I love creating a cozy space with handcrafted items, and this one has to be one of my favorites yet. Living in Portland, Oregon where it is lush and green, yet we do have our share of fall and winter rain, I wanted to create a space that brought in some tropical warmth. So if you’re in need of some tropical living room inspiration and ideas, make sure to scroll down and look at all of my photos below.

As you look around, you will see some familiar DIY projects as well, starting with the mantel décor where I placed my potted paper jasmine and paper palm fans.

Create a Tropical Paradise

If you’d love to give one of your rooms a bold, vibrant, and lively look, here’s some tropical living room inspiration for you! I’ll go over all my interior design ideas and tips below and point out all of my DIY décor projects that work well in this space.

Pick Your Paint

One of my first steps when designing a space is to choose a wall color that sets the mood I want to create. For this room, I wanted it to be both bold and deep. So I chose Sherwin-Williams Grand Canal paint to set the tone. The dark color allows the white trim and fireplace mantel to make a crisp statement throughout the room.

Brighten Up Your Fireplace

To change the look of my fireplace, I created a stone tile overlay on the tile that can easily be removed. This is a great alternative to remodeling your fireplace. And it’s more cost-effective! I also created a faux wood stack to fill the area inside the fireplace.

Arrange Your Furniture

For me, arranging large furniture pieces is the next step in styling a room. To create my cozy seating area, I chose a velvet grey sofa from West Elm and a Jonathan Adler Baxter chair. I also added a breezy rattan chair from CB2 and a round rush grass coffee table from Hayneedle. These two casual pieces add the relaxed feel of the tropics in contrast to the upholstered velvet of the other pieces. I then accentuated the furniture with our DIY teal velvet pillows and the tropical leaf pillows we created for the Cutting Machine Crafts book.

Add Lush Greenery

A tropical room invites lush greenery with both real and faux. So adding paper succulents arranged in a glass terrarium and crepe paper palm fronds in a mercury glass vase seemed like a natural fit. Placing a few paper air plants around the room and a few sprigs of felt eucalyptus also gave the room just the right amount of greenery.

Fill Empty Spaces with Art

I then tucked a few of my favorite DIY art objects around the room. My clay monstera leaf drop dishes went on the console table and my copper wire leaf sculptures went on top of the shelves by the fireplace. Though the large blue canvas is a Lia original, I layered framed artwork from Minted around the room and hung their bright canvas print over the console table.


I do love designing rooms with handmade items and furniture I already own. Stay tuned to see how I transform the next cozy room! ~ Lia

For more tropical living room inspiration and ideas, the following is a list of other decorative items in the room and where you might find them (though some are no longer in stock):

West Elm: Arc floor lamp, console table, vases, trays, hand sculpture, metal hello, and metal sunburst
Hayneedle: Side tables, wood floor lamp, wicker ottoman, and round mirror
Terrain: Large white vessels
IKEA: Wicker pendent lamp

Grey armchair, gold floor lamp, and round ottoman in front of white fireplace and built-in shelving units tropical living room with grey sofa, armchairs, rug, ottoman, floor lamps, and fireplace paper succulents arranged in a glass terrarium Paper plant in vase on shelfWhite fireplace with DIY stacked wood inside Grey armchair next to built-in shelves with books, framed art, and home décor Tropical living room inspiration DIY tropical pillow and DIY teal velvet pillow on couch Clear blue vases on fireplace mantel with mirror in background Potted plant next to bookshelves with books and framed art Living room with couch, chairs, ottoman, fireplace, and home décor items Round ottoman with green tray, hello sign, candles, and paper air plant Fireplace mantel with round mirror, vase, and paper flowers shelf with vases and felt eucalyptus sprigs built-in shelves with books, home décor, and framed art console table next to dark blue wall and canvas art Living room area with dog on chair, floor lamp, round ottoman, fireplace, mantel decor, and wall artLove These DIY Ideas?

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