For many, the idea of a vacation conjures images of palm trees, sand, and plenty of sunshine. An island in the middle of a deep blue sea is the dream destination for many landlocked and reality-bound people who spend most of the year waiting for their two weeks of idyllic bliss.
What can you do to enjoy that resort-like environment more frequently? The answer is easy. Plan your outdoor living room to reflect your favorite dream destination. Call in professional help if necessary, but stop denying yourself the opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, and have fun on a more regular basis.
Add a pool: Today’s pools offer endless options, many of which include walk-in entries and sandy beaches. If you already have a view of water beyond, an infinity edge pool blurs the line between the two. Include a swim-up bar for an added resort-like experience.
Build a tiki hut: A poolside tiki hut immediately captures the allure of the islands and is the place everyone wants to hang out because it’s fun, exotic, and screams vacation.
Landscape: You would be amazed at what the right plants can do to evoke a particular ambiance. Palm trees, lush tropical plants with big, broad leaves, vibrant colors, and climbing florals are a part of the natural beauty of the islands we dream about. If you are in a region where these will not over-winter, consult with a nursery or landscape designer for options, such as movable pots, hardy varieties, or similar-looking substitutes.
Furniture: Buy your outdoor furniture with comfort in mind but make sure that the style fits in with your chosen island theme. Maintain a light and airy look by choosing frames that are open and not heavy in scale. Bamboo and rattan are popular materials in far-off exotic islands but not practical choices for long-lasting outdoor furniture. However, metal frames which simulate either of these two natural materials will provide the essence of island style while providing you with a long-lasting investment. Teak and all-weather wicker suit this style objective, as well.
Color: Island colors are bright, intense, and saturated. Often, colors tend to look washed out in strong sunlight. Use stronger hues to combat the faded look and to empower your fun side to shine through. If bright colors are not for you, go with calming neutrals (think light and white) and accent with bright colors here and there.
Pattern: Choosing patterns for your backyard island getaway probably means thinking outside your living room box. Refrain from using patterns which are traditional or old-fashioned. Think of those patterns which reflect life on an island in the middle of the ocean. Large leafy prints and bright florals which depict the flora and fauna of the native habitat are the way to go. Shells, sea life, and quirky patterns depicting island life will add to the ambiance and transport you into your dream world. Of course, stripes, solids, and geometrics may be used, as well. Stripes should be bold and geometrics quirky. Remember, island time is unregulated and everything is carefree. Too many straight lines and rigid patterns are uptight and lean toward formality. Island design is about fluidity, slow motion, and a meandering path to your destination.
Lastly, creating an island getaway at home must include being able to remove yourself from the nagging and niggling thoughts of being connected to the entire world. Leave the electronic devices inside. Read an old-fashioned book. Take off your watch. Invest in comfortable, cool, and casual clothes that make you think vacation. Set the tone and allow your mind to let go and adapt to your new-found island time. You’ll find the time in between those real island vacations is getting shorter and shorter.