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Head to the tropics without leaving home

From the Resene decorating blog

Struggling to make your way to a warm-weathered getaway this year? No problem, there are easy ways to bring the same sense of serenity and relaxation into your home.

A tropical themed teen bedroom

Teenagers who want a theme in their bedroom that isn’t too youthful will love the moody, sumptuous feel of olive green – not too babyish yet with a hint of attitude. A beach-mural will allow them a sense of uniqueness, and if it reminds them of a holiday they loved then it’ll install a sense of optimism into the space.

Wall painted in Resene Olive Green with hand-painted palm tree in Resene Celeste, floor in Resene Spanish White, shelves in Resene Olive Green, desk in Resene Element, chair in Resene Fawn Green, pencil cup in Resene Olive Green, painted books in Resene Vis Vis, Resene Celeste and Resene Fawn Green, DIY ‘surf’ artwork in Resene Vis Vis and Resene Olive Green, magnets in Resene Vis Vis, Resene Celeste, Resene Fawn Green, device holder in Resene Fawn Green, rubbish bin in Resene Element, plant pot (on shelf) in Resene Olive Green and small round bud vase (on shelf) in Resene Element. Headboard from Cane Collective, bedlinen from Mood Store, linen throw from H&M, green duffle bag and desk lamp from Citta, rug, headphones, rubbish bin and device charger/holder from Kmart, magnetic noteboard from IKEA. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

The rustle of the palm trees, the lapping of the waves and the warm breeze floating down the beach; the magic of some holidays resonates and stays with us.

It's no surprise that we crave that sense of wellbeing all year round, especially in winter when we need it the most.

Taking a break to a coastal retreat leaves us feeling mentally and emotionally and physically restored, we’re reset, having removed the negative elements that disrupt our wellbeing. Contentment and relaxation take centre stage.

The good news is that you can infuse your home with those elements of relaxation. With the right paint colours and décor, and a certain approach to special elements, holiday vibes can dictate the narrative of your home.

You may not be able to visit and benefit from the positive impact of a tropical retreat regularly, complete with sun-kissed beaches and azure waters lapping at your feet, but you can bring the same sense of tranquillity and relaxation into your interior through the right schemes.

While you don’t need to create a replica of a typical Balinese or Hawaiian home, you can evoke the feel of a favourite tropical place that resonates in your memory. Seek design inspiration from the colour palette commonly found there and draw on the elements that moved you such as the main colours, fabrics and the local plants with their signature heady scent.

Love the lush green of palm trees swaying against a picture-perfect blue sky? Or how peachy pink sunsets melt into the Pacific? How about the orange of the tropical flora? Find out what moves you and let these inspire decor choices; they will evoke positivity and therapeutic effects so important to our well-being.

While nautical destinations such as the Hamptons typically draw on coastal palettes of navy and white and taupe, tropical destinations future afield have more of a zestiness and flamboyant quality, celebrating brighter hues. Whether you’re drawing on the Bahamas, Hawaii or Bali, the decor in all of these places has one common thread – relaxation.

In Bali extreme colours are celebrated within homes, landscapes and food. Evoke the lush green of the ancient rice fields with rich and deep Resene Green Pea and watery Resene Summer Green, playful, calming and rejuvenating. Touch on the pale blue and hot pink of the sunsets with blue pastel Resene Onahau and cherubic pink Resene Cupid. Gold, emerald green and burnt orange are typical colours among Balinese architecture and can revive your home by way of sweet orange Resene Gold Drop, the clean green Resene Parsley and red-based orange Resene Tangerine. Harmonise these bold hues throughout your home by integrating the same floor style and trim colours, running consistently throughout the space.

A tropical themed home office

A tropical pattern on the walls drives the décor in this office space, where paint colours echo the hues of the print to provide continuity. By pulling out the same blue-greens in varying shades onto the furniture and flooring, a seamlessness exists which is easy on the eye.

Wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection 47404, floor in Resene Thor, coffee table in Resene Pale Leaf (background), Resene Thor (vine leaves), Resene Swamp (large simple leaf) and Resene Green Meets Blue (palm leaf), hand chair stained in Resene Colorwood Driftwood (applied with rag), pendant lamp in Resene Thor, desk in Resene Thor with drawer in Resene Casper, cane desk chair in Resene Surf Crest and background vase in Resene Nero. Artwork from Nood. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

An earthy blue-grey moodboard

Deep, sumptuous colours have their place within coastal retreat settings as well as light ones. Earthy blue-grey is a relaxing, cocooning colour that is perfect for bedroom walls and furniture. Vary its shades for added interest and the result will add to the restfulness of the room.

