Table of Contents
The coastal town of Palm Beach, Florida, is famous for its sunny weather and high-priced real estate. But it’s also renowned for a legendary fashion style that started in the 1960s when designer Lily Pulitzer’s sleeveless cotton dresses ignited a Palm Beach fashion craze. “Think Jackie O in a floral print shift dress, colorful Pucci headscarf, and Jack Rogers sandals,” says Amanda Lindroth, owner and founder of Amanda Lindroth Design.
It wasn’t long before Palm Beach fashion soon spilled over into South Florida homes with a decor style that was equally as energetic. “When it comes to interior design, Palm Beach style is popular because its signature characteristics—vibrant color palettes paired with bold patterns and tropical accents—inspire pure happiness,” says Gil Walsh, a principal at Gil Walsh Interiors.
Today, the style continues to evolve, with top designers pushing color boundaries, embracing textures, and blending modern and antique influences. Ahead, a few share how you can incorporate fresh Palm Beach style in your own home.
21 Ways to Decorate with Palm Beach Style
1. Be Creative with Color
Although Palm Beach style is known for its use of tropical colors like turquoise, lime green, and lemon yellow, there are softer shades—like pale pink, blue-gray, sand, and ivory—that allow homeowners to stay true to the aesthetic. “I love a blue on blue, a blue and white, along with a coral on purple moment,” says Walsh. “Grayed-down colors, nontraditional Palm Beach colors, are actually highly sophisticated and work well as background colors.”
“I prefer to lean into softer and more neutral tones—subtle variations of traditional Palm Beach colors that inspire a calming and serene atmosphere,” says Angela Reynolds, owner and lead designer at Angela Reynolds Designs. “Colors like blush pink, sandy taupe, sage green, and a cool-toned sky blue.”
2. Embrace Natural Textures
Incorporating woven textures, natural woods, and organic elements can help create a more relaxed coastal vibe. “Materials like wicker and rattan have always been synonymous with Palm Beach style,” says Sasha Bikoff, president of Sasha Bikoff Interior Design. “Because they’re lightweight and breezy, they can be used both indoors and out, as they blend in well with either environment.”
Grass cloth and burlap are two more hallmark Palm Beach textures. “I like to apply these materials to the fifth wall—the ceiling—to add personality to a room,” says Walsh.
“And then, of course, there’s caning and bamboo,” adds Reynolds, who likes to apply bamboo to bar carts and headboards to add texture.
3. Include Quintessential Motifs
From palm fronds to pineapples, flamingos to conch shells, nature-inspired motifs all contribute Palm Beach charm. “These motifs add a touch of whimsy and personality to a space but can seem cliché or kitschy if overused. It’s important to apply them in a sophisticated, subtle, and unexpected way,” says Reynolds. “For example, I’ve worked with Christa’s South Seashells to create beautiful custom consoles adorned with shells that feel fresh and modern and often use oversized clam shells filled with orchids, greenery, and protea flowers. I’ll even purchase live pineapple plants (often from Home Depot) as a green accessory.”
4. Consider Coastal Elements
Classic Palm Beach style creates a sense of place by pulling elements from the coastline of Florida, including coral, shells, lily flowers, and palms. “Palm Beach, the town, is nestled beside the ocean so the use of these accents feels authentic and appropriate,” says Mimi McMakin, the founder and designer at Kemble Interiors.
“I always strive for a more sophisticated and curated approach when bringing the essence of the sea into a space,” says Reynolds, who likes to feature oversized coral sculptures on Lucite stands. “It’s a subtle coastal accent that looks great on a coffee table book, on a console table, or some shelves,” she says. “I also often layer in subtle nods like live sprouted coconut arrangements.”
5. Wrap Walls in Wallpaper
Textured wallpapers and those with prints that include images of palms, florals, and stripes are all reflective of Palm Beach style. “Grass cloth and burlap soften up a room and provide textural layers without overwhelming the overall design,” says Walsh. Reynolds’ go-to wallcovering is also grass cloth. “It’s the perfect neutral backdrop with a subtle finish, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of Palm Beach designs and color palettes. I also like to paper-back fabrics like Schumacher’s Grand Palms to add both warmth and acoustical padding to a room,” she says.
As for patterns, Lindroth loves a good trellis wallpaper while Owens leans towards Greek key patterns. “With Palm Beach style, you can go geometric, solid, or nature-inspired,” says Bikoff.
McMakin loves Celerie Kemble for Schumacher, especially the tortoise print, which “looks amazing in a butler’s pantry or wet bar.” Both Gucci’s oversized heron print wallpaper or Pierre Frey’s Poseidon wallpaper are unique in color and in scale and add over-the-top drama to a powder room, says Reynolds.
