Materials for creating a tropical theme are not expensive and are usually easily found in craft, thrift, and party goods stores. Several catalogs also have sections dedicated to tropical themed items as well. Look for things such as grass skirts, flowered items and flowered fabric, coconuts, palm trees, seashells and umbrellas. A trip to the local paint store is also a necessity to determine a color scheme. Be creative and have fun... consider using items in unique ways rather than in their assumed manner.
Painting the Walls
There are many options in painting a room to be "in the tropics". Some options to consider include:
- a wall mural depicting the ocean
- sand-colored walls
- bright colors of the sunset
- muted colors of an early sunrise
- shades of blue
- colors of tropical island flowers
- keeping it neutral with white and adding color in other ways
Mural painting sounds difficult, but it can be as easy as coloring in a coloring book or finishing a color-by-number project. Decide upon a scene, which can be taken from a photograph, a magazine clipping, or just from the imagination. If unsure about drawing on the wall freehand, use an overhead transparency plastic sheet, place it over the design, and trace it with a permanent marker. Next, shine it on the wall, and simply trace it directly on the wall with a pencil.
Decide on paint colors and their placement, and for ease of painting, number each section according to the color to be used. Be sure to allow time for each color to dry before moving onto adjacent sections. If a cartoon effect is desired, trace the outline of each part of the mural with a black permanent marker to make it stand out. A softer, more muted effect can be created by blending colors together at their edges, such as might be done in painting a sunset.
Decorating the tropical room can be a lot of fun, with a little creativity. If the walls have been painted in a neutral tone, a large tropical print or photo would be appropriate to hang in a prominent place. A silk potted palm in a corner of the room is a nice touch.
Window valances can be made by cutting a grass skirt into the desired width and attaching it to the curtain rod with adhesive velcro. The same grass skirt can be used around the edge of a desk or shelving unit. Border a bulletin board, a headboard, or a clock with colorful hibiscus flowers.
Seashells are inexpensive and easy to work with. Hot glue them around a mirror, to the edge of a lampshade and even to your wall ( they are removable). Place some of them in a bowl filled with sand, and add a candle.
Hawaiian prints are great for covering headboards, swagging across windows and as table covers for side tables. Covering the bed can be simple with the many themed "bed in a bag" sets available in stores now. A single color can be used as well, with decorative pillows for accents. An easy surfboard decoration for the top of a bed can be made using a sheet of styrofoam and acrylic paints.
If decorating a child's room, consider adding tiny tropical patio lights in a palm tree or around the room as a border for extra flair. Even the toy department has items such as stuffed lizards, monkeys, and toucans which would be colorful and fun. Add a beach chair and a colorful umbrella to create a unique reading corner.
The End Result
Most importantly, a room should reflect its owner's tastes. If it is pleasing to the decorator, then it is a job well done. The finished result should be a sanctuary which takes one away to calm sandy beaches, cool ocean breezes and the bright, beautiful surroundings of the tropics.