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Create a Caribbean paradise at your home

Imagine it now, that wonderful feeling of being in a tropical paradise, surrounded by palm trees, sea and sand, sipping a Calypso cocktail and letting the world pass you by.

Even if you can't afford an all-expenses trip to the West Indies, you can at least daydream in the right surroundings.

Hot colours and rich textures are the hallmark of Caribbean style, and bringing them into your home gives a rich, warm feeling almost as good as being there for real!

First of all - the perfect accessory for any Caribbean style room is of course a hammock. Not only will this look great in your room but it's also perfect for lazing in the garden on a sunny afternoon. To brighten up a plain hammock Caribbean style, why not try adding a brightly coloured beaded trim to it?

Jazz it up some more with some brightly coloured cushions. You could make these yourself or buy them ready made. Not only do these add much needed colour but they also provide some extra comfort for relaxing.

Colourwise, use colour and texture to evoke images of sundrenched landscapes. A mixture of hot pinks and sunburnt yellows capture the heat of midday, while emerald greens and bright oranges suggest the flora of a tropical island.

A great way to get colour into the room is to sand down a few old chairs and freshen them up with a lick of brightly coloured paint, applying a coat of matt varnish to finish them off. Don't forget to add some bright cushions for the ultimate Caribbean comfort, and drape a folded blanket over the back of the chairs.

The flooring is always worth considering, and a Caribbean floor requires a fairly rugged look. Pull up any carpet and sand down the boards. Paint over them with a pale white wood wash and put rush mats down.

Furniture faded by the sun has a unique appeal. Even if you want a really aged effect on wood, use brightly coloured paints, contrasting the base and top coat, and sand back the surface using heavy-duty sandpaper.

For the walls, throw away any modern ideas of wallpaper. Paint your walls in a light and airy colour - yellow often looks good in a Caribbean style room and works well with the bright and bold colours within. Decorate the walls with bright coloured paintings, or bright fabric pulled tight over a wooden frame.

Plants are obviously important, so put some potted palms into the corner of the room to create a really tropical effect. For the windows, either hang some faded lace across them or put up wooden shutters.

Place a reclining chair or a garden chair near the window. You'll be able to sit there year round and enjoy the view outside.

When we think of the Caribbean, something that springs to mind are steel drums. Recreate the feel using assorted tin cans to make some planters to fill with lush, green foliage.

Simply remove any labels from the tin, remove the top with a can opener and file down any sharp edges. Using a hammer and a large, blunted screw (you can blunt the screw with the hammer) gently beat an irregular pattern of dents all around the outside of the can. Hey presto! There you have a steel drum planter!

Use brightly coloured China and simple wooden bowls to create that tropical dining feel. To complete the look, decorate the table casually with table runners decorated with bamboo.

Another simple idea for decoration is coconut candle holders. These are made by cutting a coconut in half, draining out the milk, filling each half with water and using it to float candles in. These look great inside, but can also be used in the garden.

Don't forget the fruit! Exotic fruit adds the finishing touch to the room, and tastes great as well. Pineapples are an absolute must, and fruit piled high in large, brightly coloured bowl will make your room look as stunning and welcoming as any Caribbean hotel!

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