How to Decorate Your Home Like a Cuban Casita
Even before the U.S. formally restored diplomatic relations with Cuba and the small Caribbean country was on every traveler’s bucket list, the island had captivated the minds of writers (Ernest Hemingway lived there for 20 years), artists, and ordinary people alike.
Christopher Columbus noted back in 1492 that it was “the loveliest land ever beheld by human eyes." And more than five centuries later, his observations still hold true.
Cuba strikes with its authenticity, impulsiveness, the kindness of its people, and vibrant views at every turn. This is exactly what impressed Laurel & Wolf interior designer Heather Brents.
“Cuba is the most colorful country I've ever visited. In Havana, especially, seeing a turquoise building with an emerald door next to a pink building with sky blue trim is totally normal,” she said.
The city’s eclectic architecture is truly something to behold — a mixture of beautiful colonial, baroque, neo-classical, and Soviet-inspired buildings can be seen throughout the capital, reflecting the country’s rich history.
“Design inspired by Cuba has to embrace a contrast of bright, saturated hues along with lighter pastels," Brents said. "Quirky elements are a must."
If a recent trip to the Caribbean island has inspired you to redecorate your home, then focus on adding color through artwork or décor accents, she suggests, to ensure "the eclectic vibe is intentional."
“I'd use patterned rugs in bright colors and chunky wood furniture for a rustic, textural look,” Brent says.
And for designer Stacy Graves, it’s all about drawing inspiration from Cuba’s tropical landscape — turquoise waters, lush greenery, yellow sunshine, and orange-pink sunsets.
“The easiest way to decorate a modern home with the Cuban aesthetic is to paint the walls in a saturated hue,” Graves says. “I would do this with a lime wash paint to give the walls a weathered look reminiscent of the textured layers of paint and plaster found in Cuban homes. For furnishings, I would juxtapose distressed vintage pieces with the simplicity of mid-century modern furniture.”
Because of the hot tropical climate, Cubans prefer natural fabrics and materials that are cool to the touch — marble, metal, tile, and stone are best, according to Brents. And Graves recommends cane, wicker, and rattan pieces as well as incorporating large tropical plants such as a Bird-of-paradise or banana tree.
Take a look at 40 home décor items that will bring the character of Cuba into your home.
Framed 'Beautiful Mulata' Collage
To buy: novica.com, $135
Legendary Set: Panama Hats & Havana Cigars
To buy: ahalife.com, $170
To buy: ahalife.com, $240
Bells Retro Pillow
To buy: ahalife.com, $88
To buy: cb2.com, $289
O&G Ladderback Dining Chair in Vermillion
To buy: rejuvenation.com, $499
Sidi Lounge Chair
To buy: cb2.com, $699
All Weather Wicker Marina Del Ray Coffee Table
Rustic Distressed Reclaimed Wood Sideboard
To buy: amazon.com, $2,306
White Wood Cassia Entryway Storage Bench with Baskets
To buy: worldmarket.com, $300
To buy: crateandbarrel.com, $1,699
Keely Floor Lamp
To buy: luluandgeorgia.com, $619
Wood and Rattan Syena Backless Barstool
To buy: worldmarket.com, $130
To buy: crateandbarrel.com, $399
Rustic Wood Cabinet
To buy: target.com, $68
Sky Blue Cabinet
To buy: pier1.com, $350
Entryway Rustic Style 5 Hook Wall Mount Wooden Coat Rack
To buy: amazon.com, $38
To buy: crateandbarrel.com, from $299
Havana Large Vase
To buy: wayfair.com, $58
Cuban Vanilla Reed Diffuser
To buy: pier1.com, $17
Tommy Bahama Birds of Paradise Sheet Set
To buy: beddingstyle.com, $130
Round All Weather Wicker Vernazza Chairs
To buy: worldmarket.com, $400 for set of two
Heavily Distressed Terracotta Pot
To buy: houzz.com, $29
Dubois Large Square Wall Mirror
To buy: crateandbarrel.com, $199
Banana Palm Pillow
To buy: luluandgeorgia.com, $75
Painted Desert Rug
To buy: luluandgeorgia.com, from $182
Visit Cuba Vintage Travel Poster
To buy: etsy.com, from $12
Vintage Car in Havana Photo
To buy: etsy.com, from $35
Buena Vista Social Club Vinyl
To buy: amazon.com, $28
Bird-of-Paradise Live Plant
To buy: amazon.com, $15
Glass and Wood Mojito Set
To buy: amazon.com, $30
Vintage 1950s Solid Wood Radio Converted to Bluetooth iPhone iPod Player
To buy: etsy.com, $350
White Wood Pillar Candleholder
To buy: worldmarket.com, from $13
Archipelago Boticario de Havana Soy Candle
To buy: amazon.com, $20
'Passage to Cuba: An Up-Close Look at the World's Most Colorful Culture' Book
To buy: amazon.com, $21