Real Estate

Decorating Island-Style is Easier Than You Think

January 27, 2016, 9:23 AM HST
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Pier 1_Image 1.jpg source:, 2015:

Pier 1_Image 1.jpg
source:, 2015:

So, you’ve finally found your perfect Hawai‘i dream home and now it’s time to decorate. Decorating island-style is easier than you think! Creating a timeless, laid-back, beachy or tropically inspired interior is definitely more fun than stress.

It’s easy to find Hawa‘i-inspired furnishings at locally owned boutiques, or you can get creative and craft some designs yourself. There are so many incredible artists and artisans in Hawai‘i, so shopping for your new home decor is not only going to be fun, but a great learning experience.

One of the best tips for decorating your Hawaiian home is to bring the tropical elements indoors. Fill your home with fragrant and colorful plants, make use of open spaces with views, and allow Hawai‘i’s natural environment to permeate whenever possible. Take a look through these three easy and awesome island-style interior design themes…

Collections_Image 2.jpg source:, 2015:

Collections_Image 2.jpg
source:, 2015:

Island Vintage

Whether you grew up in Hawai‘i or grew up visiting Hawai‘i, you’ll definitely recognize an island vintage style. Think rattan chairs and bamboo coffee tables, warm tropical tones like palm greens, rusts and corals, and tan and white painted walls.


Vintage Hawaiian prints and macrame plant hangers fit this look well, along with retro surf paraphernalia. Island vintage can be inspired by all past decades—’40s,’50s,’60s and ’70s. To achieve this look, hit up some secondhand stores, local church rummage sales, swap meets and Craigslist.


Depending on the season, you might be able to find some key pieces at local furniture stores like Lifestyle Maui, Pier 1 Imports, or on the Urban Outfitters or Pottery Barn websites.

Macy's_Image 3.jpg source:, 2015:

Macy’s_Image 3.jpg source:, 2015:

Tropical Contemporary aka Hawaiiana

The best way to sum up this look is to think about the ultimate island-comfort look mixed with a Tommy Bahama-inspired flavor. This is a common look throughout Hawai‘i, especially in hotel rooms and vacation rentals.


Without trying too hard, home designers can easily achieve this look with solid wood furniture, cozy furnishings, warm lighting, Hawaiiana-print fabrics and textiles, and a neutral color palette.

This is perhaps one of the easier looks to obtain in Hawai‘i, because most of the mass-market furniture stores carry tropical contemporary furnishings.

To achieve this look, shop locally at Macy’s, HomeWorld and Lifestyle Maui or Ethan Allen online. You might even find a few key pieces at Costco.

Beach Traveler Shabby-Chic

Think shabby chic furniture with exotic prints and natural fibers. This look can easily incorporate white fabrics, plush furnishings, heavy wooden furniture (perhaps from Bali), unique ethnic textiles, live indoor and outdoor plants, colorful wall art, seashells and jute floor coverings.

To achieve this look, first think classic, then think well-traveled, then beachy. To achieve this look, search local furniture and design stores, Indonesian import stores, Pier 1 Imports, Cost Plus World Market or Joss & Main online.

Mahalo for reading our “Decorating Island-style Is Easier Than You Think” article! Please share some of your favorite island style design ideas in the comment section below…

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