7 Tropical-Inspired Homes That Make This Breezy Style a Year-Round Retreat

published Jun 28, 2023
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Think about your most recent beach vacation or the last time you swooned over something tropical in your Instagram feed. There were probably cane-woven furnishings, patterned tiles, and lots of plants. (Cue the “White Lotus” season one theme song!) 

That blend of clean lines and bright colors is what defines a tropical modern style, which happens to be the perfect cure for the winter blues. It’s a delightful mix of 1960s Hawaii — think: pops of color and fun prints — and modern-day coastal charm. Tropical modern can easily transport you to someplace warm whenever it’s needed, and the best part about it is that no flights or luggage are needed.

Sit back and relax as you tour seven homes that are all about tropical-modern style. Who knows? Seeing them might inspire your next getaway, or at the very least, a quick room refresh. 

This L.A. Home Was Inspired by Trips to Beaches Around the World

From sky-blue bath tiles in the kids’ bath to a blush-pink Camille bed by Joybird in the primary bedroom, consulting creative director Emily Wassall didn’t skip a beat when selecting tropical accents for her family’s 1938 home in Los Angeles. Guiding her vision was “a colorful family home with daily vacay vibes.” She also drew inspiration from past trips to Bali, Ibiza, Miami, and Sydney, plus pops of a Palm Springs-aesthetic, too. Wassall even extended the theme to the walls with hand-painted murals. In the powder room, Decorators Best’s Miami Wallpaper is an artful blend of geometric designs, palm trees and a cityscape.

Credit: Olga Fermin

Yellow Couches and Woven Materials Bring a Tropical Vibe to a Connecticut Home

When Latina artist Olga Fermin scooped up this Connecticut property with her husband and two daughters, she immediately set out to make it a cheery enclave. “Eclectic tropical” became her mantra, with colorful and modern furniture pieces, plus organic elements like cane dining chairs sprinkled in. She scours thrift stores for unique finds before giving them her personal touch, like painting an antique oak chair teal-green, and also layers in her artwork. Not shy about mixing and matching patterns, Fermin also knows when to reign it in. One example: two straw hats hung vertically on the wall as art. As a fan of not sticking to the rules, she advocates for adding “pieces that bring you joy and represent who you are.” 

Guided By a “Surf Shack” Vision, a Love for Tiki Transforms This Florida Home

Florida might seem like an easy place to adopt a tropical design, but Kelli Collins takes it to the next level with the surf-shack theme in this family home. Collins loves to travel — she’s been to all seven continents — so that guided the design transformation of their new home. Her favorite room is the primary bedroom, as it opens to the outdoors, and it’s filled with bohemian accents inspired by oceanfront settings. Sifting through tables at estate sales is how Collins found most of the decor.

Starting with the Greenhouse, This Netherlands Home Embraces All Things Tropical

A home should be a relaxing haven, and that’s precisely what designer and certified color consultant Yvonne Kusters’ family aspired to create in their 3,444-square-foot abode in the Netherlands. What drew them to this particular property was a greenhouse, which anchored the tropical-modern makeover. To provide the bones for this tropical setting, paint colors were intentionally chosen to emulate the tropics, including Dennengroen by Gamma (for the living room walls) and Nightblue by Flexa (for the greenhouse’s accent wall, and Kusters’ favorite spot to hang out).

Credit: Leanne Ward

Upcycled Objects in This 1930s Home Create Tropical Boho on a Budget

It’s not just the wall murals that evoke the tropics in this 860-square-foot U.K. home. Thirty-something homeowners — Leanne Ward, her husband, and their two pugs — have a style that includes lots of wicker baskets, leopard statues, cacti, and plants that artfully drape off shelves, plus as many natural textures as they can cram into the space. Mirrors help draw in more natural light, and walls are painted to reflect the outdoors. Upcycling is how they’ve found most of their possessions, including a seven-foot-tall palm tree on Facebook Marketplace. It proves, as Ward says, that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

A Tropical Theme Creates Coziness in This Open Florida Home

What Kelli Collins (yes, we featured her twice!) liked least about her 20-year-old ranch-style home in Florida’s Space Coast — which she shares with her husband, two daughters, and a dog — was its open floor plan. Carving out cozy spots took priority, so she settled on a tropical theme. Every corner got that treatment, from the Mexican-style ceramic tiles in the kitchen’s backsplash to turquoise walls in one of the daughter’s rooms. “We’re crazy, colorful, vibrant, and fun, so we created a home that makes us feel happy,” says Collins, who also suggests not following trends and looking for what you like instead.

“Warm Sun and Ocean Breezes” Inspired This Sprawling Washington Home 

As the owner of the Long Beach, California, boutique 6th and Detroit, Michelle Qazi already had a good eye and was known for hunting down quality mid-century furnishings. But when it came to her Bellevue, Washington, home, the process of finding just the right vibe took some work. She landed on “a beachy splash of California warmth,” along with bright colors, to complete a tropical look. All of the wicker furnishings and plant stands came from her store, which pair perfectly with other dining chairs scored from Vintage Seattle Rain. Meanwhile, fun accents like a Jungalow wool-hooked cheetah pillow keep rooms from acting too stuffy or serious — no one wants that when they’re trying to embody vacation mode from home!