Featured image for "Polynesian Decorating Ideas" blog post. Polynesian coastal decor in a living room.

Polynesian Decorating Ideas

If you want to bring some Polynesian decorating ideas into your home, come aboard and be inspired! Polynesian decor is saturated in bright and crisp colors, tropical fauna, rich wooden elements, and charming nautical accents. Where exactly do these exotic Polynesian interior design ideas hail from? The paradise known as Polynesia is actually a giant geographic area within the Pacific Ocean that is home to over 10,000 islands. Some of the major nations of Polynesia include New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Tuvalu, and the very popular island of Hawaii.

Hawaii. the 50th U.S. state, and one of the best-known islands of the Polynesian triangle, has a long history prior to its American incorporation. Evidence suggests that its earliest tribal inhabitants migrated from various regions of 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 its many unique and inspiring arts and crafts practices.

As we all know, this region of the tropics is widely adored as a hot spot for global vacationers looking to enjoy the beautiful gifts of Polynesian paradisiac life. Instead of only enjoying this amazing aesthetic on the Christmas holiday or summer vacation, you can simply bring the essence of the Hawaiian Islands and Polynesia into your home. These Polynesian home decor ideas will look beyond fishing motifs and prints of surfers and coconuts, to explore a variety of artistries and decor. Adorn your abode in the vivacity of the Oceanic with these inspiring Polynesian decorating ideas.

Colors & Fabrics

Begin with the basics and remember that 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 Polynesia, keep your color scheme vivid and crisp. For your bedroom, find linens in botanic greens and yellows. If you are reinventing your family or living room, you can pick out a monochrome couch in 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 Polynesian home decor fabrics, you will have the choice of a wide assortment of vintage and contemporary patterns. Go DIY! 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 Decor

Once you have the basic layout of your colors and textiles, you can complement it with nautical home decor objects. Adding some dark blues and grays can make your room look more modern, sleek, and contrast from the brighter elements. It’s easy to find lamps and candle holders decorated with nautical themes, like anchors, surfing imagery, whales, and starfishes. When exploring Polynesian wall decor ideas, don’t be afraid to go outside the box and get a Kraken stenciled on your accent wall!

Tropical Furniture

Another easy way to enhance the Hawaiian atmosphere in your room is by 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 grays of the more nautical design elements. You may also want to play with another home decor style 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.

The various rooms in your home will require an array of furniture pieces with differing functionalities. In your kitchen space, a light or dark solid wood dining table with bright white chairs can give you an eye-catching tropically inspired color contrast. Woven or wicker-styled accent chairs and furniture pieces, like headboards and storage baskets, will augment an authentic tribal feel. A chest of drawers with a lively color pattern or hand-painted tropical theme can work well in a variety of home spaces including hallways and bedrooms. If you’re feeling bold, a canopy bed with billowy sheer curtains is a perfect choice for a Polynesian-inspired motif.


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Trendy ceiling fans and eye-catching light fixtures are terrific upgrading additions to the list of Polynesian decorating ideas. To imitate the refreshing breeze of the tropics and, at the same time, cheaply cool your home, install a ceiling fan fixture. Just like you might find in a Hawaiian home or hotel, consider installing a ceiling fan with banana, fern, or wide palm leaf-shaped blades.

Add elegant silver light sconces, candelabras, or lamps and you will add light and give any room or hallway the feel of a more refined island resort. Brass or bronze fixtures can add a similar quintessence with increased durability and hearty practicality. Keep your metal fixtures and silver accessories polished, clean, and tarnish-free by adopting routine usage of a superior quality polishing cloth like the Champion Polishing Cloth. You can also get bold and tropical by adding a stylish paper lamp or ceiling light sphere to your repertoire.

Tropical Wall Decor

Have some fun and add in your favorite Polynesian decoration tropical art pieces and wall accessories. These pops of personality can truly make your space feel thought out and are perfect Polynesian decorating ideas. Depending on your budget or level of artistry, you can go big and bold or add relevant smaller pieces throughout.

Wall art pieces and paintings are a fantastic and straightforward way to incorporate a beach-side feel anywhere in your home. For a more personal touch, consider your most beloved activities or elements of the tropics and find the corresponding artwork to match. Think gorgeously colorful paintings or prints of tropical fish or perhaps a rendering of a red ocean sunset. Not only will these add bursts of enhancing color, but they will also aid in augmenting the impression of a Pacific paradise.

