Bring Home The Iconic Palm: Banana Leaves

There are many design trends that repeatedly go in and out of style, but only a few which maintain their popularity consistently for decades. When style icon Dorthy Draper created her banana leaf pattern called Braziliance for the Arrowhead Springs Hotel in California in 1937, she could not have known people would still be demanding it today, 80 years later.

Five years later Hollywood decorator Don Loper created a banana leaf pattern called Martinique (that looks a bit too similar to Draper’s) for the Beverly Hills Hotel. A couple years later Draper’s pattern was installed in Rio’s luxury hotel Palácio Quitandinha. Displayed in prominent places frequented by so many celebrities, banana leaf patterns were the background of many published photos and gained popularity very quickly. They have remained a design favorite all this time.

How To Decorate With Banana Leaves

You can now find many styles of banana leaves and palm fronds adorning everything from garbage bins to ballgowns. It is a very neutral pattern adding a bit of exoticism to the decor without overwhelming the space. Being a familiar element from nature it does not conflict with other colors and patterns used in the same room.


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If you are not bold enough to cover your walls with this tropical theme try the inside of a bookcase or a few throw pillows. To use this pattern temporarily find a cocktail tray and serving pieces so you can pull them all out for guests when the mood strikes you. Having a theme for parties creates more excitement and will make your guests feel special with the extra effort.

As a tropical pattern for clothing banana leaves are a bit more discreet than traditional Hawaiian shirts. This allows the less bold to join this style trend and it also can be used for more formal pieces. Anyone can find a way to incorporate banana leaves based on the wide variety of styles, from vintage looking botanicals to bold, bright, modern prints.

Shop Banana Leaf Patterns and Pieces for Your Home

Brazilliance Wallpaper by Dorothy Draper, $475

8 Oak Lane Palm Stemless Wine Glass, $75.96

Shoptiques Botanical Leaf Tray, $39.99

Swarthmore Palm Leaves Throw Pillow, now $42.99

Michael Aram Monstera Leaf Gold Centerpiece, $395

CB2 Reynolds Banana Leaf Print Chair, $399

Etsy GoodVibesMotel Set of 6 Prints Banana Leaf Printable Art, $23.94

Enjoy the last vestiges of summer with this cheerful, tropical print.

– Madeleine Donovan

Madeleine is an Interior Designer and founder of Madeleine Donovan Interiors. Visit and on Facebook @mdichicago.

You may also like more of Madeleine’s home design ideas: Rocking Good Design! Rock Crystal For Your Home and Gypsy Style: A Fool-Proof Way To Liven Up Your Home.

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