Tropical Decorating Ideas

Ideas for a tropical style home straight from the source!

› Tropical Decorating

I live in sunny southwest Florida, so am very familiar with the various types of tropical style decor available...some of the furniture stores in the area are brimming with it. And for good reason, for we are located in the sub-tropic region and should look the part!

If asked what tropical style decor means to you, I’m sure that some might envision the old, rattan furniture with tired, faded fabrics in washed out blues, greens and yellows.

Is that stuff still around? Yes, but thank goodness there are so many other choices available now!

Colors in your Tropical Style home


1) Bold and beautiful, with vibrant shades of blue, green and yellow. Here are some really cool options for you from Sherwin Williams paints:

Find these colors and more at the Sherwin Williams Lifestyle Collection, Blissful Retreat

Here is an example of a bold color palette used in a tropical design. This is a beach condo that I updated for the owners:

Room Makeover Tropical Styl

Light and bright, with green, red and blue at the forefront! I’m told by the owners that this condo has become very popular because of our recent beach condo makeover!

2) Soft and soothing, with subtle tones of the colors mentioned above.

You still have a beautiful tropical setting, with just hints of dramatic tones. Sherwin Williams offers some nice options:

Sherwin Williams Breaktime



Sherwin Williams Possibly Pink

Possibly Pink


Sherwin Williams Supreme Green

Supreme Green


Sherwin Williams Daybreak



3) Neutral and casual, with organic components.

The emphasis with this type of palette is more on the elements used to create the space, natural greenery and simple furniture arrangement. Once again we'll turn to Sherwin Williams for some examples:

Sherwin Williams Java



Sherwin Williams Rice Grain

Rice Grain


Sherwin Williams Tupelo Tre

Tupelo Tree


You'll find these colors and more in Naturally Neutral, from Sherwin Williams Lifestyle Collection

Notice how this Tropical style Bathroom encompasses the soft, subtle neutral tones of tropical decorating.

Bathroom in Neutral Tropic Styl

Put the Tropical Look together!

Your use of color in tropical decorating is not only in the choices of colors to use, but also how you will place them in the space.

Tropical style decor is also about texture.

If this style of decorating is your goal, think about organic fabrics, textiles and elements such as cotton, jute, muslin, bamboo, wicker, etc.

If you want to be authentic in your design, pay close attention to this aspect of tropical decorating and strive to find a variety of textures in:

Case goods
Lighting fixtures
Wall Art

Let’s talk more about Case Goods in Tropical decorating. Finding the right furniture for your tropical style home is key to creating the look that expresses your vision.

  • Wood finishes work well in natural, mid to light tones. Distressed wood works, as does some element of vintage. It depends on your approach to tropical decor.

  • Wicker is always a good choice, and works well when combined with other elements.
  • Rattan is a casual, very well recognized choice, and if used throughout the room or home can look, well, a little cheesy. You know, matching set of everything in the entire house...I see that quite often in condos when I am showing homes (I am also a realtor). It is a very ho-hum, although practical, look for the warmer climates.

My advice when working with rattan finishes?  Use it sparingly and be sure to mix it with other types of finishes.

Let's take a look at some examples  of Tropical decorating from our friends at Coastal Living:

The Living Room shown above is really quite simple in design and finishes, yet gives off a definite Tropical vibe. I love the sparing use of accent colors...apricot/orange and fresh green. The interest in the space comes from that color combination as well as the variety of natural finishes. Note the spikey tropical plant in the corner!

How cool is this rattan accent table? It is definitely a statement piece in this brightly decorated tropical space.

Here are some other cool end and accent tables I found from my favorite online shopping source. Where would one of these fit in your Tropical styled room or home?

Royalleaf End Table

from: Wayfair

Natick End Table

from: Wayfair

There is no mistaking the tropical vibe in this room, with the focal point sofa sporting a large palm leaf print. Notice that the other finishes in the space, while colorful, are accenting the sofa and not fighting with it. Love the stacks of books on the coffee table!

Tropical simplicity in this bedroom...warm wood floors, solid fabrics with the palm leaf print pillows echoed on the window treatments. Note the textural elements in the roman shades, awesome floor lamp and end table. Oh, and a water view to die for :)

Use Tropical style accessories to create a look

Using Tropical style accessories and smaller pieces can be an effective way to create a colorful look in a room or home.

You don't have to make a costly commitment to pieces and can easily change out the accents.

The finishing touches in Tropical Decorating

Colorful Tropical Bedroom


That leads to an important point in any style of decorating:

Everything in your room does not have to be of the same finish, and in fact, please don’t do that.

Your tropical decor should include several finishes, with the color palette and overall style of the furniture tying everything together.

As long as your choices and finishes are consistent, some variety in the elements keeps things interesting and presents a more polished and cohesive design plan.

The accessories and finishing touches will make the statement in your home.

You may opt for a fun, casual tropical feel with the fishing rod and reel hanging on the wall. Or, a little more sophisticated approach might be your desire, with beautiful artwork, large palm shaped paddles on the ceiling fans and area rugs with bold tropical patterns on the floor.

Just remember these three important characteristics of Tropical Decorating:

  • Color Palette is key
  • Casual, Natural, Open Feel
  • Nothing overdone or over-the-top

Tropical style decor can create a beautiful, custom look in any room of your home.

And, if you don't live in an area of the country, or world, that offers this style of furniture and decor in a local retail setting, there is always my go-to source, love it!

There is nothing quite like a tropical setting to bring a calm, stress free (well, almost!), laid back feeling into your heart and home. You may not live in the tropics but your decor can help you feel like you do!

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