How to Design an Indoor Tropical Oasis

October 16, 2023

The space you inhabit should be comfortable and inviting, making you feel relaxed. An interior design aesthetic is different for everyone and based on style and taste, but bringing your vision to life is easy when you understand where to start. A tropical oasis is a popular design that is about comfort and making a space feel like a retreat or vacation. This interior design philosophy can be applied to a living room, a home office, or any area of a home. Whether you live in a warm weather climate and want to bring the outdoors in or just want an oasis to escape winter's chill, here is how to create a jungle vibe and design an indoor tropical space.

Light Up the Space

When thinking about interior design, people often consider furniture, colors, and accessories, which are incredibly relevant, but lighting is also a significant component. When lighting is done well, it highlights the design and adds to the ambiance while going unnoticed.

Lighting should be helpful and allow the room to function, so the intensity will differ in a home office compared to a dining or living room. Consider the color temperature when using LED lighting. LED bulbs emit white light, but that white light will have a dominant color that impacts the tone. A warm tone creates a cozy feeling, ideal for a bedroom, living room, or any space intended for relaxing. A cool tone will be brighter and better suited for kitchens, offices, or areas where you need to be alert and focused on the task at hand. A cozy, warm tone with hints of yellow is best aligned with a tropical oasis vibe, but consider how the space will function and select the appropriate light for how the room will be used.

Go Natural

Cane or wicker furniture is a natural fit for a tropical-inspired space. Select an entire set, a coffee table, or matching end chairs to create an island vibe. Mix and match wicker pieces with upholstered furniture for a luxurious look and feel. Low seating and even floor pillows or pouf chairs add comfort and make the space feel cozy. Wallpaper, rugs, and curtains are other ways to include texture.

Set the Tone

The tropical oasis aesthetic is often represented by rich cream tones coupled with vibrant accents in shades of blue, green, or coral. A classic design will feature aquamarine or Mediterranean blue and emerald greens and have a light and airy feel. Mix things up and create a moody, exotic tropical space using deeper blues, greens, or even purple tones.

Use the 60-30-10 rule when selecting the color palette. This interior design guideline dictates that 60 percent of the room should be the primary color, use a secondary color for 30 percent, and feature an accent color throughout 10 percent of the space. Adhering to these ratios creates a balanced look. Feature the primary color on the walls and add the secondary and accent color on cushions, throws, curtains, wall art, and other pieces, like lampshades and decor items.

Bring the Outdoors In

Plants are a big part of the tropical experience and feature heavily in this design aesthetic. Lush greenery completely aligns with the tropical feel, and houseplants add vibrant energy to a space.

A heavily fenestrated Monstera deliciosa or split-lead Philodendron are the hallmarks of tropical design, but there are many plants to choose from. The vining Monstera adansonii prefers a high perch, like on a tall shelf or on top of an armoire, because that gives the stems room to cascade and display the unique foliage. Mature adansonii plants have perforate leaves, or rather naturally occurring fenestrations or holes. The Monstera adansonii is all about foliage and has an unassuming tropical ambiance.

If you are a skilled plant parent or looking for more of a challenge, consider the Fiddle Leaf Fig. This small tree hails from tropical rainforests in western Africa and has broad, waxy green leaves with a slight ripple. A Fiddle Leaf Fig is not for the faint of heart, but with proper houseplant care, this beauty can reach six feet tall, creating a lush canopy that will add height and texture to your design.

Evaluate your space, ability, and dedication to determine the best plants for your home. A lot of tropical plants have the right look but require bright, indirect sunlight, so windows with southern exposure are best, but not all tropical plants need a lot of light. Increased humidity is also ideal for houseplants that hail from tropical climates. Consider these factors, but know that you can use grow lights or a humidifier to make a less-than-ideal spot the perfect location.


If houseplants aren't your thing, consider hanging framed prints of tropical foliage to enjoy the look of plants without the work. Framed artwork can also feature treasured family photos, paintings, or anything you enjoy. Artwork does not have to align with the decor theme, so don't feel compelled to hang beach landscapes in a tropical-inspired space unless you really enjoy the artwork. You can always make hanging artwork fit the room by selecting a frame that matches the style and tone.

Home decor accessories make a space feel finished, but remember that less is often more. Avoid overdoing it and adding so many items that the room has a cluttered feeling. Add functional items, like baskets that can be used for storage and trays that can convert a footstool into a table. Also, look for whimsical items that make you happy. The goal is for the space to be fun and personally curated, so it should feature items that make you smile. Select items that match the size and scale of the room and coordinate with the color scheme. Things do not need to be perfectly color-matched, but make sure they are part of the same color family so they do not look out of place.

Design Your Oasis

A tropical oasis space can conjure a faraway locale or simply bring the outside in. Interior design is about making a room look and function a certain way, and while it can be intimidating to design your own space, the reward is worth the effort. Break things down and consider each element and how everything works together to design your space. You can create the tropical oasis you want with the proper lighting, elements, colors, and accessories.


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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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