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How to add tropical design touches to your home for a soothing island feel

Palm tree accents add a touch of island

Palm tree accents add a touch of island style to a neutral color palette in the bedroom. Photo Credit:

An island hideaway makes for a great way to unwind from daily life. You can always create your own vacation getaway by adding some tropical touches to your home. Simple island-style swaps can turn your rooms into a private tropical escape that’s there for you every day and not just when you get time off from work.

Natural elements are immediately at home in tropical style. Palms and banana leaf prints make an instant tropical statement. Look for upholstery fabric or wallpaper with these motifs for a splash of tropical nature. York Wallcoverings Ashford Tropics Banana Leaf Wallpaper, for instance, will have you reaching for a rum drink with its luxurious green leaves and splash of red ($2.02 a square foot at

One common design hallmark of island-style is a combination of light-colored walls and dark woodwork and furnishings. The furniture is often heavily carved in a leaf motif. Sisal rugs tie in the natural feel and tropical vibe underfoot, and adding in upholstery with a tropical print brings the room together.

Of course, the Miami style is also another look that’s considered tropical, and its emphasis is on color. Whether you go with the hot tropical colors of orange, teal or bright pink, or their toned down versions bordering on pastel, you can’t go wrong with a shot of tropical color to lighten — or brighten — your rooms. Curtains and upholstery can range from busy jungle themes to kitschy ones like flamingos, coral or sea shells.

Look for places to add shots of the tropics, like island barstools with a bamboo motif such as the Dayna barstool at ($379 each). You can also try adding a punch of bright paint to select pieces of furniture to give your design a tropical infusion of color.

Fill in with tropical accents such as potted palms. Layer in wicker baskets and look for artwork that features tropical themes. Accent throw pillows with leaves, pineapple or hibiscus patterns add a soft, tropical touch to sofas, beds and chairs. Outfit your table or bedroom with linens and dishes that echo an island vibe to complete your look.

For a classic but fun island touch, set the table with a pitcher and a set of highball glasses adorned with gold flamingos ($75 for pitcher and $97 for set of four glasses at Or, hang flamingos on the wall in gold, pink polka dot, or classic pink. Your walls will feel perfectly tropical and have a touch of whimsy. On the windows, go for long white canvas panels or forgo curtains altogether and add the ultimate tropical window covering of Bermuda shutters mounted to the outside.

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