Treat your Home to the Tropics
Create a paradise escape with plants, rattan, and ocean-inspired decor
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design is collected, not decorated, and that homes should always be as comfortable and functional as they are chic. In addition to writing for Houzz, I work as the Head Copywriter for Layla Grayce and Zinc Door.
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design... More »
As we all know, inevitably, the seasons must turn. However, that rule only applies to the outdoors. You, as a savvy master of interiors, have the power to maintain any type of season you desire inside. Love the inviting feel of escaping reality for a warm, relaxing visit to the Bahamas or the Caribbean? Make that feel part of your everyday environment by creating touches of the tropical through your décor. It can be as simple as a potted palm tree in the corner of your living room, or as transformative as a painted mural in your dining room. Regardless of the extent of your tropical preference, the following photos will help you decide what’s right for you.
Kick off your tropical transformation with throw pillows and other accessories, like lampshades, in patterns that remind you of hot, far-off getaways. A natural sisal rug works well to pull the look together.
This is a great paradise-esque pillow to throw in the mix. It manages to infuse both color and tropical influences.
Plants, plants, plants galore! Not only will they add a bright splash of fresh green to your space, but they call for an instant ode to the tropics. Place them around the room accordingly to create consistency.
Have a little fun by including this Painted Palms lamp from Vietri in the mix of real plants.
Consider re-upholstering an accent furniture piece in a pattern with a tropical motif. Balance the look by keeping the surrounding furniture in solids. And, while you’re at it, hang a colorful painting of a palm tree within sight!
I love this crazy, playful Green Birds fabric by Josef Frank. The tropics are a place to have fun, so their elements in your household should carry that same characteristic.
There’s no denying the tropical getaway with the introduction of rattan furniture. Mix it in with a few elegant pieces for a look as rich as it is casual.
Another irresistible tropical touch: bamboo furniture. It brings with it that quintessential mid-century PalmSprings vibe that is forever chic and classic.
Don’t want to replace furniture or purchase new pieces? Consider simply swapping out your window treatments for bamboo shades. Just like tropical sunshine, their texture alone will warm up your environment.
Or, purchase a simple rattan tray. Place it permanently on your ottoman as a stable place to hold drinks, or use it as serveware for parties.
Your color choices can also be tropically influenced: Consider different shades of blue to take you back to the ocean on a daily basis.
Turn up the tropical notch by pulling in both animal prints and greenery. Colorful, fresh flowers will fill the air with a coastal aroma.
For a heftier makeover, cover your ceilings with woven bamboo, like luahala, which is made from the leaves of a Hawaiian hala tree. If you ask me, I’d be perfectly happy having an authentic piece of Hawaii in my dining room.
You don’t need to actually be seaside to score yourself a view of the ocean. Instead, create a view that is untouched by weather patterns by dreaming up your perfect seascape and painting it as a mural on your dining room wall.
Your dining room's finishing tropical touch? Bamboo candlesticks from Vivre.
For an unexpected touch on your kitchen backsplash, create a tiled mural of the sea. This will surely get you in the mood to introduce some tropical dishes in your usual repertoire.
Turn your kitchen island tropical with bamboo siding and rattan barstools. Park here with a few mai tais and you’ll feel like you never left the beach.
Few things scream tropical getaway like a romantic bed canopy. This thing could be in the middle of rural America and I’d still think the Caribbean was right outside my door.
How much more tropical can you get than a glass wall that looks onto a palm tree infused garden? Sign me up for a soak in this tub pronto, please.
Of course, we can’t all have such a luxe garden view from our bathroom. No worries: tropical accessories, like shower curtains, towels, artwork and smaller plants will also do the trick.
Or, fill shelves with beachy items. Even better if they’re faraway pieces you’ve collected yourself!
Ideabook updated on Sept. 26, 2011.
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