The tropics conjure images of vibrant colors, lush greenery, and an easy, breezy vibe. Bringing a touch of the tropics into your kitchen design can create an energetic and uplifting space. When done right, a tropical-inspired kitchen emanates comfort and tranquility. This comprehensive guide will provide you with ideas and tips for achieving a tropical kitchen decor that is relaxed and refined.
Elements of Tropical Style
Tropical kitchen decor is characterized by certain key elements that evoke the lush nature and casual elegance of the tropics:
- Wood elements like bamboo, rattan, teak and driftwood add organic texture.
- Stone surfaces lend an earthy feel. Granite, limestone and travertine are popular choices.
- Plants, flowers and greenery infuse life. Use palm fronds, ferns, orchids or anthuriums.
- Seagrass, jute and sisal work beautifully for rugs and baskets.
- Bold hues found in tropical flowers and fruits like fuchsia, mango, turquoise, tangerine and lime green.
- Soothing neutrals like sand, stone, cream and driftwood grey.
- Touches of metallics, especially brass, bronze and copper.
Global Patterns and Motifs
- Flora and faunal motifs like palm leaves, hibiscus, bamboo and exotic birds.
- Geometric prints and tiles for backsplash. Moroccan tiles work well.
- Handicrafts with an artisanal vibe – woven baskets, pottery, macrame hangings.
Textures and Layers
- Mix up surfaces – wood, rattan, stone, tile. Vary textures.
- Incorporate textiles – placemats, table runners, curtains.
- Create dimension with woven baskets, planters, ceramic pieces.
Best Tropical Plants for Kitchens
Incorporating greenery is a fabulous way to bring nature indoors. Certain tropical plants do especially well in the humidity and indirect light of most kitchens. Here are some top picks:
With tall, stiff leaves in shades of green with yellow or white edges, the snake plant has a modern, sculptural look. It also filters air pollutants.
A colorful houseplant with brilliant red, orange, yellow and pink leaves. Provides bright pops of color.
Known for its showy foliage, the Ti plant has ruffled green leaves with a pink tinge. The leaves can be various shades.
A climbing, vining plant with heart-shaped leaves. Grow it in a hanging basket or let it trail from shelves.
Available in many tropical colors like hot pink, orange and yellow. Orchids thrive in humid kitchens.
These tiny plants grow without soil by attaching to surfaces. Display in glass terrariums or let them cling to a hanging rope.
Lacy ferns add soft, delicate texture. Boston ferns and bird’s nest ferns are low maintenance choices perfect for kitchens.
Tropical Kitchen Backsplash Ideas
The backsplash is an ideal spot to infuse color, texture and pattern for tropical flair. Consider these backsplash ideas:
Irregular tiles in earthy terracotta shades or aqua blues have loads of charm and artisanal appeal. Use engraved, decorated or cracked tiles.
Intricate mosaic tiles in geometric patterns commonly seen in Moroccan architecture will transport you straight to Marrakech.
Fish Scale Tile
Glazed tiles in iridescent shades of blue, green and turquoise evoke shimmering fish scales and ocean waters.
Natural stone slabs or mosaics made from travertine, limestone or marble create an earthy, organic look. Stick to soft neutral tones.
For a renewable material, bamboo backsplashes are a fantastic choice. The rich caramel stripes emit a natural vibe.
Real or faux mother of pearl, conch, oyster or scallop shells glimmer softly and bring the essence of the sea indoors.
Available in every color, glass tile provides shine. Layer different hues or opt for sea glass shades like seafoam or sky blue.
Fabrics for Tropical Kitchen Style
Selecting the right fabrics can make a kitchen feel more inviting. When choosing textiles, keep these tips in mind:
Materials like cotton, linen, seagrass, jute and rattan have rustic texture perfect for tropical style.
Bright, Vibrant Colors
Solid fabrics in citrus shades, or prints with tropical motifs enhance the playful vibe.
Light and Airy
Sheer window treatments, breezy tablecloths or macrame hangings prevent heaviness.
Woven and Textured
Fabrics like raw silk or cotton with visible weave, add visual interest and dimension.
Distressed and Worn
New textiles made to look aged and weathered have relaxed appeal. Try washed linens or sun-bleached cottons.
Hand-dyed, hand-printed or handwoven fabrics made by artisans give a touch of handmade charm.
Best Tropical Prints and Patterns
Tropical motifs add a punch of vibrancy. Whether used sparingly as accents or liberally as a bold statement, these fun prints invigorate:
The classic palm leaf print comes in many color combinations for a relaxed vibe. Use on upholstery or drapes.
Available in vibrant pinks, reds and oranges, hibiscus floral prints represent the tropics. Use on pillows or cafe curtains.
Oversized green banana leaves instantly transport you to the jungle. Mix with citrus colors for pops of contrast.