6. Say Yes to Animal Prints
Palm Beach style is playful by nature, and adding a leopard, cheetah, or zebra print accent is one way to enhance this sentiment. “I prefer applying animal prints on smaller pieces, like a throw pillow or stool,” says Roxy Owens, founder of Society Social, who designed a furniture capsule collection in collaboration with the iconic Palm Beach hotel, The Colony Hotel. “If you’re looking to make a larger statement, opt for an animal print rug or a leopard print fabric on a chair.”
7. Incorporate Antique Items
“A Palm Beach home should be well-collected, with a mix of modern furnishings and vintage accents,” says Owens. “Whether you’re featuring a small chinoiserie vase or a porcelain pagoda, these pieces add a sense of history and character to a home.”
“I love sourcing vintage pieces to add layers to a contemporary design,” adds Walsh. “With my clients, I often see pieces from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries being handed down through generations, from Italian to French to Art Deco, including rugs, tables, upholstery, and tabletop accessories.”
8. Play Up Glamour
Regency style plus Hollywood glamour are two looks often associated with Palm Beach style—think lacquered furniture, glitzy chandeliers, and sumptuous silks and velvets. “Carlton Varney, known for his bold use of color and patterns, was one of the first interior designers to merge these two styles,” says Reynolds. “He combined classic Palm Beach elements such as chinoiserie prints and bamboo with Hollywood and regency accents like lacquer tables and gold details to create a sense of opulence and elegance that’s both approachable and stylish.”
9. Pick a Pattern
Stripes, florals, and chintz patterns all define Palm Beach style. “I tend to favor geometric designs that are soft and not overly bold or contrasting, ones that add interest to a space without being overwhelming,” says Reynolds. “I also appreciate tropical patterns that have a muted, watercolor-like effect as they create a feeling of calm while adding a touch of whimsy.”
10. Roll Out Rugs
In Palm Beach-style spaces, rugs tend to be durable and eco-friendly, with a natural texture that adds warmth and depth. “By using neutral-colored rugs with simple patterns, you can create beautiful and functional interiors that capture the essence of Palm Beach style in a way that’s both sophisticated and accessible,” says Reynolds. “Consider fibers like seagrass and sisal or organic wool and silk rugs with an earthy vibe, like ones from Ashley Stark’s line that feature unique cut piles.”
11. Make It About Mirrors
When it comes to mirrors, the goal is to add depth and interest to a Palm Beach style space while reflecting the natural beauty of the environment. “Overall, mirrors should be tailored and elegant, clean and simple, but I’m not opposed to occasionally using one with a strong design element to add interest to a room,” shares Reynolds. “A Chippendale-style mirror in any color lacquer would be the obvious choice while some of my other favorite Palm Beach styled mirrors include those made with woven raffia, driftwood, and acrylic, which can promote a streamlined and contemporary feel.”
12. Go with Green
Greenery is an essential part of realizing the Palm Beach aesthetic, whether palms, ferns, orchids, tropical plants, or bougainvillea. “Greenery creates a natural and organic feel in any Palm Beach-inspired room,” says Reynolds. “By introducing these plants and flowers, you can create a tropical feel while bringing the outdoors in.”
“A dining table lined in palms cut from the garden or one that has votives placed on top of fronds are a few ways I like to beautify a table,” says McMakin. Walsh likes to bring in fresh greenery to create centerpieces, while Bikoff places houseplants in Palm Beach-style stucco planters adorned with shells.
13. Top It with a Trellis
“I love a trellis for walls or a ceiling, but I prefer the real thing over wallpaper to achieve a three-dimensional effect,” says Reynolds. “By painting the trellis a bright white, you can create a crisp and clean backdrop for your favorite decor elements to pop against. Whether you choose a classic diamond lattice pattern or a more intricate design, the trellis can become a stunning focal point that draws the eye upward and adds a sense of perspective to the room, making it appear larger and more spacious.”
14. Look to Lighting
Lights that have beads, rattan, and glass epitomize Palm Beach style. “I love using woven chandeliers with shell and glass beads, which promote whimsy and playfulness along with a unique lighting effect. I’m also currently loving plaster lighting, such as Paul Ferrante’s white or gold leaf shell light, as it adds the perfect touch of casual elegance,” says Reynolds. Layering lighting with different fixtures, such as table lamps, sconces, and chandeliers, can add depth and interest to any Palm Beach space.
15. Layer on Lacquer
“Lacquered furniture in bright colors such as jungle green and yellow is literally reflective of Palm Beach style,” says Bikoff, who loves Michele DeLucci’s interpretation of a flamingo in this fun side table. “With lacquered furniture, you’re able to get a glossy clean finish that accentuates the vivid Palm Beach color palette.”
Walsh suggests using lacquer as an intentional accent to bridge traditional and modern design when it comes to things like console tables and the legs of dining room chairs, while Reynolds loves painting ceilings and walls in lacquer. “My favorite white is Sherwin-Williams Snowbound, while Farrow & Ball Skylight is the perfect blue to reflect a Caribbean sky,” she says.
