Aloha! Back Home For Hawaiian Interior Design

Jarret with dogs on Hawaiian mountains

For interior designers, inspiration often comes from the most unexpected places. A recent trip to Hawaii proved to be the case. More than just a vacation, it was an experience that profoundly influenced my perspectives on design, and specifically, Hawaii interior design. As I immersed myself in this vibrant culture and the breathtaking landscapes of the islands, what was revealed was a unique approach to interior design that distinctly is Hawaiian.

The Islands’ Deep Connection to Nature

One of the most striking aspects of Hawaiian interior design is its deep connection to nature. Hawaiians have a profound reverence for the land and sea, and it’s often reflected in their design choices. From lush greenery that cascades down walls, to rich wooden furnishings that pay homage to the islands’ forests, every element is a connection between the people and their environment. It reminded me of the reverence for nature instilled in me through my Japanese heritage, the philosophy known as “shizen” which emphasizes living in harmony with the natural world. Materials such as wood, bamboo, and stone are commonly used to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside. Whether it’s a hand-carved wooden table or a woven rattan chair, these elements add warmth and authenticity to any space. 

Color also plays a vital role in Hawaii interior design, drawing inspiration from the islands’ unbelievably vibrant flora and fauna. Bold hues like turquoise, coral, and sunny yellow not only enliven a room but evoke the spirit of the islands, where every sunset is a masterpiece of color and light. In the lei shops on Maunakea Street in Honolulu, you’ll find the most breathtaking flowers that people use for celebrations and everything in between.

Bringing the Outdoor In

Another hallmark of Hawaiian design is the seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living spaces. With Hawaii’s year-round tropical climate, it’s no wonder that residents place such a high value on outdoor living. Large windows, open floor plans, and lounging areas create continuity between the inside and outside, as people embrace Hawaii’s natural beauty. 

Yet, beyond materials and layout, perhaps the most important aspect of Hawaii home decor is its emphasis on aloha – the spirit of warmth, hospitality, and love. Whether through inviting decor, or simply the laid-back atmosphere, Hawaiian interior design creates an environment where everyone feels like ohana, or family.

As I look back on my time in Hawaii, I’m filled with gratitude for the inspiration and insights this experience gives me. From the natural beauty of the landscape, to the warmth of the people, Hawaii has truly left its mark on my soul – and on my interior designs. As I embrace these principles, I hope to create spaces that not only look beautiful but also feel like home – a place where aloha is always in the air.

About Jarret Yoshida

Jarret Yoshida has worked in the New York interior design world for more than two decades. With a varied portfolio of projects including residential and commercial spaces, he draws inspiration from his Asian interior designer heritage to create stylish, welcoming, and sophisticated design solutions.

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