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How to Surf the Hawaiian Décor Wave

The 50th U.S. state has a long history prior to its American incorporation. Evidence suggests that its earliest inhabitants migrated from Polynesia and other Oceanic islands to their new homeland approximately 300 CE. While the Polynesian culture remains Hawaii’s predominant ancestral influence, the state became the home of many other ethnicities and nationalities in the past 200 years—with large presences of the Filipino, Korean, Latino, Japanese, Samoan, and Chinese communities. Spanning over nineteen volcanic islands, this multifaceted culture expresses its creativity through many inspiring arts and crafts practices. If you want to give your home a taste of the Hawaiian décor style, come aboard!

Hawaiian decor outside
Beautiful display of Hawaiian decor outside

Colors & Fabrics

A well-lit, ample room is best for this theme. If you are working with a smaller space, consider adding mirrors and soft lighting to give a better sense of depth. To evoke the freshness of Hawaii, keep your color scheme vivid and crisp. For your bedroom, find linens in botanic greens and yellows. If you are reinventing your living room, you can pick out a monochrome couch on one of these shades or choose a white set with floral or plant patterns.

Burnt orange and guava shades refract light beautifully, so they are excellent choices for curtains. If you are able to procure traditional Hawaiian décor fabrics, you will have the choice of a wide assortment of vintage and contemporary patterns. Go DIY, you! Remember that the key to an enchanting color scheme is: 60-30-10. Your primary color will take over 60% of the space—here you should consider softer, more muted shades of vivid, bright colors.

This is how you will cover your main surfaces: floors, couches, walls, etc. Next, your secondary color will be on 30% of the total area: a perfect ratio for a lively color, but not quite jewel tone level yet. Your secondary color is perfect for curtains, tablecloths, and other accessories. Lastly, your accent color will be on 10% of visible surfaces, it should complement your other color choices, but it’s a chance for you to have fun and pick a special hue. You will mostly be picking out objects, finishes, and details in this color.

Nautical Décor

Hawaiian beach sunset
Give your home a taste of the Hawaiian beach

Once you have the basic layout of your colors and textiles, you can complement it with nautical décor objects. Adding some dark blues and greys can make your room look more modern, sleek, and contrast from the brighter elements. It’s easy to find lamps and candleholders decorated with nautical themes, like anchors, whales, and starfishes. Don’t be afraid to go outside the box and get a Kraken stenciled on our accent wall!

Tropical Furniture

Another easy way to enhance the Hawaiian atmosphere in your room is incorporating furniture pieces in bamboo, driftwood, and other rustic wooden materials. Darker furniture will be useful to contrast with a lighter color scheme. Go lighter if you are going for the deep blues and rocky shore greys of the more nautical elements. You may also want to play with another home décor dimension: texture. To create a more frugal space, you can add variety in the materials used to embellish the space: textured walls, woven grass, stones, and raw wood.

Champion dust magnet mop
Champion Dust Magnet Mop

Hawaiian Décor Crafts

The kapa, one of Hawaii’s oldest cultural symbols, is a fabric made with fibers from the inner bark of trees and shrubs. During the Hawaiian monarchy, the kapa could be used to denote hierarchy and for worshipping purposes. The technical process has changed throughout time, but kapas usually maintain the same style of intricate patterns.

Hawaiian Nature

Hawaiian hibiscus
Hawaiian hibiscus

To evoke the Hawaiian spirit within your home, it’s important to recreate some of its most endearing natural elements. Depending on your location, you may not be able to grow the same flora and fauna as the paradisiac archipelago, but you can always get perfectly-manicured floral arrangements or prints and photographs! A group of flowering plants known as Hawaiian lobelioids are endemic to the islands, you may know some of them as brighamia, lobelia, trematolobelia, clermontia, cyanea, or delissea. Due to increasing deforestation, some of these species may be endangered so definitely do not try to grow them at home. Hawaiian hibiscus and other species may be easier to find in some places, so consult your local gardening resources!

Outdoor Areas

Hawaiian outdoor decor
Hawaiian outdoor decor

Give yourself the comfort of a picnic table in your backyard, along with stylish Hawaiian décor embellishments. You can surround your outdoor gathering area with Tiki torches for added charm, set up some hammocks, and swings. Don’t forget to tend to your garden and lawn! You’ve got all the ingredients for a laid-back session of food and jamming with your friends and family. Light up the grill—or a bonfire, go bold!—and don’t skip on the décor. Remember the textiles you used for your main living areas? Save some for the lu’au.