Large plants with impact are needed with the heavy dark furniture and ornate fabrics so typical of this style of interior design. Go for outsize palms and large-leaved tropical houseplants, particularly philodendrons. There are many different palm species available that work well indoors, including Chamaerops, Areca and Rhapis. Look for brass planters, wooden tubs and handmade pottery containers.
Using plants to achieve the look
Get collecting – Many of us travel much more these days and it can be great fun to collect items which will, once we’re back home, serve to remind us of far-flung places. So, add to your suitcase any exotic pots, planters or ornaments and display them at home for a distinctly ethnic chic.
Totally tropical taste – Choosing plants from the far corners of the world can lend a room a feeling of the tropics. Look for statement-making ferns, exotic Birds of Paradise plants, Bromeliads and Philodendrons.
Dark matters – Dark and earthy colours are the key. Paint shades like terracotta, deep reds and brown will give your room a very ethnic look. This is relevant to your choice of plants and flowers too.
Natural planters – Ethnic chic has little time for man-made materials, the principal exception being brass with its echoes of colonial outposts. Think instead of planters and vases that convey a feeling of the natural world. Wooden masks and sculptures, too, can add to the sense of exotica.
Plants and flowers to consider
- Philodendrons – These have great ornamental foliage that lends itself well to the ethnic trend.
- Aloe harlana – These lovely, hardy plants are native to South Africa and their dark green leaves work brilliantly with pots made from natural materials such as wood.
- Bird of Paradise – This tropical plant also hails from South Africa and it’s kept for it’s beautiful ornamental flowers. If you want a bit of colour in your home then this is perfect.
- Cordyline – These lovely plants can really enhance the interior of your home/ Their leaves are usually brown or dark red.
- Anthurium – These striking plants look great as a focal point in a room and they come in a number of shades to fit with your colour scheme
Go for the real thing – it’s easy to find Fairtrade vases and planters that were made in Africa. Look online for website that sell Fairtrade furniture and homewares as most of these have pieces that reflect the style of the country in which they were made.