Tropical kitchens are bright, breezy, and balmy—think palm trees rather than seashells. They’re relaxed spaces to be in, and are characterized by warm, natural, organic materials such as wood and rattan. The tropical look encompasses both down-to-earth Balinese and classic Caribbean styles. How do you make your kitchen feel more tropical? Take a look at these twelve tips and watch any anxiety about what to cook for dinner float away on a warm tropical breeze.

What is Shiplap and How Do I Use It Inside?

Tropical Kitchen 1: Adam Design, original photo on Houzz

What Makes a Kitchen Tropical?

This kitchen in St. Barts embraces quintessential tropical style and has all the key ingredients to make you feel instantly relaxed and on vacation. Core features include the white tongue and groove paneling, white countertop, and white furniture, while the wooden window frames, ceiling fans, and pineapple fruit bowl complete the look.

Below are 12 elements that go into making a tropical kitchen dream a reality.

1. Architecture. The architecture of the house has much to do with your kitchen. For a tropical feel, think lots of air and light, and natural materials that bring the outside in.

2. Pitched ceiling. In warmer climates high-pitched ceilings help with air circulation and cooling.

Tropical Kitchen 2: GM Construction, Inc., original photo on Houzz

3. Wood. Wood is prevalent in tropical kitchens. The wood cabinetry in this kitchen in Hawaii is warm and inviting.

Tropical Kitchen 3: DJE Building Design, original photo on Houzz

4. White. White suits most kitchen styles, including tropical. This Melbourne, Australia kitchen embraces white, featuring a white ceiling, countertop, and backsplash and white cabinetry. Glass pendants are ideal, as they don’t block the sight line to the ceiling.

5. Paneled cabinetry. Cabinetry in tropical kitchens is more classic and textured than sleek and contemporary. Consider panel and frame or tongue and groove cabinetry in painted wood.

Tropical Kitchen 4: Smyth and Smyth, original photo on Houzz

Natural Materials 101: Cork Flooring

6. Louvered windows. Louvered windows are synonymous with the tropical look, and a practical solution in warm, wet climates. As seen in this Sydney kitchen, the blades open horizontally, allowing maximum ventilation even in a gentle rain.

7. Ceiling fans. Wood or bamboo ceiling fans evoke a true tropical feeling and are both stylish and practical.

8. Wicker and rattan. Woven from natural reed, palm, and willow, or manufactured from bamboo, decor including fruit bowls, storage baskets, and chairs reflects tropical style in spades.

Tropical Kitchen 5: Dara Rosenfeld Design, original photo on Houzz

9. Tropical furniture and fittings. If the kitchen is an open plan, the rest of the furniture should reflect the tropical style. Here the sofa is made from bamboo poles, and the lights over the kitchen island are inspired by Indonesian fishing traps.

10. Natural lighting. Lighting in tropical kitchens works best if it uses materials found in nature, such as wood, wicker, cane, or cork.

Tropical Kitchen 6: Annabelle Chapman Architect Pty Ltd, original photo on Houzz

11. Outdoor kitchen. If your kitchen opens onto a garden or deck, consider extending it outside. Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular and amp up the vacation vibe. This Sydney kitchen features an integrated barbecue for cooking tropical-style feasts.

12. Tropical plants and flowers. Adding plants is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to increase the tropical vibe.

Browse More Breezy, Beautiful Deck Photos