Havana Fever: 7 Tips for Colorful Cuban Decor
With eased travel restrictions, more and more Americans are getting excited about discovering Cuba. As a result, nostalgic and eclectic Cuban décor is making its way stateside. If you love the fun, whimsical look of Cuban culture, here are 7 ways to bring Old Havana flavor home.
Rich, Vivid Color
From cars to fashion to buildings and street art, nothing says Cuba like rich, vivid color. Cuban colors aren’t bright, primary school colors, and they’re not the pastel blues and greens of the rest of the Caribbean. The Cuban color palette showcases pure pigments and deep, saturated hues, liberally applied to large spaces. If you want to bring Cuba home, this is not the time to accessorize with color; this is the time to forget neutrals even exist.
Cuban décor requires plenty of leafy, tropical plants in terra cotta pots. Go for Amazon elephant ear, bright croton, dumb cane, bromeliads, Philodendron, Sago, Arca, or Majesty palm and ferns. These plants do well as indoor houseplants, and many do just fine on patios in mild climates. The key to making a dramatic Cuban-style effect with houseplants is to buy them large and in volume.
In Cuba, colorful patterned cement tiles take the place of expensive, precious marble or ceramic tiles. These eclectic tiles take the place of patterned rugs, making your space cleaner and easier to maintain. They’re also virtually indestructible and are great for floors, walls, showers, entries, and patios. These environmentally friendly tiles are made by creating a group of four at once. Individual tiles are then rotated by 90 degrees so they make one design unit. When laid side by side, the tiles make an interlocking pattern over large areas.
Raw art, also known as Outsider Art, is art made by self-taught artists with whatever materials are on hand. Cuba is known for brightly colored, whimsical street art depicting daily life, nature and animals. Pure self-expression is the goal, not a mastery of technique. In fact, even though the architecture in Cuba is crumbling, thanks to raw artists, you can venture inside Cuban restaurants, hotels or nightclubs, and discover an entirely different, funky world. The best part about raw art is that you can make your own.
Bright Colored Trim
Cuban style turns all the design rules inside out. Instead of colored walls and bright trim, you can keep your white walls and paint doors and trim vivid indigo, cobalt or palm green.
Speaking of bright colors, no Cuban-inspired décor is complete without the addition of hot pink. Anchor your color story with bold pink accents in fabric or art, or go whole-hog and give your entire room a coat of hot pink paint.
Trade with Cuba stopped in 1960, which is why the streets of Havana are crowded with beautiful 1950s cars. Look for vintage 1950s advertising posters, car photos, and license plates to bring an authentic vibe to your Cuban décor.
If you’ve fallen in love with Cuban style, the good news is it’s a wonderfully adaptive and easy style to replicate. Introduce bright colors, natural materials, plenty of greenery and whimsical art, make yourself a mojito and turn up the salsa music, and you can enjoy sultry Havana nights without leaving home.