Tropical Style Homes (Exteriors)
Check out these spectacular homes showcasing the Tropical style architecture.
1. Hillside Ocean View Home in Costa Rica by Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture
This wonderful Tropical-style home has a touch of modern designs to its straight lines, white flat roofs and exposed dark gray metal beams that support a balcony hanging over the blue swimming pool below. This balcony is paired with tall glass sliding doors and glass walls.
This Tropical-style home has an infinity pool paired with a breathtaking treetop view of the ocean that can be enjoyed on the L-shaped wooden sofa by the pool as well as the wooden lawn chairs. This area can be accessed through the large opening of the kitchen and dining area that has folding glass doors.
2. Breezy and Sprawling Tropical Island Villa With Infinity Pool
This lovely Tropical-style home has an outdoor bar and outdoor dining area in a large open structure beside the pool. This structure has a white flat roof supported by beige walls and gray columns. These ordinary tones are augmented by the beautiful landscaping of the poolside scene.
This is the entryway to the Tropical-style home that has modern details to it like the flat roof and precise angles and lines. There is a set of steps leading up to this entryway that is flanked with a couple of gray columns and adorned with beige stone walls that go well with the lush green landscaping.
3. MM Architects Creates Stunning Tropical Waterfront “Oceanique” Villas
This is the view from the beach of this Tropical-style home that has modern white structures that are dominated by right angles and abundant glass walls in order to showcase the wonderful beach view accessed through the backyard that has tall tropical trees dancing with the breeze.
See the rest of this home here. Designed by MM Architecture
This closer view of the Tropical-style home puts emphasis on the tall glass walls and sliding glass doors that open up to reveal a simple interior in order to pull focus onto the charming tropical scenery of the blue pool that has an outdoor sitting area beside it.
4. Pye Residence – A Tropical Mansion by Crosby Creations Drafting & Design
This cheerful Tropical-style home has a Farmhouse-style twist to it. It has white A-frame roofs that go well with its light green plank walls. This is augmented by the tall tinted glass walls that show a few glimpses of the porch and balcony section of the second level.
This is the view of the main entrance of this charming Tropical-style home. The glass double doors are on the second level reached through a set of Y-shaped stairs from the concrete walkway of the lush landscaping that goes well with the light green exterior walls.
5. Litibu by Palma
This is a view of the house exterior that has concrete exterior structures with wooden windows and doors that fold open and topped with palm leaf roofs giving it a rustic tropical look.
6. Mirlo by Palma
This is a full view of the tropical-style home that has bright walls, red clay tile roofs on one side, and a palm hut with a concrete base and bamboo frames on the other side. These are then complemented by the surrounding tall tropical trees.
Tropical Style Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of Tropical-style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Tropical-style photo galleries for each room.
The following examples are from this house.
Tropical Style House Landscaping
See more Tropical-style house landscaping ideas here.
What is Tropic Home Decor?
Tropical home style, also referred to as tropical modernism, provides a blend of modernism with island living aspects to produce a combination of clean architectural lines and the use of vibrant natural wood materials, flora, and lighting. Notably, the style is famous for its use of low overhang ceiling and roof designs as well as the casual but high-end luxury feel of living. Many detailed aspects are borrowed from local customs and habits, which vary depending on which island the specifics are borrowed from.
The basis of the style, no surprise, is rooted in tropical settings and styles. Lighting and natural plant colors are essential for the style to come into play after the architecture has been finished. The total combination is a unique mix of visual and sensory stimuli with very light or white colors for the structure, vibrant deep colors provided by plants and similar placement, and framework and furniture providing rich browns and burgundies from tropical trees.
Natural light is a must for the style to work, so large windows and openings are easily found in a tropical style home as well, including the ability to open these portals to let in the fresh air. Well before air conditioning ever arrived original tropical homes used ocean breezes for cooling inside, and the style borrowed the windows designs for the same look. Finally, the landscaping of a tropical home will seem to mesh with both the interior and the outside with an abundance of plants, tropical trees, flowers, and greenery.
