3 Island-Inspired Interior Styles You Need to Try

island-inspired interior styling

With August nearly done and dusted, it’s time for us to start moving away from our winter interiors and get our homes ready for summer! What better place to find inspiration than some of the world’s favourite island holiday destinations?

Let’s take a look at three island-inspired interior styles we’re loving at the moment, and how you can get the looks for yourself at home.


balinese-inspired interior

Bali is a volcanic island in the Indonesian archipelago. The island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs; covered with lush, green vegetation and rice paddy fields; and edged with pristine beaches. All these features and more have made it the holiday destination of choice of many Australians.

The Balinese interior style is rooted in natural elements that are available on the island. Materials like rattan, bamboo, and cane are, therefore, absolute must-haves. Think rattan pendant lights, dining chairs, and bar stools; cane occasional chairs; bamboo lanterns and bed heads; and the like. Weather-resistant timbers like teak and paulownia are also great choices for a Balinese interior.

There’s also a huge emphasis on artisanal, handcrafted pieces within the Bali style. Baskets and rugs that are handwoven in natural fibres like jute, sisal, and seagrass help to add texture and warmth to your Balinese-inspired space.

Handmade, earthenware ceramics also feature heavily in this island-inspired interior style, especially in decorative items like pots, planters, vases, and bowls. The rawer the finish, the better.

Overall, this aesthetic uses a rather neutral and muted colour palette. A Balinese interior should feel relaxed and open, which a neutral palette helps to achieve. Crisp whites in your walls, bed linen, sofa upholstery, and elsewhere sit beautifully alongside the natural grains of the bamboo, rattan, or cane furnishings.

There’s definitely room to add colour, though – especially in your rugs, cushions, and other soft accents. Warm jewel tones are particularly perfect, but paler pastel tones are also great, especially in terms of wall art. You can’t go wrong with a calming coastal print in a Balinese-inspired space!

To add interest, accent your space with macramé or abaca wall hangings, linen throws and cushions with tassel fringes, leafy palm plants (real or faux), seashells, and classic patterns like vertical or herringbone stripes. Keep in mind, though, that a Balinese interior should never be too busy or full of clutter, so don’t go overboard with the decorations.

Lastly, keep things easy and ocean-breezy with hammocks, sun loungers, day beds, and deck chairs you can chill out in on a sunny afternoon!



santorini interior greek interior design

Classically known as Thera, the Greek Island we now call Santorini forms part of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. It’s become a hot-spot for travellers, many of them drawn there by the island’s rich history and culture, and with hopes of snapping a picture of the island’s iconic blue-domed churches and whitewashed buildings!

It’s the latter two features that form the basis of this Greek island-inspired interior style. Like most Grecian interiors, a palette of crisp whites and vibrant blues really defines a Santorini-inspired interior. Historically, the buildings of Santorini were painted white to reflect the hot sun. But that doesn’t mean you need to paint your whole home white, or even blue for that matter! You can easily use bedding, cushions, wall art, table linen, rugs, and so many other smaller, non-committal pieces to implement this colour palette.

In terms of furnishings, weathered timbers play a key role in creating a Santorini-inspired interior style. Opt for wooden furniture pieces that look as though they’ve lived their life by the sea. We’re talking bar stools, coffee tables, dining tables, and the like with purposely worn, aged finishes. This will bring a lot of character and personality to your space.

Much of Greece’s history is preserved in its ancient pottery. It’s no surprise, then, that pottery and ceramics are essential to crafting a Santorini-inspired interior. Choose more traditional styles of pots, vases, and even antique amphorae for a classic look. Ceramics in more unusual, fluid shapes are also perfect, particularly if they’re finished with a blue or white glaze!

Complete this island-inspired interior with tableware, cushions, and other accents that feature traditional Mediterranean designs, like fish or marine-inspired motifs, Greek key patterns, and tile patterns.


The Caribbean Islands

british colonial interior design tropical interior caribbean interior design

White sand beaches, turquoise waters, and tropical palm forests. These are but a few draws for holiday-makers, honeymooners, and adventurers alike who visit the Caribbean Islands.

Owing to the area’s British colonial history, a Caribbean island-inspired interior mixes bits of British style with resources available on the islands.

Much the same as a Balinese-inspired space, a Caribbean-inspired interior uses a lot of cane, bamboo, natural grasses, and other organic materials available on the islands.

A defining feature of this look is its use of dark timbers. Once this would have meant using expensive woods like mahogany and ebony. Now, you can achieve the same look with varnishes and painted finishes.

As lush forests form a huge part of the landscape of many Caribbean Islands, it’s only natural that palm trees feature heavily in this particular interior style. Palm tree prints on cushions, in wall art, and even in wallpapers can all help bring a Caribbean island feel to your space.

Greenery is also important for achieving this look, both in terms of the colour and actual plant life. Tall, leafy palms are best, but don’t worry if you aren’t much of a green thumb, because artificial plants work too!



Got any other island-inspired interior styles you love? Let us know in the comments!

Elizabeth is a digital content writer and copy editor from Sydney, Australia, with a degree in Media & Communications from the University of New South Wales. When she isn't writing for Zanui, she's usually attempting further study, burying her head in a novel (or writing her own), pestering her cat, or desperately trying to keep her small potted succulent alive.