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Tropical with a twist


After relaxing in the tropics, one can expect to be calmer, more relaxed and rejuvenated.

Warm weather coastal environments have a positive impact on people’s well-being – an effect that should come as no surprise, considering how tropical locales have a way of removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety.

Tropical green and gold bedroom

A tropical green mood board

Tropical green mood board

A tropical green and gold bedroom

Mood board: Timber background in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash with 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.

But since most of us can’t spend every day soaking up the sun in paradise and not everyone has ocean waves right in their backyard, looking to recreating some of the magic of a tropical getaway through your décor and colour scheme can achieve some of the same therapeutic effects without booking a flight. Both in the world of design, and of environmental psychology, it has become abundantly clear how possible it is to achieve this goal. The way your interior surroundings impact your health and well-being can be altered in a largely positive way just by implementing a few small changes to your home décor.

Representative of hot and humid destinations like Bali, Hawaii, the West Indies and the Caribbean, tropical décor tends to be brighter, bolder and more cheerful than your typical coastal décor. Though the colour palettes of these two styles carry some similarities such as breezy pale blues like Resene Cut Glass, shell whites like Resene Seashell and sandy beiges like Resene Golden Sand, tropical style can also feature hints of vibrant greens like Resene Crusoe, turquoises like Resene Surfie Green and Resene Niagara, hot pinks like Resene Irresistible and warm yellows like Resene Wild Thing. Palm tree and banana leaf motifs are a can’t-miss element of this look, as are woven materials and textures. In tropical environments, locals use what is available to build and design their spaces – so when it comes to furniture that fits well with a tropical scheme, rattan, cane, bamboo, warm exotic woods like acacia and teak are ideal.

While what is relaxing for one person may be different for another, shifting your palette to something of a hybrid scheme that marries more subdued and recessive coastal colours with tropical décor elements is likely more appealing for a rest space like a bedroom than bold brights would be. That way, you’ll be left with a room that meets your recovery needs while still meshing with the rest of your tropical-themed home.

Bedroom design - tropical décor

Detail of tropical palm tree headboard

Paint: Wall in Resene Dark Slate, Timber floor finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, Headboard in Resene Triple Blanc with palm tree designs in Resene Yucca, Resene High Tide, Resene Half Bison Hide and Resene Rum Swizzle, Bedside tables in Resene Triple Blanc, Vase in Resene Half Lemon Grass (top) and Resene Tana (bottom), Lamp base in Resene High Tide and shade in Resene Half Bison Hide, Book wrapped in Resene Wallpaper Collection 537833.  Accessories: Rug from Freedom; Linen from Container Door; Sheets from Society of Wanderers; Cushion from Castle & Things; Throws, lamp and bedside table from Kmart.

Although light colours are often the first that come to mind, Resene Dark Slate, a deep and earthy blue grey, is an amazing choice for bedroom walls in a tropical-meets-coastal look. It’s warming without being too warm and the depth creates a cocooning vibe that only adds to the restfulness of the space and allows you to opt for alluring white and off-white bed linens without the space appearing washed out. Timber floorboards finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash also have a strong tie to coastal style, given their weathered-looking hue, and make an excellent base for grounding the room with a neutral hue that still allows the texture and natural beauty of the wood grain to show through. To contrast with the wall colour, side tables and a headboard in light and creamy Resene Triple Blanc brings some levity and acts a blank canvas to paint a subtle-hued palm motif using Resene testpots in Resene Yucca, Resene High Tide, Resene Half Bison Hide and Resene Rum Swizzle.

From a scientific standpoint, plants are a crucial part of any healthy environment. Their effects on air quality specifically, are very effective for any home environment. They absorb the carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the air. In the process, this also purifies the air of other toxins as well. Research even shows that plants can absorb sound, quietening noise coming in from outdoors and noise created indoors. Fresh palm trees, bird of paradise, bamboo, ficus, orchids, bromeliads and anthurium are all great options for a tropical-inspired setting. To help them look more at home in your scheme, be sure to paint their pots in accent colours that directly connect to your palette such as Resene Tana, Resene Lemon Grass, Resene Yucca or Resene Rum Swizzle – which will all play off your headboard design – or add hints of gold in Resene Hot Toddy or an olive green like Resene Saratoga to break things up.

Apply these same hues to other decorative elements in your space like vases, bowls, picture frames and other small accessories and you’ll be sure to have a unified, cohesive space to relax and rejuvenate at the end of a long day.


Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Styling by Annick Larkin. Photography by Bryce Carleton. 2022


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.