The beauty of the tropical house style comes in the fact that it allows anyone to have a similar style of living even if located well away from tropical ocean views and coastline locations. It provides a very notable difference from typical inland architecture and styles, embracing a casual, open style of living that takes advantage of lighting and natural airflow. Obviously, the style won’t work well in the middle of North Dakota winters, but the tropical modernism build could easily fit in various locations of the Southern states, the Southwest, and California for example.
In short, you too can have your hammock and enjoy it in the afternoon tropical style, even if your neighbors suffer under the rigidity of local standard home builds. With a few moments of relaxing, playing some Jimmy Buffet in the background, and closing your eyes, you just might imagine your home is actually situated in the Florida Keys or deeper in the Caribbean.
Interior Design and Creations
- Interior décor for walls varies widely with tropical home style. Upper areas with large bay windows may range from clean-wash white walls and ceilings to deep mahogany and floral jungle-inspired prints for lower floors and common rooms. Bold and bright are the standards for wall displays and visual richness. The walls are then accented by the strategic placement of large internal palm tree plants, birds of paradise flowering plants, and similar jungle style flora. Deep, rich greens accented with bright pinks, blood reds, royal blues, and purples are common in this approach. This combination triggers both an eye, sense, and smell environment as the plants enrich the room air with oxygen, the eyes are captivated with the color palette and touch is almost natural as one brushes up against plants or feels their immediate presence.
- Internal room separations are a unique and intended feature of internal design in tropical home style. Whether it involves simple or Asian style sliding doors, colonial island whitewash doors, or deep natural wood portal entries, separations provide a transition from the entry hall to the common room to the formal reception to the dining room. Some door styles can be recessed within walls while others utilize a formal swing style for opening or closing. And walkways doors with floor to ceiling window panels are common as well if not incorporating the older style of pane framed glass sections making up the whole.
Exterior Styling and Design
- Landscaping with tropical home style is all about plenty of flora and foliage, and lots and lots of greenery. Walkways around the home are clearly defined with light stone pathways and sand bordering in some cases, often looking almost bright white in the sun. The majority of the landscape is then made of up fresh-cut lawn with minimal decoration placement, and the landscape border then abounds with thick jungle bushes, palm trees, and large flowering bushes. All of this, of course, assumes a sunnier climate and humidity as well as thoughtfully-planned irrigation. Without plenty of water, these plants and greenery will simply dry up or dehydrate. So the outside style obviously won’t work everywhere, but where they are more sunny days than not, water distribution matters.
- In terms of hardscape, tropical style expects to see significant placement for sitting and outside casual enjoyment. So sufficient pavement or stonework for tables, chairs, and shade overhangs are common. Fountains tend to be strategically placed, both for a local cooling effect as well as a sound block to outside noise as the fountain splashing tends to provide a calming effect. Where pools are integrated, they are oftentimes designed to the surface level versus just a standard coping lip. This infinity-edge choice gives a pool a more natural look placed in the tropical backyard, especially when the outside frame and walkway are tiled with natural stone. Throw in a hot tub in the mix and you’re ready for your fruity drinks with umbrellas and a sun hat.
- The outside structure of a tropical-style home tends to be flatter with, as mentioned earlier, large overhangs to provide walkway shade around the house structure externally. Not only do such designs block rain from affecting the residents, but it also provides valuable shade during the highest heat point of the day. On two-story homes, additional outside features include balconies and upper walkways are common. Windows frequently incorporate external storm shutters or have internal colonial-style shades to block the light and heat when needed. The overall home tends to be painted in light colors or white as a notable offset to the lush greenery and trees surrounding the home.
Furniture Styles Integrated
- Furniture choices with tropical style take the approach to the next level. Clearly, most furniture pieces have to be functional to some extent. The key difference with tropical home style starts with the choice of wood. Much of the furniture used in such settings avoids artificial construction and instead favors natural materials. Rattans, solid wood, wood blinds, and even rope are regularly integrated components of tropical style furniture placements. It is quite commons to see mahogany and similar rich dark woods used for solid furniture like desks and large tables while rattan and basketweave are more common with chairs, small side tables, and even small lamp dressers. However, even with all this dedication to natural choices, the placement is minimalist in frequency and not overbearing.
- The Lounge Bahama Chair will quickly trigger memories for folks who travel, especially their last trip to Hawaii or similar. These chairs are frequently used in restaurants and make a comfortable outdoor lounge setting while still providing an upright back support.