16. Tap Into Tiles
“Perhaps even more so than rugs, I would say tile floors have a place in Palm Beach styled homes, especially when the house is located near the ocean as the tiles are cool on the feet and don’t hold onto sand,” says McMakin. “From hand-painted ceramic tiles on floors, backsplashes, and fireplace surrounds, tiles are easy to install and are a lovely way to create a beautiful garden feeling on the floor of an inside room. The pink, green, and white floral Portuguese tiles on my Palm Beach porch have survived forty years of children, doggies, and roller skates. I also love using 16-inch brown and white tiles for patios—the finished design is chic and complementary to any outdoor furniture.”
17. Consider Window Treatments
Whether fun-shaped valances, dramatic pinch-pleated curtains that kiss the floor, white linen with grosgrain trim, or natural fiber shades, there are no rules when it comes to Palm Beach window treatments. Since oversized windows are often a feature in these homes, some designers prefer not to obstruct the view with heavy drapery. “I like to layer in a woven shade with a stationary linen sheer to frame and soften the view while adding a touch of sophistication to the space,” says Reynolds.
18. Feature Florals
“I often turn to elegant and timeless blooms like calla lilies, white or pink proteas, orchids, and peonies to create a Palm Beach style look,” says Reynolds. “And while gladiolus may have fallen out of fashion, I’m not afraid to buck the trend and use them. And of course, palm trees are a must indoors and out—they’re a classic green that adds a touch of organic texture and tropical flair to any space.”
19. Edit with European Influences
Palm Beach style is unique because it combines relaxed American design, including preppy, nautical, and tropical motifs, with European influences. “Palm Beach style is a fusion of diverse cultures and influences—including casual British Colonial beach design—that have come together in a harmonious, innovative way. Antiques sourced from England, France, and Italy add a touch of formality and break the mold of the typical bright colors and patterns associated with Palm Beach style,” notes Reynolds.
20. Add Colorful Art
Palm Beach art runs the spectrum from traditional to modern. “Whereas bright floral motifs may be a better fit within classic designs, lifestyle photography and quirky, ornate illustrations pair well with more playful transitional looks,” advises Walsh.
While designers love to pay homage to legends such as midcentury artists like Mark Rothko and Frank Stella and poolside photographer Slim Aarons, they’re also looking for new and upcoming artists to feature. “I particularly love woven wall hangings and swoon over the work of artist Jessica Alejandra whose pieces add depth and texture to any space,” says Reynolds, who’s also a fan of artists Alex Katz’s lithographs and Dean West’s cinematic stylized photography.
McMakin has always been an admirer of Orville Bulman, a local Palm Beach artist whose colors were inspired by the Caribbean, but she’s currently loving the work of photographer Nick Miele, whose prints can be found on the walls in the rooms of The Colony Hotel.
21. Take It Outside
A Palm Beach exterior is like a perfectly crafted cocktail—it’s all about the right balance of natural foliage, chic details, and a little bit of drama. When it comes to the outdoors, think scalloped umbrellas, striped cushions, artistic sculptures, and monogrammed welcome mats. “Add to that perfectly trimmed hedges, giant fishtail palms in concrete pots, fire pits, covered lanais framed with flowery sheer drapery, and vintage wicker or iron outdoor furniture upholstered in colorful striped or floral fabrics, and you’ve got a look!” says Reynolds.
Bikoff completes her outdoor projects with a vintage-inspired patio umbrella. “Look for pagoda or scalloped shapes, colorful fabrics, and fun trims,” she says.
One Big Mistake Designers Say to Avoid
Maintaining a sense of balance is important when designing in a Palm Beach style. “Leaning too hard on stereotypes can make your space exactly that,” says Walsh. “Your design will feel campy rather than classy.”
“Going overboard with bold statements can leave you feeling cliché and uninspired,” echoes Reynolds. “Instead, exercise restraint and focus on the subtleties of your design to create a balanced space that exudes effortless chic, comfort, and charm, and captures the essence of this iconic coastal style.”
Where Palm Beach Designers Shop
Ready to add some Palm Beach style to your own home? Here’s where our experts find their inspiration:
- For pillows, Reynolds loves St. Frank, for linens Pioneer Linens, and for accessories and gifts, she heads to Mary Mahoney.
- For rattan and bamboo, McMakin is a fan of the aptly named Bamboo & Rattan, for restored antique furniture she heads over to Circa Who, and for vintage-like tiles, she loves Celerie Kemble.
- For antique furniture, Walsh looks to Chairish and 1stDibs, and for unique lighting she turns to Wired Custom Lighting.
- For furniture with South Florida flair, Bikoff loves Dolphin & Flamingo, for antiques and art she turns to Get The Gusto, and for midcentury furniture, it’s Authentic Provence.
- Lindroth loves Palm Beach Regency for ginger jars, shells, and pagoda, and Devonshire for vintage gardening finds.
- Owens owns Society Social, where sofas, chairs, lighting, and tabletop items—all with a Palm Beach flair—can be purchased online.