There’s something classic and charming about Hawaii’s style of home décor. Indoor plants, teak furniture, light bright colors, bamboo wind chimes, plantation style architecture… even something as practical as a rice cooker has its endearing qualities. What it comes down to is Hawaii homes have a timeless sense of ease, relaxation and simplicity. You feel it as soon as you step into a well kept home. The languidly spinning ceiling fans immediately resonate with a tropical vacation. Floral patterned couch cushions help you ease into relax-mode. Images of Hawaii’s landscape adorn the walls, summoning thoughts of a laid-back lifestyle.
It’s easy to see why Hawaii décor and feng shui have become a category in and of itself. Interior designers and architects are asked to make plans and designs that resemble Hawaii homes because it helps bring calm, peace and prosperity to spaces. The word feng shui refers to the Chinese art of creating harmonious surroundings. Feng meaning wind and shui meaning water, but together they refer to the delicate balance of yin and yang.
From arranging furniture to choosing paint colors, feng shui plays a large role in the architecture and design of a home. Diane Alba-Means, Founder and Owner of Hawaii Feng Shui in Maui, focuses her consultation and business on the vital energy (chi) of the world. Known as mana or huna in the Hawaiian culture, this energy is known to play an important role in your well-being. Whether you want to hone in on the right wall color for your front door or simply looking for Hawaiian inspired themes for your home, read on for more Hawaii feng shui and décor tips!
Starting on the outside of a home, you might notice that many Hawaii houses have ti leaf planted in various areas. In ancient Hawaii, the leaves of a ti plant were considered sacred and used for spiritual protection, purification and healing. Today, ti leaves are commonly planted in the exterior corners of homes, usually on all four sides. This symbolizes protection, good luck, blessings and purification and is a great form of Hawaiian feng shui for exterior landscaping.
Other plants that you’ll see growing around homes are banana palms, directional palms and plumeria trees. Banana palms come in a variety of species, but one in particular- the Musa ‘Ae Ae’ or Ae Ae Royal Banana was kapu (forbidden) to own in Hawaii except by royalty, making it an exclusive plant representing status and wealth. Today these plants are used as ornamental landscaping, and the complimentary colors of their red stems and green leaves are a beautiful attribute to any garden.
Traveler (or directional) palms are said to grow with their leaves pointing north and south, but there is also rumor that they received their name because the sheaths of their stems hold rainwater. Whatever the reason, these plants are gorgeous fan-shaped palms that you’ll see adorning many Hawaii homes. Keep in mind they grow quickly and can get up to 25 feet tall, so be sure to plan out where you want your traveler palm to live.
Plumeria trees symbolize love in feng shui, and are popular in Hawaii. They grow well in the tropical climate and are used in traditional Hawaiian leis, hair pins and perfumes. Also known as frangipani, plumerias have a wonderful scent that adds to the tropical setting of your home.
Moving from the yard to the threshold of the home, you’ll notice it’s common for decks and porches to surround the front and back areas of homes in Hawaii. These are referred to as lanais, which are usually furnished with outdoor pieces, plants and sometimes art. The word lanai is Hawaiian, and has been borrowed by many other states to refer to a verandah or porch and is a common architectural design.
Next we have the iconic red door. Painting your front door red is said to give off a welcoming energy in feng shui, since Chinese consider red a lucky and sacred color. There are a variety of reasons outside of feng shui why people paint their front door red. For example some homeowners paint their doors red to announce their home is paid for, free and clear, a red door in Catholicism symbolizes a holy and sacred place and a red door in Ireland is supposed to ward off evil spirits and ghosts. But for this post and in Hawaii, a red door symbolizes good energy and a welcoming vibe.
Within the walls of a Hawaii style home, you’ll notice light paint colors in the rooms, such as white, yellow and light green. These colors bring about a sense of calm and pair well with the natural coloring of Hawaii. For example, green is the primary color in nature and is also said to increase wealth and prosperity. Yellow, the color of the sun is known to radiate energy and happiness and also keeps you focused and stimulates conversation. White walls help to bring light into darker rooms, open a space, create an airy atmosphere, and was said to symbolize affluence in older times. It’s also quite possible white became popular in Hawaii to cool down the interior of a home.
Popular furniture styles in Hawaii homes are often made out of bamboo, teak or other tropical woods like mango or koa. Wicker and rattan is a nice island-style touch to any room in the home and feng-shui friendly. Hawaii consultant and feng shui author Clear Englebert is known for his tips on Hawaii style décor and how to keep the furniture in a home feng shui friendly. Things like fountains are a great décor idea, since water is an important element in feng shui and symbolizes money and can improve prosperity and abundance.
Ceiling fans are something you will often see in Hawaii homes, mainly because they help circulate air and keep rooms fresh, but also because they help assist the flow of chi or energy. Fan designs with tropical touches (like faux palm leaves for the blades) make for a nice accent in your home while also bringing a sense of revitalization and relaxation.
Lastly, another attribute to making your home feel friendly and tropical is a wind chime. According to feng shui, wind chimes are used to cure negative energies and energize the spirit. For me personally, the sound of a bamboo wind chime has more of a tropical, Hawaii melody than metal chimes, but the material of your wind chime is dependent on where you plan to hang it. If you plan to hang a bamboo wind chime, feng shui recommends you place it in the east, southeast or east areas of your home. Metal chimes should be placed in the west, northwest and north.
Hopefully you’ve gained insight into making your home more Hawaiian style for increased relaxation, and also feng shui friendly for ultimate well-being.