The linear depictions of bamboo stalks work beautifully as prints for daybeds, roman shades or table runners.
What’s more tropical than the pineapple? This fun motif adds playful personality on dish towels or cafe curtains.
Fronds and Ferns
Lush prints of tropical fronds and ferns in shades of green lend an earthy elegance perfect for bedding or drapes.
Prints of seashell varieties like conch, nautilus or cowrie in coastal blues evoke oceanside living.
Moroccan-inspired geometric prints, often in terracotta and aqua, add global flair on pillows or rugs.
Tropical Kitchen Furniture
The furniture shapes, materials and finishes you select will define the overall aesthetic. Keep these ideas in mind:
Light woods like bamboo, mango, teak and pecan have the tropical look. Use for cabinets, shelves, tables or open shelving.
Rattan and Wicker
Incorporating woven rattan or wicker chairs, stools, hampers and pendant lighting imparts organic texture.
Round and Oval
Circular or oval shapes on mirrors, pendant lights, table bases and bar stools soften the look and feel less angular.
Terracotta or Ceramic
Handcrafted ceramic vases, planters and tabletop decor as accents lend global appeal and artisanal charm.
Light, Airy Designs
Furniture with open framework allows breezes and light to filter through for a relaxed vibe.
Chairs and stools with woven rattan, seagrass or banana leaf seating complement the casual style.
Distressed and Weathered
Look for furniture with slightly worn, distressed finishes. Bleached, drifted woods work well.
Best Tropical Kitchen Colors
Color choices make a powerful impact in any kitchen. For a tropical aesthetic, turn to nature for inspiration in shades like:
Sea Glass Greens
Subtle, soothing greenish blues reminiscent of sea glass or shallow lagoons. Try on cabinets or an accent wall.
From pale sky blue to deeper teal or navy, these cool and calming shades bring serenity.
The cheerful brightness of lemon and banana yellow hues energize. Use sparingly on backsplash or decor.
Punchy tangerine, mango and terra-cotta oranges liven up walls, tiles, textiles or decor accents.
Vibrant hot pink inspired by bougainvillea and hibiscus blooms livens up vintage cabinets or accessories.
The vivid green of tropical foliage like palm fronds instantly transports. Use as accents throughout the kitchen.
Brass, bronze and copper offer a sunny, beachy look. Incorporate on fixtures, hardware or decor.
Natural hues like sand, off-white, beige, light wood or stone make serene backdrop colors.
Best Flooring Options
The right flooring lays the foundation for your tropical kitchen. Consider these flooring ideas that lend natural texture:
Made from fast-growing grasses, bamboo offers eco-friendly durability. It comes in planks or parquet tiles.
Sea Grass and Jute
Durable, natural fibers that add casual texture and light color. Choose braided or woven styles.
Rustic terra-cotta tiles made in Mexico have old-world charm. Handmade tiles vary slightly.
Limestone or Travertine
Natural stone that offers subtle swirls and muted earth tones. Opt for tumbled or distressed finishes.
Durable tropical woods like teak, acacia or pecan in wide planks exude beach house appeal.
Sustainable, waterproof and comfortable underfoot, cork has soundproofing benefits, too. Choose seamless tiles.
Stained, stamped or engraved concrete creates an organic look. Adding pebbles increases texture.
Moroccan, Spanish or Mexican tile in terracotta hues or aqua blues complement the vibe.
Best Tropical Kitchen Window Treatments
Don’t overlook the importance of window coverings to complete the tropical look and filters light. Consider:
Half curtains in breezy cottons or printed fabrics let in light while adding privacy.
Specialized shades that filter light and heat through innovative open weaves.
Made from sustainable bamboo reeds, these offer natural texture and an airy feel.
Boho-chic handcrafted hangings in woven fibers filter light beautifully.
Lightweight linen or cotton curtains in neutral solids or subtle prints softly diffuse light.
Woven Wood Blinds
Blinds constructed from sustainable materials like bamboo, matchstick or jute.
Rattan and Bamboo
Made from woven natural reeds, these lightweight options are perfect for casual style.
Softly gathered folds of fabrics like linen or cotton lend a relaxed, island vibe.
Best Tropical Kitchen Lighting
Proper lighting sets the mood. For a tropical look, incorporate:
Woven rattan, bamboo or jute shades, or terracotta ceramic bases emit a cozy glow.
Shell Light Fixtures
Real or capiz shell pendant lights in organic shapes create a coastal statement.
Pierced wicker lanterns in round globes or modern cylindrical shapes add natural flair.
Ceramic Table Lamps
Handcrafted table lamps in terracotta or aqua ceramic inject artisanal charm.
Nautical rope woven through rafters or under cabinets imparts breezy style.
Copper Ceiling Fans
With warm metallic shine, copper ceiling fans complement tropical style.
