How to Achieve a Tropical Style

Whether we actually live in a seaside paradise or just wish we did, we can pretend the tropics are just a step away by the way we decorate our home. The tropical lifestyle is all about relaxed living, comfort, ease, and hospitality. Life is breezy, people are laid-back and friendly, and stress doesn’t seem to exist.

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At least, that’s how it seems…and that’s the feeling of the islands, a feeling which tropical style evokes. It makes you want to pull up a hammock, lie in the shade of a palm tree, and listen to the strains of a ukulele over the rhythmic ocean waves.

Incorporate a Color Palette of Greens & Blues.

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Tropical style fully embraces nature – specifically the water and plant life. From pale and subtle to bold and vibrant, the entire spectrum of greens and blues exist, and are welcome, in the tropical home. You could paint the walls themselves, of course, or add in tropical colors in smaller doses. Think of adding tinted glass jars or artwork in the colors of the sea. (Speaking of the sea, who couldn’t love a few splashes of coral in a tropical interior, like the towel and bathmat below?)

Use Tropical Foliage as a Décor Accent.

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Whether it’s the real thing or on fabric or wallpaper, nothing brings the tropical style flair home more securely than displaying some big-leaf plants. Think banana plants, oversized fronds, and a variety of lush greenery. This works in any tropical space, whether it’s the entry, living room, breakfast nook, or even outside. Of course, if tropical flora isn’t a possibility where you live, you could always fake it with fabrics, wallpaper, and/or accessories.

Easy Maintenance Floors.

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Representing climates that are often humid, windy, sand-laden, or all of the above, the floors in a tropical styled space are a practical choice. Anything that can be swept, wiped, or scrubbed is an excellent candidate – think hardwood, bamboo, brick, or tile.

Textural Nature & Natural Texture.

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Something about the extremes in texture of a tropical setting is a critical part of the tropical style itself. Replicate the roughness of a palm trunk, coconut, or driftwood with wicker, rattan, or jute.

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Other natural materials such as bamboo and teak, particularly on furniture that works as well outdoors as inside, help to complete the feel of the islands. To blend seamlessly with tropical style and to give the illusion of texture, think about incorporating textiles with lattice prints, island themes, or cane motifs.

Tropical & Coastal Accents.

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Some coastal touches that are borderline nautical (e.g., worn oars, sailor’s knots) work well in tropical style, as do surfer’s digs (e.g., hammocks, tiki torches) and rain-forest tropical (e.g., tropical birds, fish, and even reptiles). To keep the space a little more chic, as opposed to the juvenile aesthetic tendencies of highly thematic elements, keep the accent mediums sophisticated – wood carvings, metal statues, and oil paintings are a good start. Oh, and a beautiful shell chandelier is never out of place in tropical style.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.