Accent walls can be added and embellished to create depth and personality in a more muted room. You can choose a solid vibrant shade – a variation of green, indigo, or orange, to liven up the atmosphere. If your walls already consist of visible textures or graphic patterns, a simpler flat-toned accent wall can provide a similarly upgrading effect. Colorful wall decals, like bright green palm and banana leaves or vivid hibiscus flowers, are a top-notch way to easily and affordably modify a dull wall without painting.

Antique Accessories

In contrast to the shells, coconuts, flowers, and palm trees that immediately come to mind when envisioning typical Polynesian decorating ideas, 19th Century antique pieces, or quality reproductions that draw their inspiration from this colonial period, also bode well in this category of interior design. For historical reference, the Hawaiian Islands became a desirable tourist travel location beginning in the 1860s. This decorating style will invoke the feel of a vintage luxury Hawaiian resort. The Royal Hawaiian, an almost 100-year-old example of this historic styling, relied on lavish Victorian elements to entice its opulence-hungry guests.

To achieve this aesthetic, you will include furniture and decorations made of darker woods like mahogany, walnut, cherry, or rosewood. These pieces, whether artwork or woodwork, are often very ornate. When choosing your real or faux antiques, search for decor fashioned with spires, crockets, bold incising, C or S-scrolls, and elegant fabric tufting. You will need to delicately care for any upholstery with specially formulated fabric washes like Champion Delicate Wash. The piece, regardless of price, should elicit an air of true island sophistication.

Natural Polynesian Decorating Ideas

To evoke the Polynesian spirit within your home, it is 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 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. Hibiscus and other species may be easier to find in some places, so consult your local gardening resources!

Another way to conjure the beautiful natural Polynesian motif is to welcome nature into your home via your windows. If you cannot, or choose not to physically open your windows, there are some essential tips you can follow to score this light and breezy feel. Keep your windows sparkling clean, crystal clear, and free of clutter to enjoy the effervescent airiness you would feel on a Polynesian seaside beach. Invest in a high-performance glass and window cleaner for the best results. If you opt for window treatments, the addition of sheer curtains or drapes will allow just the right amount of natural light to further highlight your living space.


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Whether you are specifically searching for Polynesian decorating ideas, or any fashion of decor, your home’s flooring will always be a key piece of the interior design puzzle. It is, literally and figuratively, the base and foundation of your home. Flooring accounts for a massive amount of your living space and it is important that it mesh perfectly with your design choices. In terms of Polynesian-inspired tropical design, your two flooring champions will be tile or wood.

The contemporary popularity of wood flooring means that you may already have a great base in place for your mini Hawaiian paradise. Original or aftermarket installed hardwood floors are an obvious favorite amongst designers and homeowners. Bamboo, oak, cherry, maple, walnut, and hickory are classic and durable choices. For a lower price point, engineered and laminate wood are viable and trendy flooring options. A proper old-fashioned dust mop will keep your floors looking beautiful and timeless.

If you travel to Hawaii, the Polynesian islands, or any hot, tropical destination, you will find that tile is a common flooring preference. Ceramic tile offers a fantastic combination of low-cost, durability, and style. Porcelain tile is slightly more expensive but offers even more resilience and water resistance. For a crisp, clean look, stick with white or off-white tones and stay away from colorful or busy tile patterns. To maintain tile flooring properly, use a non-woven floor mop like the Champion Yellow Wet Mop specifically intended for this purpose.

Outdoor Areas

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The essence of the natural environment abounds in Polynesian home decor. An excellent way to usher in this al fresco identity is to focus on the design of your outdoor living space. Step out your back door and into your backyard oasis! Maybe you have a pool, and while you won’t be able to surf, you’ll have an appropriate place to set up your beach lounge chairs (sand-free!). Give yourself the comfort of a picnic table, complete with bamboo placemats, in your backyard, along with stylish Polynesian home decor embellishments.

You can surround your outdoor gathering area with Tiki torches (especially hard carved ones with indigenous designs) for added charm, set up some hammocks, hanging plants, 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 decor. Remember the textiles you used for your main living areas? Save some for the luau. We hope you have enjoyed these Polynesian decorating ideas!

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