The southernmost point in the U.S., Key West is famous for lively nightlife, historic sites, snorkeling, pastel-tinted architecture, and nightly sunset celebrations. Downtown hosts an energetic strip of shops, bars, and cafes which are famous for being a favorite hangout of novelist Ernest Hemingway.
Key West style is born from a combination of the island’s Bahamanian immigrants and British Colonial influences. The overarching tropical style is laid-back and carefree, similar to a beach cottage style with a few additional nuances. Key West home exteriors are painted in pastel colors, topped metal roofs (hurricane protection), have classic white trim moldings, a prominent front porch, and lush gardens all surrounded by white picket fences.
This coastal chic tropical decor evokes the casual living and beach-side feel inspired by the Sunshine State. To bring the vibe of this Caribbean-inspired city into your home, follow along and discover how to easily produce a feeling of casual, breezy seaside living without overdoing it on kitschy seaside paraphernalia. The vibe is a mixture of Old Town Colonial surrounded by a tropical beach party.
Decorating with Key West flair means:
- Bahama shutters
- Bright colors
- Comfortable, eclectic furnishings (think painted reclaimed furniture)
- Lush tropical plants (real or faux palm fronds)
- Nature-inspired easy-care fabric
- Rich textures
- Seaside accessories: mounted fish, conch shells, posters, bright wall art
- Whimsical touches
- Woven ceiling fans (indoors or covered porch)
The color palette of the Key West style is absolutely inspired by the coastal seaside and natural surroundings of this tropical area. Choosing the right colors will instantly transport you into the relaxed, coastal environment where the ocean, the sand, the sky, and the surrounding flora are imbued in the home decor.
- Blues and aquas that reflect the sea.
- Citrus color pops brighten the look.
- Greens shades taken from sea kelp and beach grass.
- Neutrals of weathered gray of driftwood, warm soft sands.
- Primary colors of red, yellow, and blue taken directly from parrots and other tropical elements.
- Whites in soft shades reminiscent of sand dollars and sailboat canvas.
Light & Windows
Lighting used in a Key West style home mostly comes directly from the sun which is in abundance in this far southern region of the country. Key West decor celebrates beautiful views and tons of natural light.
- Window treatments are airy, simple, and light.
- Natural-material shades.
- Going for a casual, beachside feel.
- Bahama shutters are a popular style and offer relief from the strong sun when needed. These crank-out shutters provide shade like awnings while allowing ventilation. They are a distinctive architectural element of the Keys.
Ceiling fans in every room in a Florida home is just about mandatory, helping to circulate the hot, humid air while keeping the electricity bill down. Fans with blades that imitate the look of palm fronds are a stylish choice, often coming in a woven bamboo textured look.
Casual style highlights furniture made with natural materials and fibers that work to create Florida-style furniture that is comfortable. Look for simple crisp, clean, and light lines. An addition of hand-painted, distressed accent pieces adds character to the style as well. Look for furniture pieces made of:
- Rattan latticework
Textured natural materials for furniture accents in:
- Knotted wool
- Sea Seagrass
Furniture: British Colonial Style
The British took over the Florida Keys from Spain in the late 1700s. The furniture style that came with the British was lightweight and small in size. Some examples include:
- Bamboo headboards
- Chests of drawers
- Folding chairs
If your Key West interior paint color leans towards the lighter shades, such as white-washed walls, and light wood or light-colored tiled floors, then a few darker wood furniture pieces can add some contrasting balance to the space.
Key West home decor style looks for accent furnishings of:
- Chests- in distressed wood, or wicker
- Coffee tables
- Lamps- in clear glass or modern vintage styles
- Side tables
- Trunks- in bamboo, rattan, or dark wood
Key West style decor is heavy on the accents in every room of the home. The goal is to find pieces that mimic the surroundings of the beach life and all the related natural elements of the area.
- Accessories from the sea
- Art prints depicting sea life
- Large statement shells
- Pieces of coral
- Small seashells in glass bowls
Using the same guidelines for paint color and furniture stylings, there are a couple of additional accents to include to make your bedroom feel Key West style:
- Gauzy white fabric canopies over the bed.
- Coral, turquoise, and other tropical pastel colors.
- Live green plants.
- Linens with a subtle tropical flora print.
For a breezy, coastal design, add some rustic wooden furniture pieces, nothing too heavy, and some of the following ideas.
- Accent pillows in bright, colorful shades.
- Lightweight sheer curtains for an open, airy feeling.
- Woven fiber throw rugs.
- Coffee table and side tables with open legs to continue that airy feeling.
- Mirrors to enlarge the space and keep it bright.
The bathroom design of the Key West style homes feels like a seaside oasis. Some of the details to get this style include:
- Louvered shutters for filtered sunlight and privacy.
- Tiled backsplashes and floors.
Costal Key West Kitchens
A blend of modern and vintage makes up the Key West kitchen look. Make it happen by bringing in:
- Tiled backsplash
- Shell pendant light fixtures
- Hardwood floors
- All white cabinets
- Reclaimed wood and seashore accents
- Area set apart for a breakfast nook
Front porches in Key West are an important part of the home. The vibe is one of relaxation. This chill look can be established by adding any of the following elements:
- Lush greenery
- Rainbow pride LGBTQ representation
- Wicker sitting chairs or rocking chairs
Outdoor living and dining spaces are important to Key West homes as they get to enjoy the outdoor weather year-round.
- Hardy outdoor furniture
- Lots of potted flowers and plants
- Tropical colored accents
Key West style is all about Caribbean-tropical carefree beach life and a small-town vibe. Bringing a bit of this island time into your life all year is easy with some of the outlined techniques discussed above. Remember, the tip to successful decorating is to use what you love thus ending up with a space that brings you joy.
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