Tropical decorating ideas to bring the outside in

Tropical style is fun, fresh and spiritually uplifting. And the good news is, you don’t have to live in Rio de Janeiro to pull it off with aplomb. Time to unleash your wild side...

Bring some sunshine into your home with an injection of these tropical decorating ideas. Both relaxing and uplifting, tropical decor is a big interior design trend for the new season and will add bags of personality to your rooms. Think of Mediterranean summers, a Hawaiian landscape - and a big dose of kitsch.

With a tropical theme, you really need to think outside the box: This is floral design, but not as you know it. Clashing colours, a mix of prints and sleek modern textures will all add up to a totally tropical room.

Want more ideas? READ: Inject personality into any space by decorating with pattern

1. Be as daring as you like

tropical decoration with yellowy shades

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Tropical decorating is all about the wow factor. These yellowy shades naturally freshen and energise a space, while keeping the vibe cool and calm. They work brilliantly in rooms that overlook outdoor spaces, blurring the lines between inside and outdoors. Use darker, blue greens and pure yellows to create a subtle, layered scheme, or go as vibrant as you dare with splashes of pink.

2. Create a serene scene

mid-weight greens with warm greys and natural wood

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Mid-weight greens are great for setting a calm and creative scene. Balance out the bright colour with warm greys and natural wood. Try painting a neutral band around this room to break up colour. This is a clever trick if all-over colour is too much for you.

3. Turn your urban garden into a party hot-spot

give your garden a hot pop of Miami colour with vibrant tropical bench and the colourful flamboyant flamingo ornaments

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Give your garden a hot pop of Miami colour. This slice of urban garden is cleverly designed in receding sections of decking, seating, hedge, lawn and raised bed, which create the illusion of depth as they fade into the distance. Intricate planting makes the best possible use of the small and unusual space. The white concrete retaining wall has been customised into a vibrant tropical bench and the colourful flamboyant flamingo ornaments have made the sunny corner their home.

Get the look
Buy now: Pink Flamingo, £35, Bonnie and Bell at Not On The High Street

4. Factor in a natural contrast

reclaimed or limed oak furniture looks relaxed and rustic with palm greens

(Image credit: Future PLC/Blackmore)

Reclaimed or limed oak furniture looks relaxed and rustic with palm greens. For a smarter, more polished look, go for black-stained wood finished instead. Finish the tropical look with pretty accessories that can be easily changed as often as your like.

5. Mix exuberant leafy prints with modern furniture

tropical themed dining room with palm and fern prints, set against a charcoal backdrop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Work in a taste of the tropics with an abundance of palm and fern prints, set against a charcoal backdrop. Mid-century style furniture gives this space a retro vibe. Mix and match design classics, such as these Eames 'Eiffel' chairs, for an informal contemporary look. Choose colours that stand out in the bold scheme.

Get the look
Buy now: Eiffel dining chair, Dwell

6. Go totally tropical and mark out a chill-out zone

tropical bedroom corner with vibrant blue colour and hammock

(Image credit: Future PLC/Neil Mersh)

Re-create that relaxed holiday feeling with an indoor green haven, using colourful printed cushions and walls that evoke azure skies and crystal blue waters. This modern ethnic bedroom corner - in a plethora of tropical tones - has the added playful addition of a hammock. The two-tone wall effect waves from pale green to vibrant blue and complements the choice of chest, rug and choice of foliage to create an inescapable island vibe that will keep every moment of bedroom relaxation completely and utterly chilled out.

Get the look
Buy now: Paint, The Lido and Reading Room Claypaints, Earthborn

Love the colour green? READ: How to decorate with green, the most peaceful of colours

7. Transport yourself to warm Hawaiian shores

bedroom design with whimsical palm design with its deep sunset pinks

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jake Curtis)

For those looking to indulge a love of colour and pattern, this whimsical palm design with its deep sunset pinks and fresh greens serves as an exuberant focal point. Plain bedlinen keeps the look balanced, while a shell pendant hints at distant shores.

Get the look
Buy now:
Wallpaper, Big Bam wallpaper in Hotty Pink, Lee Sofa at GP&J Baker

8. Channel the classic palm-court vibe

tropical living room with White woven furniture and jagged landscape

(Image credit: Future PLC/Neil Mersh)

If you want a fresh and outdoor feeling inside your home, look to this modern tropical living room scheme as the ultimate inspiration. The two-toned wall paint effect creates a jagged landscape where the two colours meet. White woven furniture is typical of this look and the choice of upholstery fabric is spot on. Lush plants complete the tropical outdoors look.

Get the look
Buy now: Fabric (on cushion seat), Manila cotton - 223278,
Buy now: Fabric (on back cushions), Palma fabric, Michael Szell for Christopher Farr Cloth

Learn how to create a feature wall. READ: Feature walls ideas that make a serious style statement

9. Play with tactile weaves and leafy patterns

A circular table partnered with pretty upholstered stools

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jake Curtis)

A circular table partnered with pretty upholstered stools is a good choice for maintaining the streamlined feel of an open-plan living space, while the simple rattan lampshade will cast playful shadows for atmospheric dining.

Get the look
Buy now: Table, Phoenix round table, Tom Faulkner
Buy now: Wallpaper, Banana Leaves wallpaper, Mind the Gap at Rockett St George
Buy now: Lampshade, Shaped rattan lampshade, Design Vintage

10. Wake up with exotic patterns and vibrant colours

A burst of sunny, vibrant colours and exotic fruit prints is a refreshing look to wake up to.

(Image credit: Future PLC/Neil Mersh)

A burst of sunny, vibrant colours and exotic fruit prints is a refreshing look to wake up to. A traditional canopy over a bed can run from stark and serious to playful and funny and nowhere is it quirkier than in the form of this giant single leaf incarnation. A vibrant headboard print is an authentic injection of the tropical look, but the pale pastel green wall, solid bedding and calming safari-inspired touches are a brilliant balance to the potentially overwhelming print. Note, with a print this busy, it's best to keep the furniture lines and background simple - we're looking to create a relaxing vibe, not a total riot of colour and shapes.

Get the look
Buy now: Fabric (headboard), Jamaica cotton, Manuel Canovas

11. Give a traditional scheme a tropical twist

living room with exotic vibe with leaf motifs, natural textures and bold colour

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Who says you can't mix contemporary trends with traditional furnishings? Create an exotic vibe with leaf motifs, natural textures and bold colours. Blend rich greens with natural materials for a totally tropical mix. Keep the mood hot and fiery with an abundance of pineapple and tropical bird-print accessories for a true taste of the Amazon rainforest.

Get the look
Buy now: Wallpaper, Fanned Fronds wallpaper, Anthropologie

12. Wow with vivid wallpaper

Wow with vivid wallpaper stairway

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Bevan)

Dare to be bold with your hallway scheme. Hallways are designed to be passed through rather than hung around in, which means you can be braver with your colour and pattern choices than you can in any other room in the house. Here, a vibrant tropical wallpaper sits pretty alongside a bright, striped stair runner and eclectic colourful ornaments. Repeating the hot pink throughout the scheme holds everything together. The parrot wall sconces 'perched' in the wallpaper trellis are a witty finishing touch.

Get the look
Buy now:
Wallpaper, Canopy wallpaper - Grenade, Christian Lacroix at Jane Clayton

Will you be taking the tropical trend into your home with these tropical decorating ideas?

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.