Timber floorboards finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash exude a seaside retreat-feel in their natural beauty, and don’t forget the role plants play in the tropical feel of a space. A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from left to right) Resene Dark Slate, Resene Yucca, Resene Haven, Resene Half Bison Hide and Resene Tana, vases (clockwise from right) in Resene Cobblestone, Resene Tana and Resene Evolution and book wrapped in Resene Wallpaper Collection 537833. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

Overgrown plants in pots or the garden also lend a tropical air, providing a buffer from the outside world. If you have a courtyard, think of how meandering scented plants, a tranquil water feature and a hammock can transform it into a true retreat, the ultimate place to unwind with a book or take an afternoon snooze. Plants that come to life at night – such as frangipani with its sweet tropical scent cater to the senses in a way that a tropical holiday does.

Who can ignore the deep aquamarines and turquoise of the Caribbean; the ultimate holiday destination? Bring the same sense of slowing down into your home as an island paradise, far from the stresses of daily life. Dark and light blues pair with sand to evoke the hues of the clear sky, ocean and sandy beaches. Throw in another accent colour for added interest such as a muted green. Think the surf-fresh blue of Resene Bondi Blue, the pale hopeful Resene Aquarius with the light neutral of Resene Alpaca.

A tonal blue living room

Tonal blues layer beside metallic accents in an elegant bar corner of this dining room awash with calming blues. Combine with tropical plants and art décor lighting, and you'll have a sense of seaside Casablanca.

Walls painted in Resene Seachange, arch in Resene Awash, floor in Resene Breathless, lipped shelves in Resene Awash, pot in Resene Rhino with stripe in Resene Breathless and triangle motif in Resene Awash and small vase (on shelf, with bar tools) in Resene Breathless. Brass plant pot (on shelf) from H&M Home, plant from Mood Store. Project by Melle Van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

Hawaii has long been a holiday destination, drawing crowds to its stress-free lifestyle. Life here has a stress-free feel, where you’re away from the hustle of major cities, close to the fresh waters and lush landscapes full of palm trees and hibiscus in rich, bright colours. Evoke this tropical palette with the luscious calming green of Resene Goblin paired with intoxicating colours pink-red Resene Irresistible and the exotic purple of Resene Daisy Bush.

Paint your walls in the coral of Resene Glorious – it hints at ripe watermelon and mango – with accents in the blue-green of Resene Keppel and Resene Deep Sea, a shade darker. You’ll hone in on those green landscapes and colourful flowers found around the local homes and further inland of Maui and O’ahu. The islands’ iconic leis are made from pretty bright flowers in purples and pinks, oranges – the ultimate tropical palette to inspire your home’s range of colours.

Anyone who has visited the paradise that is the Greek Islands will recall the whitewashed houses with splashes of colour on their doors and windows. Spearmint, turquoise and blue greens are scattered across the island, bringing an element of freshness and vitality so typical of the ocean-cliff villages themselves. Capture this tranquillity with the fresh white of Resene Rice Cake, peacock green of Resene Niagara or cornflower of Resene Delta Blue. Paint your internal and external window frames and doors in green or blue, against white walls for a fresh, relaxing feel. Paired with sheer white curtains, ceramics in soft pastels and soft textiles to lie upon, you’ll complete your retreat-like space.

For something with a touch more zest, look to the coral, green and yellow of the Caribbean. Pink can brighten up a space softly, but it offers more – a calming presence and perfect accompaniment to other hues. Coral next to green and blue creates a warm and welcoming space that oozes the sense of a boutique hotel room. Think joyous Resene Rapture paired with the bright green of Resene Impromptu and intense yellow Resene Supernova for a scheme full of life. These colours on walls and decor items next to dark walnut-toned wood and fresh white will create a fun-filled scheme, joyful and optimistic.

A more restful version of these colours might be preferred in your relaxation rooms such as the bedroom. The serene white of Resene Rich Cake paired with natural wood gives off the same relaxing vibe of a Tulum seaside retreat. Complete with a muslin canopy overhead and sheer curtains and fringed bedding for that laid-back feel.

The key to a tropical retreat-like space is how it encourages you to unwind and relax. Use the right furniture to allow for this, with comfortable couches, floor cushions and bold greenery with large leaves to lend a tropical air – your interior shouldn’t be stuffy or uncomfortable. After all, it’s how you use your home that creates a retreat-like feeling too, so ensure the special flow is easy and uncluttered. Bring in relaxing music and trees near your windows that attract birdlife. With all these elements you can be taken back to your favourite getaway, without the hassle of leaving your home. Make your paradise haven at home and say goodbye to those holiday blues. You’ll feel like you’re on holiday every day!

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

February 12, 2023

For more colour and wallpaper ideas and inspiration about how to bring the tropics into your home, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Colour Expert free online or book a Resene Colour Consultation.

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