TROPICAL Interiors: What Is It and How to Do it at Home

Get summer vibes all year round with the Tropical interior design style! 

It’s calm, rejuvenating, and a lot of fun as it combines all there is to love with nature in the confines of our homes.

And in the light of years indoors from COVID-19, who wouldn’t want to dive into a personal sanctuary inspired by lush island homes? With the tropical design style, you’ll be able to embrace the warmth that summertime can bring, and add a staycation feel into your home, all without breaking the bank.

Photo source: interior cravings

What is the Tropical design style?

Tropical style is all about comfort and ease. Just as the name suggests, it’s about bringing the outdoors in. Think deep greens and flamingo pinks. Wicker furniture, warm lighting, and a soothing atmosphere that reminds you of the sea, sky, and the jungle. This is the style that is also characterized by warm and soothing colors, mostly drawn from natural elements such as the sea, sky, and vegetation.

A design style that takes its cue from the natural world, tropical designs focus on comfort, relaxation, and resort-like luxury. Originally dating back to the 1800s, this theme evolved from the British Colonial style, where the marvel exploration filled homes with exotic decor, tropical plants, and tropical motifs.

Outdoor space that looks tropical with its all around greenery and swimming pool colored rug

Photo source: HouseToDecor

Today, we see the style evolve yet again, blending well with both maximalist and minimalist approaches to design.

Before we start sharing our design ideas, there are some things to highlight.

Bringing the outside in through tropical interiors is not just about infusing prints and green leaves, it’s also adding plenty of texture, natural materials, and light to an open space. Its calming and relaxing feel comes from capturing the ambiance and atmosphere of the tropics.

  1. Balance is key: Sometimes, you just need a touch of the tropics. There’s no need to overdose on saturated colors and overly kitschy beach designs. When it comes to infusing tropical designs, it’s okay to pull back. This is especially true for those who are big fans of minimalist design. That said, choosing leaf and animal prints in neutral tones can be elegant options for your space without going too off-theme.
  2. Go with what you love: Tropical design can be bright and vibrant, pulsing with deep hues of the setting sun. But it can also be light and soft like the baby blues that paint the sky. With this, take note of your personal style and choose tropical interior pieces that speak to you.
  3. Follow your own trend: There are many accessories that you can use for the Tropical style. But as your design preferences can grow and change, it would be best to choose items that you genuinely love and decor that can last through the “trend”.
  4. You don’t need to start from scratch: When you decorate with the Tropical style, it can begin with adding plants and the right accessories like figurines of birds in flight. Whether you have a minimalist home, industrial, or a traditional home, there is something you can take from this guide to make your space feel more comfortable and earthy.
Simple lounge spot with plants and ample sunlight

Photo source: Pexels | Teona Swift

Now, on to our tips to help you experience the bliss of the tropics through design!

1. Choose bold, tropical-inspired patterns

The best place to start is by introducing tropical motifs to bring those summer or green vibes that you want. Statement walls with jungle or leaf patterns can surely do the trick. You can use a variety of popular patterns like vibrant florals, pineapples, mangoes, and palm trees. Aside from creating a summery vibe in your space, it can also add a sense of drama that will help you achieve paradise in your bedroom or living room.

Go for a bold pattern featuring dense, deep green, foliage to really invite the tropics into your home. Alternatively, if you want a more minimalist look, try something lighter, with muted tones and more negative space. It’s totally up to you! Simply keep in mind that if you are going for a colorful pattern, it’s best to stick to one statement wall so as not to overwhelm your space.

Bold wallpaper design full of greenery on one wall of the bedroom

Photo source: Pexels | Max Vakhtbovych

If you don’t feel ready to commit to a statement wall, then go for a tropical wall hanging instead. Throws, fabrics, tapestries, rugs; even an oversized scarf hung on the wall can be used to improvise as well.

Pro-Tip: If you’re looking for a more ‘pared-back’ approach to the tropical design, add touches to your decor by simply replacing your old cushions with some new tropical ones. Of course, the classic green palm tree is a popular choice to brighten your room. While a leafy light green patterned cushion refreshes your comfy couch.

Subtle touches of the tropical design with green pillows and small plants complementing a beige couch

Photo source: Pinterest | Style Me Pretty

2. Embrace houseplants

Nothing transports you to the tropics more than having plants inside your home. 

Not only does it help us reconnect with nature, but adding some flora and botanicals to your home is also a simple and budget-friendly way to bring in the tropical interior design.

Living room with plants inside and out

Photo source: Pinterest | Bali Interiors

Embrace leafy plants like the palm plant to create a lush jungle indoors. These larger plants are ideal for filling up corners and unused crannies to liven up your space. While exotic plants like birds of paradise and vibrant anthuriums brighten up your space. For a more subtle option, soft white flowers like peace lilies can complement the green tones nicely.

It’s also good to note that indoor plants don’t only enhance your interiors, but they also purify the air, add a feeling of abundance, and also bring a sense of calm. Research even shows that plants can absorb sound, quieting noise indoors and noise coming outdoors. Additionally, owning and caring for plants is also said to be therapeutic and stress-relieving.

