Wednesday 21 February 2018

Carnival of colour - add some Samba style to your home

As the Olympics turn the spotlight on Rio, there's never been a better time to add a vibrant Brazilian flourish to your home…

Interiors: Inspiration from
Interiors: Inspiration from
Brazil Heart Map - Off White,
Set of three Peacock Votives, approximately €22, Debenhams
Tropical touch: Penneys palm prints
Ikea Brazil collection
Brazilian cocktail

From samba dancers to soccer legends, the people of Brazil are known for their vivaciousness. And, it seems that exuberance extends to every area of life in South America's largest country. Mid-century Brazilian designs are highly sought after by serious furniture collectors.

Uniting the pared-back tastes of European emigrants with indigenous materials like rosewood and leather, the designs represent a lighter, looser and often brighter take on the structured pieces familiar to us. But you don't have to make a huge investment to get a flavour of Rio to your own home: try these simple touches to add an Amazon atmosphere or some samba swing… 

Rainbow brights

It's winter in Rio right now - but as the Olympics have shown, you can easily raise the temperature by using splashes of colour. Brights and neons can be used in one of two ways in the home: sparingly in trims and accessories or in big blocks of complementary hues.

Buy it: For a complete range of homewares in bright shades, look to the Colourmatch line at Argos, Inspiration picture (above),

Feather your nest

Set of three Peacock Votives, approximately €22, Debenhams

It's impossible to think of Rio's famous Carnival without conjuring up images of the passistas - professional samba dancers - decked out in their feathered finery. You can go similarly all-out by arranging large ostrich feathers in a vase or stringing them up in bunches. A more subtle approach is using feather-patterned accessories like these jewel-toned votives.

Buy it: Set of three Peacock Votives, approximately €22, Debenhams

Get busy

Ikea Brazil collection

Whether it's channelling the colours of Carnival or the canopy of the rainforest, pattern is key to getting the Brazilian look. There are a few rules for layering patterns without making yourself dizzy: mix large patterns with small; pair busy patterns with bold stripes or chevrons; keep within the same colour range, and add monochrome to break it up. Animal prints and motifs should be surrounded by natural-looking greens, blues and earth tones.

Copy it: Ikea's limited-edition Tillefälle range uses Brazilian pattern and design,

Tropical touches

Tropical touch: Penneys palm prints

Be it in real-life plants or fabric patterns, leafy greens have transpired to be an interiors trend with staying power. Banana leaves, palms and birds of paradise are featured across everything from cushion covers to wallpaper in stores this season. Use in abundance to bring a little piece of the Amazon rainforest into your home.

Buy it: Set of three Zen mounted canvas pictures, €5, Penneys

Art in the heart

Brazil Heart Map - Off White,

For truly personalised decor, turn your travel memorabilia into artwork by having postcards, tickets or local magazine covers professionally framed. If you haven't been to Brazil yet, you can still declare your love with a piece like this simple yet striking map.

Copy it: Brazil map print, approximately €53,

Thirsty work

The easiest way to bring a true flavour of the Copacabana into your home is by trying out its most popular drink after coffee - a Caipirinha. Pronounced kay-pe-reen-ya, Brazil's signature cocktail is created using cachaça, a liqueur made from sugar cane. Cachaça is widely available in off-licences nationwide, but vodka can also be substituted for the liqueur. Here, Chad Gugliotta, grand master of beverages at ely wine bar and ely bar & brasserie (, shares his recipes for a Passion Fruit Caipirinha.

Brazilian cocktail

You will need

½ fresh lime

Brown sugar

1 passion fruit

50ml cachaça

25ml passion fruit purée

Crushed ice

Old fashioned (tumbler) glass


Cut half a lime into quarters and muddle in a glass with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar to release its juices and oils. Scoop half of the passion fruit into the drink. Add the passion fruit purée and the cachaça. Add crushed ice and stir it well. Taste the drink, and add more sugar if needed. Fill up to the top with crushed ice and give the drink one last stir. Float the remaining half of the passion fruit on top to garnish.

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