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Decorating Outdoors

In contrast to many tropical locales that display patio furniture in pinks and purples, the trend in outdoor decorating in the BVI is to create comfortable, liveable outdoor spaces in colour palettes that don’t compete with the surrounding vistas.

One option for this type of unobtrusive design for homeowners or decorators who still want to incorporate colour into their outdoor furnishings is to choose a palette plucked from the scenery.

I spoke with Jim Wood, one of the owners of Villa Aja, a luxury rental villa above Trunk Bay, about his choices. “Thematically, we wanted a combination of modern contemporary and durability that tied all the outdoor elements together—the ocean and the hills. We wanted vibrant but not the coral-like pastels you might see in Miami,” Jim said. He chose synthetic rattan furniture from Arawak in modern shapes with cushions in blues, greens and sandy golds. When I visited the protruding decks at Villa Aja, I felt like I could step right into the postcard views, and I had to force myself to concentrate on the furniture instead of staring at the azure sea that appeared to be dotted with bits of broken, green beach glass—the distant islands.


For those homeowners who want to avoid bright colours altogether, another option is utilizing a neutral palette or earth tones to blend into the background, so as not to detract at all from the natural beauty. Though available in shades of magenta and lime, the synthetic furniture colours that Arawak most frequently sells are shades of brown, slate and tan. While the owners of Villa Aja used an island palette for their cushions, the furniture itself is deep brown. “We wanted wood-looking colours,” Jim said. “The darker furniture outside aligned with the darker furniture in the house.” For me, the lack of colour in the outdoor furniture on my porch encourages me to focus on the sunlight slanting through the coconut palms and the tree-covered hills, not my table and chairs.

Another factor to consider when designing for outdoor living is creating a balanced setting that functions for socializing as well as relaxing. Of the pieces he ordered from Arawak, Jim said, “We wanted furniture that was comfortable and durable.” He added, “The aluminum frames won’t rust which is conducive to outdoor living. Also, the pieces are modular, so they can be rearranged as needed.”

Villa Aja and Arawak worked together to create inviting outdoor living spaces that have their own charm while not competing with the stunning views of Trunk Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and all the islands in between.  

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