Simple plants to decorate a WFH space

Photo source: Unsplash | Beazy

Pro-Tip: If you’re a first time plant owner, look into plants that don’t necessarily need too much time and light. Spider plants, ZZ plants, and pothos are great beginner plants that you can try. They are all easy to grow and can withstand erratic watering, uneven lighting, and fluctuating temperatures.

3. Infuse your space with tropical colors

A tropical style home is not complete without infusing it with a splash of colors that is inspired from natural hues. We’re talking about the stunning blues from the sea and sky, the golden tones of the sun-drenched sand, and the rich greens from the tropical foliage, combined with the brilliant burst of colors from tropical flowers all around.

When it comes to choosing colors for your space, may it be for the walls or decor, embrace these colors to create a vibrantly alive and welcoming space. You can also do no wrong by adding a pop of flamingo pinks and bright yellows, which would go well with the tropical greens.

Aside from these complementary tones, utilize golden hues, brass, and copper tones to help accentuate your space and add a feeling of luxury.

A WFH space infused with bold tropical colors and an added metallic touch

Photo source: DigsDigs

Pro-Tip: For an even more eye-catching statement, you can use a turquoise sofa, a multi-colored rug, brass headboard, or a bold yellow reading chair to create a focal point that can create a visually interesting space.

On the other hand, if you want to keep it more minimalist, you can opt for a few themed accessories to elevate your space without overcrowding it. Instead of creating a bold splash of color, focus instead on incorporating subtle hues, simple patterns, and small decor that can highlight the tropical theme.

Living room with simple touches of the tropics using plants and paintings

Photo source: Brabbu

4. Natural materials, textures, and forms

Apart from the colors and houseplants, this style is all about embracing the natural world by celebrating it in all its forms. Therefore, making the most of natural materials is a must!

Look out for natural, handmade, ethically sourced, and sustainable products to give your home that authentic tropical feel when you walk in. These organic materials like textured carpets, wicker in furniture, and handmade wooden bowls help create a welcoming tropical touch.

You can use natural materials throughout various aspects of your space. Small details like rattan placemats or dried flowers on the counter are great ways to accessorize your home.

Other elements such as bamboo, rattan, and teak are a great addition to the interiors. Combine these with warm-toned hues and woven fabric like jute, cotton, linen, and sisal, and you’ve got yourself a lovely tropical home. To add to that, you can also use objects like carved wooden bowls, terracotta clay pots, and wicker baskets to decorate your shelves and other open spaces.

Living room looking and feeling very tropical with plants, natural textures and forest hues

Photo source: franc & eli

Pro-Tip: Layer natural elements with your furniture while making sure that there’s some contrast in color and texture so it won’t be too monotone. 

Incorporating nature into your home can also come in organic forms that mimic nature. An example of this could be a walnut table with curved edges, a vase in the shape of a pear, or a sculpture that recreates the curves of the mountains.

Tropical space filled with animal decor - in print and small figurines

Photo source: The Nordroom

5. Let fresh air and light in

Play with natural light to open up your space and help it feel more tropical.

Don’t worry if your home doesn’t get as much light as you’d like. Work with what you have by utilizing mirrors to reflect light and make it appear more spacious than it actually is. Furthermore, you can lighten up your space by removing heavy window treatments and replacing them with lightweight shades in natural materials.

Light, semi-translucent curtains are a great way to recreate the ocean breeze as it sweeps through an open window. A must to complete a tropical look. It doesn’t only enhance the relaxed and inviting atmosphere, but also allows softer natural light in your home. Plus, this simple addition provides some privacy during the daytime.

Soft natural light using sheer curtains

Photo source: Unsplash | Beazy

Pro-Tip: Elevate your space with a tropical inspired fan overhead. A ceiling fan with woven panels that resemble wide palm leaves, banana leaves, or fern leaves is a nice touch!

Tropical bathroom complete with a ceiling fan that looks like banana leaves

Photo source: Houzz

6. Mix it up and accessorize

There’s plenty of room to add personality into your tropical home. With such a vibrant design style, there are countless ways to mix it up and accessorize! 

First, you can accessorize with colorful keepsakes from your travels and art pieces of the tropics that can easily compliment the tropical style.

Accessorize a tropical living space with tree truck and rattan plates hung on a deep green wall

Photo source: 3dzip.org

To elevate your space, use traditional elegant furnishings infused with vibrant colors and tropical plants for a dynamic overall look. You can also combine mahogany and Victorian furniture, animal textiles, and natural materials, and even abstract art to create interesting and stunning spaces.

For a touch of palm beach glamor, go with painted bamboo furniture, a lattice-motif mirror, or brass colored picture frames. Combine these with dark wood features, and you’ll be creating a modern tropical paradise with an exquisite feel.

Elegant wooden bureaus complemented with large palms

Photo source: KBinteriors

Interestingly, tropical style’s use of bright, and nature-filled patterns is also akin to popular interior styles. As a matter of fact, it is similar to the coastal interiors with its love for nature and beach-themed decor. It complements the granny chic interiors for its maximalist approach to creating cozy and comfortable space. While its liberal use of colors and bold patterns is reminiscent of the bohemian style which embraces the carefree approach to decorating our spaces.

Luckily, we have also shared ways to decorate your home with those styles. Check out our interior design series to explore more!

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