Caribbean Style. History and design ideas, tips and inspirations for this classic architectural design style.          

Caribbean Style

The Caribbean is a lively array of cultures, set like jewels in a landscape of white beaches, blue mountains and emerald jungle. Along with steel drums, relaxed island culture, and cuisine both spicy and sweet, the charm and vibrancy of Caribbean design make an indelible impression.

Caribbean Style interior design

You take in pastel-hued colonial buildings, arcades, wooden balconies, and interior courtyards. In Barbados, you come across Georgian townhouses built of coral limestone cut from ancient sea cliffs. Candy-colored, Dutch-gabled facades jostle each other along the narrow streets of Curacao. In Montego Bay, brightly painted cottages surround a cobblestoned town square -- the perfect place to take refuge from the tropical sun with a tall, cool drink. While many of the basic forms are European -- Dutch, Jacobean, Spanish baroque -- the colors are as vivid as the natural landscape. Houses in shades of mango, lime and dazzling whitewash glow alongside jewel-toned orchids and clear blue ocean. Perfectly manicured green lawns give way to pure white sands.

Caribbean Style interior

Caribbean design reassembles diverse indigenous, African and European elements to suit a tropical environment. Steep gabled roofs and low facades deflect powerful tradewinds. Gingerbread fretwork, wide verandas, and shuttered windows shade interiors from the island sun. Materials like coral and palms come from the local landscape; the region's history as a crossroads adds ballast bricks from colonial ships, hardwoods and corrugated tin.

Simplicity with a touch of colonial elegance provide the foundation for a Caribbean style room. Furniture in white wicker, of course, and mahogany. Floors of natural tile or hardwood, and walls in bright white or tropical color. Shutters (if possible, on three-part jalousie windows) and ceiling fans are a necessity -- as are white linens and a mojito at your elbow...

Color Essentials

Caribbean Style color ideas
Mixing with Color.

Create custom color schemes and color effects in your home or office. Learn how to use the best base color, create a glaze, mixing colors, and more. Using color at home or in the office - for paintings, furniture or any artistic challenge - takes a good eye, a little know how, and a creative imagination.


Elements of Caribbean Style


Colorful table cloths with images of regional items such as fruits, hibiscus flowers and sea life. Light weight, sheer cotton, blowing lazily in the wind, hang from most windows. Colorful batique fabrics are worn as sarongs and accents to island dress.

Caribbean flowers

Caribbean interiora


Lime washed walls, and strong color over stucco wall surfaces. Indigenous woods are used as paneling for the more stately colonial homes. Contrasting colors, such as blues and coral tones, accent trim and window surrounds.


Rough, bleached pine floors are covered with sisal carpets or cotton rag floor throws. Tile and stone are common choices, easily cleaned with a bucket of water and an aggressive mopping.

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