Thinking of a quarantine renovation? Tropical-bohemian look may be the design you’re looking for

Published August 5, 2020, 3:35 AM

by Johannes Chua

The news these days is bleak. The lockdown may stretch until the end of the year, or until a vaccine is approved. Face masks or face shields can keep us safe, but nothing is safer than being cooped up in one’s own home, away from risks and shielded from the virus.

As you’ve been cocooned at home for a long time now, it is possible you are now fed up with its design. There are days that you feel it is “inadequate” and you try to fix some things, rearrange furniture, or add some décor to enhance the space. But it seems it is not enough. You feel you need an entirely new look, one that could lift your spirits in the doom and gloom of the season.

“Major renovations may not yet be encouraged at this time, but it doesn’t mean you can’t imagine design inspirations you could turn into reality once the pandemic subsides,” says Kath Igonigon, principal architect and founder of Arkide Design and Interiors.

Her company, Kath says, has also been affected by the pandemic, but it has been able to adapt by meeting clients online and by ensuring that their team observes health protocols when visiting project sites.

One of the projects that the company has recently finished is a tropical-bohemian themed interior. This design, Kath says, is ideal during this time as the tropical aspect means it “promotes good air circulation throughout the entire house.”

“We need good ventilation to reduce indoor air pollutants that cause allergies, asthma, sinusitis, etc. Hence, this design promotes fresher takes on healthier indoors,” says Kath. “A good example of tropical design is cross ventilation, which allows air to move freely. This will give homeowners a more comfortable and relaxing space. Good air quality improves mood and wellbeing.”

The bohemian part of the design can be seen in the use of vibrant colors, earthy tones, and mix of different patterns and textures.

“Bohemian design, more popularly known as boho chic, is very unique. It is about incorporating different elements that can co-exist. The most challenging part here is that not all elements are ‘blendable’ because there are certain colors, patterns, and textures that don’t mix well with others. How you match different elements is what gives a space its sense of unique individuality,” she explains.

RICH DETAILS A handcarved TV console cabinet complements the patterned carpet

In the project that she has designed, the initial look may be very busy and disorganized because of the different elements mixed together. Upon closer inspection, however, the whole space still ends up looking inviting, welcoming, and “joyful” to eyes of the owner and their guests.

“I used more orange and yellow on the design because, according to psychology, vibrant colors set our mind to feel excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth.”

TIP: Nature plays a role in the design

It can’t be a tropical-boho vibe without the greens.

  • Indoor plants create a relaxing environment that increases productivity and helps improve the mood of the dweller.
  • Having plants indoors also purifies the air and removes toxins, and that is what makes this tropical design a healthy and sustainable living space.
  • Adding plants doesn’t just add color, it also makes your home homier.
GREEN PARADISE In any interior, having indoor plants is beneficial

Furniture has character

“When we started designing this tropical-bohemian space, we looked ‘outside the box’—it should be eccentric, full of free-form shapes, patterned or random. We chose the furniture by each wood’s color to still keep everything synched together,” says Kath. 

The final look of the place features furniture of different compositions, designs, heights, and textures that still jive together even if it makes the space look eclectic. This is deliberate, Kath says, as she wants the place to convey different stories. Each piece of furniture is unique.

MIX AND MATCH The free-form shape of the vintage chairs blend well with the modern sofa

“One advantage of the boho look is that it can be a mix of old and new. Vintage pieces could be placed together with modern items and vice versa.”

This is seen in the space as there are two blue vintage chairs that go together with the modern sofa. The chair’s free-form shape blends well with the carpet’s pattern, while the cushion’s texture and the color of the sofa add a lot of personality to the house.

Tropical-boho design also uses plenty of natural materials or nature-inspired colors and elements.

“This gave me an idea of using rattan droplights that come in a variety of shapes and styles to showcase its natural material,” explains Kath, who has also turned a handcarved television console cabinet in the living room into an accent piece that complements the patterned carpet.

Design brings life

Kath’s passion in designing spaces is anchored on understanding the needs of clients and what suits them best.  The tropical-boho look, she explains, may not be for everyone. But it doesn’t mean that a homeowner can’t get some inspiration from this design.

“This design may apply to certain people like travelers or artists who love an unpredictable and unconventional space, where anyone can be different and create their own personal style,” she says. “But anyone can take advantage of this design because of its homey vibe.”