architectural details in Palm Beach aren’t just crown moldings and millwork. My dedication to layered design pushes me to clad walls (and ceilings) in trellis. It creates wonderful order, texture, and hints to the well-manicured gardens outside.
Light and Bright
Paint it white. Splash the simplest color to uplift the sunlight that streams through Florida windows. Lighting fixtures like this overhead beauty look ultra-fresh in white.
Air it Out
I’ll take any chance I can to use pieces with some sort of openwork. A shapely pair of chartreuse-color ceramic stools filters light, air, and makes the intensity of the color less heavy.