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It only takes one visit to Hawaii to fall madly in love with the islands.  Sadly, vacations come to an end and soon you’re back on land wishing you could extend the aloha spirit into your own home.  If this has happened to you, don’t despair-- even if you’re 3,000 miles from paradise there are ways to incorporate the feeling of Hawaii into your everyday world.  Here’s a few ideas to create your own little slice of aloha heaven at home!

1.  Blur the lines of indoors and out.

Being physically located in the middle of the Pacific means that the land means everything to those living in Hawaii (and rightly so, with all that beauty!)  Everywhere you turn, you’ll find huge windows opened to the outdoors and breezeways that frame an ocean view.  Replicate this effect in your own home, too! 

Create sightlines that lead to the outdoors.  Sheer curtains let in tons of light while providing privacy.  If you are building a home, incorporate large windows and sliding glass doors.  Our sliding glass door used to have vertical blinds but I removed them to make our kitchen feel as if it were partly outdoors.  Sunrooms make you feel like you are outside, even if the weather isn’t perfect.  It makes a HUGE difference to blur those lines between outdoors and in.

2.  Use natural materials.

This goes along with bringing the outdoors inside; surround yourself with natural and organic materials to truly feel part of the land.  Grasscloth wallpaper is stylish and chic, and bamboo anything evokes an island feel.  Mother-of-pearl boxes remind me of the world-class pearls you can find all over the islands.

(photo source: West Elm)

Seaglass and shells abound on the islands-- display them in cloches and bowls, or make a wreath such as this driftwood and seashell wreath from Crafts N Coffee.

Hawaii explodes with fresh flowers.  Treat yourself to a bright arrangement and place it somewhere unexpected—on your nightstand, perhaps.  It’ll surprise you each time, in that special way you discover things in Hawaii around every turn.  Add a palm, fiddle leaf fig, or hibiscus plant to a dark corner and suddenly it has life again!

3.  Don’t be afraid of bold colors and patterns.

The water around Hawaii is bright blue.  The land is lush green.  Palm trees hold massive leaves.  Hawaii abounds in bright colors and patterns, so don’t shy away from them.  Do you like blue?  Go for a bold shade!  When used in small doses on pillows, curtains, and linens it’s not scary at all.  Start with a vintage Hawaiian tea towel and go from there.  Or find a bold pattern and make a valance.  Let the colors of Hawaii energize you!

Fabric Sources:

1 - Braemore Gorgeous Petal Fabric

2 - Waverly Seaglass Fabric

3 - Robert Allen Ocean City Cobalt

4 - Braemore Silsila Cherry Blossom Fabric

It doesn’t have to even have a palm tree pattern.  Here’s how I incorporated a bit of bold fabric into my home by using it as a table runner:

4.  Frame a memory.

Did you vacation in Hawaii?  Frame a favorite memory in a shadow box. Have an amazing photograph from the islands?  Enlarge it and get it printed as a canvas wrapped print.  Display souvenirs such as kukui nut leis on tables or in bookcases.  All these special touches will make you happy every time you see them.

5.  Quilt it.

This home décor item is an investment, but well worth it if you’re trying to capture the aloha spirit.  Hawaiian quilts capture the essence of nature so beautifully, and the symmetrical pattern allows them to fit in with almost any décor style from cottage to vintage to modern.  They are not only beautiful but will keep you warm as well.  Use them on beds, as throws, or hang on your wall.  If you can’t splurge on an entire quilt, get a pillowcase.  Gorgeous!

photo source: Aloha Designs

6.  Scent of an Island.                  

Creating the Hawaiian feeling isn’t just about what you can see, it’s about your other senses as well.  The air in Hawaii is fresh and scents range from plumeria to Kona coffee to salt air to fresh pineapples.  Grab a candle or bath scrub in a scent that reminds you of the islands, and you’ll be enveloped in aloha every day.

Simply adding a few Hawaiian touches to your home can sustain you between trips to the islands, remind you of previous visits, or allow you to simply embrace the aloha spirit of the people on a daily basis.  Whether it’s something visual like a photograph, something you can hold like a kukui nut lei, or a scent that fills your soul like eucalyptus—add it to your decor, and you’ll easily experience Hawaii at home!