Use directed track lights to highlight greenery, art or other focal points.
Under Cabinet Lights
LED strip lighting illuminates countertops for tasks while adding ambient glow.
Best Tropical Kitchen Accessories and Decor
Don’t underestimate the power of decor and accents to create a theme. Incorporate:
In natural rattan, bamboo, sea grass or jute, woven baskets lend organic texture.
Macrame Wall Hangings
Display stunning hand-knotted tapestries made from natural fibers or yarn.
Greenery and Plants
Nothing beats fresh florals and foliage to infuse life and vibrancy. Use ferns, orchids or palms.
Terracotta vases, planters and ceramic decor elements add artisanal appeal.
Starfish, coral, sea glass and shells displayed in glass cloches bring coastal essence.
Accent with Turkish towels, Mexican serapes, Indian block prints or Balinese batik fabrics.
Glazed ceramic bowls filled with lemons, limes, pineapples or mangoes provide fresh pops of color.
Vintage Maps or Prints
Black and white botanical artwork, world maps or sailboat prints create contrast.
Create a Tropical Dining Nook
Carve out an intimate dining area with these tips:
- Use a circular or oval-shaped table to soften the setting. Consider a glass top for lightweight appeal.
- Hang a rattan pendant light low over the table to focus the space while adding natural texture.
- Choose wovenbanquette seating or chairs with rattan frames and removable cushions.
- Add potted palms, snake plants or orchids for fresh greenery.
- Use patterns and textures like macrame wall hangings, Berber wool pillows, and ceramics for global flair.
- Define the space with area rugs in natural fibers or Oaxacan-style wool rugs.
- Display fresh flowers and fruits like proteas or pineapples on the tabletop.
- Include lighting like lanterns and sconces to create a cozy ambiance during meals.
Build a Tropical Kitchen Island
Make a bold tropical statement with a kitchen island using these design tips:
Opt for light wood base cabinets reminiscent of driftwood. Paint the inside a punchy hue like mango orange or turquoise for pops when opened.
Quartz or granite surfaces that mimic natural stone in soft neutrals help the space feel grounded.
Woven banana leaf, wicker or rattan stools inject organic texture. Keep legs light for an airy look.
Incorporate open shelving on the end for displaying cherished ceramics, baskets and greenery.
Use woven pendants lights to illuminate the surface for food prep and socializing.
Sink and Faucet
Undermount the sink for streamlined look. Pick matte black or aged brass for the fixtures.
Floral and Fruit Touches
Adorn the island with a bouquet of tropical heliconias or orchids and a stone fruit-filled bowl.
Paint the base of the island a contrasting blue or green hue. Add hardware with an aged brass patina.
Incorporate an Indoor Herb Garden
Fresh herbs brighten up any kitchen. Create a dedicated herb garden with these suggestions:
- Install open shelves or floating ledges on a sunny window for the plants.
- Include planters in ceramics, woven baskets or galvanized metal.
- Good herb choices include chives, basil, thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary.
- For more growing space, mount stacked macrame hangers on the wall to display air plants and succulents.
- Use ceramic egg crates to divide small pots that hold starter plants.
- Place stone garden pebbles or sand in plant saucers for drainage.
- Label herb plant pots using chalkboard tags or letter beads.
- Use a small watering can for care, and mist plants daily for the humidity they prefer.
- For more greenery, hang philodendrons or spider plants in macrame hangers around the shelves.
Add Tropical Flair to Kitchen Cabinets
Without replacing your cabinetry, you can inject tropical pizzazz with these clever ideas:
- Paint the insides of cabinetry a fun color like turquoise, lime green or mango orange for an unexpected pop of color.
- Change knobs and pulls to bamboo or rattan for natural flair.
- Display vibrant ceramic planters atop cabinets to hold trailing ivy, spider plants or succulents.
- Add a bamboo-framed mirror paneled with rattan or seagrass to a cabinet front for texture.
- Attach peel and stick wallpaper with banana leaf or floral motifs inside open shelving.
- Install new cabinet lighting, like rope lighting under cabinets or LED cabinet kickplates.
- Freshen up shelves with removable wallpaper or contact paper in citrus colors or palm prints.
- Organize cabinets using baskets woven from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan or water hyacinth.
- Place a bowl of lemons, limes, pineapples or mangos atop cabinets to inject tropical vibes.
Achieve a Boho-Chic Style
For free-spirited tropical flair, incorporate boho elements:
- Hang bold patterned Moroccan wedding blanket as artwork.
- Display a colorful handmade ceramic vase filled with dried pampas grass.
- Mount macrame plant hangers and filling them with air plants or spider plants.
- Use patterned cement tiles or colorful Oaxacan-style rugs.
- Select a reclaimed wood dining table and curvy metal bistro