- Wood and rattan patterns in bed frames and headboards are also very much in vogue, especially when contrasted with white bedsheets and covers.
- Handwoven rope rugs and area covers are also a smart pick, especially on stone tile and cement floors, providing a softer walking surface than just cold stone.
- Low level coffee tables fabricated from natural woods provide an easy setting place for comfortable living rooms and couch sets. The rich wood color matches or contrasts well against light fabrics and white walls.
Materials Often Included
- Ocean-themed prints and paintings tend to be expected in tropical style homes and where there is significant wall space. Landscape views showing the tropics, or period pieces in similar locations are frequently used as well. There also tends to be a nautical theme present or underlying many of the materials used in many homes. So, placement of accessories such as compasses, miniature boat steering wheels, and maps of islands and the Atlantic get a lot of play with strategic placement.
- Where there is no color, white paint and while layering tends to be the most preferred styled for a tropical home style, again harkening back to colonial-style living in the islands. The woods are hardwood, typically dark, for easy cleaning. Carpets are rarely installed, but area rugs and walkway runners can be used quite a bit.
- And what is a jungle without animals? Figures, statues, carvings, and prints of animal themes and animal features are right at home in a tropical style setting. The bigger options tend to be the better ones, but there is no clustering or overkill of placement. One large well-placed statue or print does just fine versus dozens of little items all over the place. The more exotic and tropical the animal the better.
Decor and Colors Used
- The balance of the tropical home style incorporates a combination of clean whites, green living plants, and natural woods. There should not be very much if any artificial material in the same setting. As a result, colors and hues follow a natural color spectrum in the related décor as well.
- Pale and grays are reserved for shade while vibrant natural greens and blues are common against a framework of white. Where there are reds and pinks they are provided by natural objects, whether they are towels, fabrics, shells, or decorative glasswork filled with colorful stones or sand.
Other Building Styles that Mix Well
- A serpentine vehicle path or walkway placed strategically in the external landscape is going to go very well with a tropical style home. It immediately signals to a visitor that they are off the beaten path and escaping the world of straight-line roads and cookie-cutter sidewalks. A curving path also gives an entryway the ability to share and show off the greenery and the overall landscaping that provides the colorful perimeter of the home.
- Separated kitchen space with large cooking areas, washbasins, and oven space for cooking add to the appeal of a tropical-style home. It signals the clear separation of the work area from the comfort and casual living area, and the utility of the kitchen becomes the primary purpose. Many homes incorporate stainless steel appliances against a white wall background and brick or dark tile flooring. Lots of light comes into the kitchen as well with big windows so food preparation is done in the dark or by guessing.
A Brief History
While some might think that tropical modernism is a recent rehash of older Florida and islands styles of living, the specific approach was first generated in Asia during the 1930s and 40s and as late as the 1950s with additional developments. Architects at the time found their influence in structures and buildings that were considered “ideal” in the British Empire paradigm, adapted to the local conditions and building materials available. Thick, heavy walls and furniture were simply not practical in the tropics, so they gave way to window shades, fans, blinds that could be adjusted, and homes with lots of windows to allow airflow for cooling.
Specific tilework was also not very common due to an inability to get the flooring material in sufficient amounts, so cement and poured flooring was used far more extensively. The styles developed drew heavily on frequent placement of vegetation to brighten up the boredom of plain, white-washed walls and steps. Where there was decoration, it was often with local, easily available materials such as coral, stones, and flowering as well as rich wood colors.
While It Looks Great: Everything About Tropical Style Involves Relaxing
There are a variety of reasons why the tropical home style tends to be popular, but the big overriding reason remains that it immediately gives a person a sense of relaxation and separation from the busy world. Everything about the tropical style harkens to a coastal, island living where there are no schedules, things move and happen in a relaxed manner, and the entire environment promotes lounging and relaxing, slowing downtime instead of being rigid. Again, while you can’t bring the ocean to your doorstep, especially when located inland, you definitely can change your home to be far more tropical in appearance, design, architecture and overall feel for how you live, especially when it should be the place where you feel the most relaxed and protected from outside stress and worry.