Botanical design trends:bring summer indoors with big, brash tropical and jungle-themed motifs

Unpredictable as ever, this British summer at least has a trend for splashy, large-scale botanical prints to lift our spirits when the sun disappears. 

Just as fashion this season favours big, brash tropical motifs, wallpapers, fabrics and even kitchen splashbacks come emblazoned with hothouse specimens, from glossy palm leaves to bird of paradise blooms.

These exuberant motifs often have a retro feel — think Forties Hawaii or Seventies Miami. Such bold prints are not for the faint-hearted, but on smaller items they needn’t feel overpowering.

Nor are they all tropical. They can also evoke an English garden. “Botanical prints create an urban oasis or indoor garden that celebrates nature’s beauty,” says Frieda Gormley, co-founder of interiors brand House of Hackney, which arguably trailblazed the trend for distinctly British, large-scale botanical designs with such popular wallpapers as Palmeral — a busy Edwardian palm pattern — and Castanea, with a chalky pink horse chestnut flower print.

Artists have had an influence, too. Tate Modern’s current retrospective of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, famous for her paintings of magnified flowers, chimes with the trend. And French Post-Impressionist Henri Rousseau, known for jungle-themed paintings, has helped inspire the craze.

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Splash of colour: bespoke painted Spey bath, for price contact Drummonds

Contemporary artist Annie Millar has been commissioned by Olivia Gregory, a stylist for bathroom brand Drummonds, to paint its Spey bath with a Rousseau-esque jungle scene. Little Greene’s Reverie Jungle wallpaper, designed in 1971, also channels Rousseau’s stylised jungles.

Laura Hamilton’s Bird in the Hand linen textiles for Redloh House Fabrics are inspired by memories of her childhood home in Jamaica, decorated with “bright Seventies fabrics that captured the spirit of the Caribbean”.

Caribbean culture is also conjured up by Delcor’s Metro armchair, upholstered in Christian Lacroix Caribe Perroquet fabric, digitally printed with ferns and butterflies. And Cappellini’s Juli Jubilee chair is patterned with joyously colourful fuchsia and hibiscus blossoms.

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Tropical print: Palms cushions, £45 each at Bird in the Hand 

More affordable jungle-themed items range from cushions to bedlinen. Kai’s Paradise cushions feature hummingbirds and orchids, while Evans Lichfield’s retro-looking cushions have palm and Swiss cheese plant leaves.

Fest Amsterdam’s cushion, from A Splash of Colour, is also printed with cheese plant leaves, while Fanny Shorter’s passionflower motif cushions come in lime green and turquoise. Thanda’s banana leaf-print cushion is sepia brown and H&M Home’s palm-print cushion is black and white. John Lewis’s Kas duvet covers teem with toucans.

Bridging the gap between British botanicals and their tropical counterparts is Liberty’s Chinoiserie-influenced Patricia Anne wallpaper in fiery pink and tangerine. Rapture & Wright’s Cloud Garden wallpaper and fabric has a print of tufted vetch in mint green and sugared-almond pink, while full-blown, blown-up foxgloves, hydrangeas and sweet peas adorn designer Emma Britton’s decorative glass splashbacks.


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