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GET THE LOOK - What is Tropical Style?

Updated: Apr 14

***Original post 2021.***

A couple of weeks ago I talked about what Coastal Style is here. If you haven't read that hop on over there first. It perfectly introduces my topic today, Tropical Style. Tropical Style is a type of Coastal Style with a lot of the same elements and the same casual feel. But there are a few notable differences that I will cover here.

Tropical Style has its roots in the British Colonialism of the 16-1700's. It is a mix of traditional design elements and native influences of the Caribbean and West Indies.

Tropical Style

Tropical style living room with airy white walls and neutral furnishings in natural materials.  Color is brought in using plants and accessories.

How to Get the Look - Key Elements

  1. MATERIALS - This look is all about a connection to nature so natural fibers and materials abound. Everything should be easy care like washable cotton and linen. Tile is a great flooring option, particularly in a black and white checkerboard laid diagonally, but for a richer look stick with darker wood.

  2. FURNISHINGS - Furnishings have more traditional shapes, although a more contemporary Tropical Style has cropped up that uses cleaner lined furnishings. Solid carved wood pieces are mixed with rattan, cane, bamboo and wicker furniture. Teak, mango, acacia, palm and rosewood are some of the exotic hardwoods used.

  3. COLORS & PRINTS - Prints are fun and colorful, depicting motifs seen in island life, like tropical fruits, flowers and animals, palm trees and leaves, and bamboo. Also mixed in are stripes, toiles, animal prints, and trellis patterns. Newer tropical wallpaper murals let you wrap a whole room in a tropical scene. Colors are inspired by the water, the vegetation and brightly colored birds and flowers. Use bright blues, greens, teals, and turquoises, corals, oranges, pinks and yellows. Or, if you want to go neutral stick to white decor and upholstery which pops against the darker wood of furnishings and flooring.

  4. LIGHTING - Lighting can go either way using more traditional shapes or more contemporary ones. Again, materials like rattan, caning, and wicker and bamboo bring in a natural element, but more traditional metal or crystal fixtures that would have been brought over from England can be used as well.

  5. ACCESSORIES - Accessories include potted flowers and trees, candles with hurricanes, screens, found and carved wood objects and framed art referencing island motifs.

Now that you have the tools, start creating your own Tropical oasis! Click on any of the products below to Shop the Look.

***Updated April 2024.  In the case that the same items were not available, similar items were chosen.***

Tropical Style

Not a fan of the options above? Here are some alternatives so you can make it your own! Click on any of the items to get a closer look.

Tropical Sofas & Chairs

Tropical Coffee & Side Tables

Tropical Lighting & Fans

Tropical Wallpaper & Wall Decor

Tropical Table Decor & Botanicals

Tropical Rugs & Pillows

Websites to shop for more Tropical Style:

If you haven't yet, take my Design Style Quiz to see what your personal style is!

Only a couple more Design Styles to come so keep checking back! Better yet, hit subscribe above to get email notifications when a new post comes out, and exclusive access to design advice not available on my blog. Let me know what you think of these finds in the comments below!

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If you would like to see more Interior Design Inspiration head over to my Portfolio for a little eye candy.

If you need more assistance pulling a look together for you space, you can read more about what I offer on my Services page.


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