16 Ideas to Decorate Your Home in a Tropical Style (Without Looking Cheap!)
Do you spend your nights dreaming of when you can next getaway to a tropical island? There’s nothing more relaxing than feeling your toes in the sand, surrounded by palm trees, with a tropical cocktail in-hand. Often, we feel like we can only get this relaxed vibe if we jump on a plane and jet off to the other side of the world, but the right tropical home décor can make your home a haven you love spending time in.
The key to tropical home décor is to walk the line between coastal and nautical styles and so tropical you feel like you’re walking into a Tiki Bar, which can feel a little too kitsch very quickly. So, how do you bring in the tropical vibes in a tasteful and stylish way? Read on for our top tips!
16 Tips to Help You Decorate in a Tropical Style
1. Choose Your Base Colour
The tropical styles that frequent Pinterest, Instagram, and the pages of home décor magazines have all chosen a particular base colour that they build upon within each room. You can switch it up from room to room, but consider what kind of feel you want each room to have. Tropical can be serene, fun, and even a little moody, so start by choosing your wall colour and the main colour you’ll choose for your décor. Often, these will be one and the same, but not always.
Tropical styles look best when built upon a base of the following colours:
- White – will give a relaxed, serene, clean feel
- Pink – for brighter, more cheerful rooms
- Forest Green – will give an expensive, luxury feel, just make sure you pair it with gold or copper metal accents.
- Navy – as above.
2. Rattan Furniture and Macrame
Nothing gives tropical vibes quite as well as rattan furniture, and macrame is a close second. When you’re looking at what furniture to decorate with, look for rattan, woven, cane, and bamboo. If that’s not in the budget, consider buying a couple of cans of white chalk paint and paint your current pieces. Dark hardwoods and pine generally don’t work with a tropical style.
Macrame is a technique where lots of knots are used to create different shapes and patterns in fabric, which can then be used for wall decoration, on soft furnishings, and even for more structured pieces like lampshades and baskets, when used with a skeleton. If you use it nowhere else in your home, invest in some macrame hanging planters. They’re cute, give a tropical and bohemian feel, and you can add artificial plants so you don’t have to worry about taking them down to water every week.
Pale grey sun-bleached driftwood is the perfect natural decoration and ensures you stay away from orangy wood tones that can make tropical styles look a little cheap. You can use whole pieces for accents around your home, as frames for pictures and mirrors, and to hang on the wall. One must-do idea is to take a long piece of driftwood and glue air plants (real or artificial, though choose artificial if you don’t want to have to redo it if they die) or other artificial tropical plants to it and hang it on the wall.
4. Floral and Leafy Prints
Of course, you can’t do tropical without floral and leafy prints! The key here is to not overdo it – your floral and leafy prints should be accents that add vibrancy and highlight your tropical vibe. Choose tropical prints for the accent cushions on your sofa and bed, your table cloth, shower curtain, and other soft furnishings in your home.
5. Invest in Tropical Artificial Plants
An artificial palm tree or Banana Cana Tree is the best way to give any space a tropical feel, so use them as a focal point in your living room, dining room, and bedroom, if you have space. If you don’t have space for a full-size artificial palm tree, carefully select other artificial plants that have a tropical look and use them liberally.
6. Choose the Right Pots
While we’re on the subject of plants, make sure you choose the right pots for them. Natural textures in white or other tropical colours work best – an artificial palm tree looks incredible in a white concrete-style pot or a rattan basket. Bamboo pots also work well.
7. Tropical Artwork
Make sure your artwork is on-theme, and upgrade or repaint frames if they won’t work with the rest of your tropical home. What will work for you will depend on the colours you’ve chosen, but you can never go wrong with simple photos or art of tropical foliage on a white background.
8. Choose the Right Trinkets
Achieving a tropical look with your trinkets and themed items must be done carefully, or you can end up overdoing it on one particular shape. For example, pineapples are incredible accent pieces, and you can find plenty as gold jars and even table lights, but if you choose that shape for all your accent pieces, it can look a little gaudy. Instead, mix up the colours and textures. Gold, white, and natural textures all work well and will keep things looking classy.
Some ideas for shapes you can use are:
- Big cats (such as leopards and panthers)
- Birds of paradise
9. Woven Mats & More
Woven décor is another signature of tropical style, so consider investing in woven mats, dining table placemats, and coasters. They’re strong, durable, and washable, but may not be the best choice for placemats for little kids – they can’t resist poking their forks in them!
10. Keep the Tiki Bar Outside
If you love a good cocktail, resist the urge to bring a tiki bar into your living space. They can work outside on your patio or deck, but inside, they nearly always look cheap and don’t get used. Instead, consider a stylish drinks cart to display your cocktail ingredients.
11. Take the Tropical Vibes Outside
Tropical plants rarely thrive in the British climate, but artificial palm trees and other artificial tropical plants, will look good, no matter the weather. Plant them in large pots on your patio or deck, or out in your garden. Choose lightweight rattan and cane furniture for your seating and make sure you have additional cushions and throws you can use outside on cosy evenings. For lighting, try large fairy lights, candles, and lanterns.
12. Consider an Accent Wall
If prints are your thing, consider a bright and leafy wallpaper on one wall. It’s an easy way to bring a tropical feel into the room and makes a huge statement for seemingly little work (though if you haven’t wallpapered before, it will be worth paying a handyman for a few hours of work!). When you’re looking for a print, look for something with oversized palm leaves, as this is a huge hallmark of tropical style and will do a lot of the work for you.
13. Use Pink, Green, and Gold Together
Unless you’re going for very serene tropical décor, you need to tie some pink accents in. You can choose almost any shade of pink that works for you, and you can use pink on stand-alone objects (such as a pink throw or cushion) or as a backdrop for a green, leafy print. Go bold or subtle, but pink is a huge hallmark of tropical style, so try to get some accents in there!
14. If You Hate Pink, Try Orange
If the idea of having pink accents in your home has you wrinkling your nose (or your partner running for the hills), consider using orange instead. It works just as well in both subtle hues and in the boldest, brightest orange. Just stay away from burnt orange, as this can quickly give your home a 70s vibe, and that’s not what we’re aiming for, here!
15. Add Plants in the Bathroom
The tropics are all about plenty of greenery, water, and humidity, so the bathroom is the perfect place to tie your tropical theme together. Again, if you have a shower curtain, carefully consider the print and color. A dark, rich leafy curtain will be a big statement, but something with more white will prevent the room from getting dark.
Add more artificial plants in pots, hang them in macrame plant hangers above your window, and use smaller, dark succulents as accents on the little shelves and dead spaces we all have in our bathrooms.
16. Pair Palms with Mirrors
Hang or lean a mirror above your console table or a dresser and place a vase full of artificial palm leaves in front of it, either directly or to the left or right of the mirror. This will bounce additional light around the room and make your foliage look more voluminous.
If you use all 16 of these tips, your home will start looking like the tropical getaways you dream about in no time! To make sure you have plenty of greenery in your home, make sure you explore our full range of artificial plants here.