135 photos of tiki bar decor in readers’ homes

tiki decor imageSo why is it that we all love tiki bar decor so much? It’s really quite ridiculous. I think it’s because we Americans just lurve to dress up. Halloween, for example, seems to be so much more popular here in the U.S. than anywhere else. The rest of the world watches our Halloween craziness and just scratches its much-more-restrained head. We are an exuberant nation. And maybe there was no single time more exuberant that post-World War II America. Heck yeah, I’ll have an umbrella in that mai tai. Life is good!  Above: Brad’s “Junglero Room” — his own in-house tiki paradise. Yes, you can tuck a touch of tiki bar decor in most any mid century house. Our previous photo:  Chad sells his Witco tiki bar and reader Ghost of Elvis buys it.

Readers, do you have some tiki going on in your house? Let’s see it! It’s easier than pouring some pineapple over some rum, get yer cameras started –>

Did you know we have a complete category called “Tiki and Bars”?

Update: Uploader is now closed. Thanks for playing, and enjoy the photos!

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

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  1. Mike S says

    I’ll always remember the Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus, Ohio. Wow, was that a cool place, with the photographs of all the celebrities who ate there on their walls, the bar with globe fish lamps, and the “rain booths”. I heard it was torn down to make room for a drug store (of all things). Yes, Tiki is way cool, and ridiculous at the same time. Tiki ROCKS!

    • julie s says

      My husband used to go there all the time when he was a kid. It was one of the first places he took me to in Columbus after we were married. That place was awesome! Such a shame they tore it down.

    • Scott says

      Mike and Julie, you are not alone in lamenting our lost Kahiki! I’m so glad I at least moved to Columbus in time to get to experience that place but sure wish it was still around.

      I always wondered what the wrens who called those rain booths home thought of the perpetually changing time of day and weather. :-)

    • oohlalacosette says

      I celebrated my 21st birthday at the Kahiki – oooohhhhh so many years ago and then took my daughter there for her 21st…..

      Growing up in the sixties in West Virginia, going to the Kahiki was like Disney or Epcot!! Aquariums and fish on one side, rain forests on the other and a Tiki God as tall as the roof with fire in his mouth?!??!?!!!! We’d never seen anything like it!!

      Yes, I’m the girl with the Kahiki Memorial Tiki Room on the SW coast of Florida – Long Live TIKI !!!

    • Kate says

      That place looks super fun — much larger than my local tiki bar, which probably will hold 50 people (not all sitting!). If ever I’m in Ft. Lauderdale, I’ll have to go. :)

  2. John aka AtomicHipster says

    Hi Pam, I don’t see the uploader this time on my IPad. Last couple times it did work and I was able to upload pics.


  3. amy pie says

    Oh! I went to the Mai Kai in 1978 and I have fond memories. It’s my tiki dream. They have dessert cocktails made with ice cream, which probably have 40,000 calories. I haven’t got a tiki bar yet but plan on finishing my basement when I can afford to, complete with tiki bar. I keep seeing vintage ones on ebay and thinking “someday, you will be mine” :).

  4. Annie B. says

    A recently scored set of six Siesta ware mugs has me in the mood to party in pastels with pineapple (plus).

    There are quite a few Tiki-themed restaurants and shops where we live due to the proximity of the beach. Nothing quite as grand, though, as the Polynesian restaurant I remember from my 1950’s childhood in Memphis: The Luau. It had those Tiki God totems and flaming torches which scared my socks off as a five year old.

    Perhaps the popularity of Tiki in the mid-century was partially due to Hawaii’s becoming a state in ’59 and the return of the GI’s from the Pacific Islands (the musical, “South Pacific”). And, Pam is right: we are an exuberant nation and the 50’s were high times. Nothing’s more exuberant than a grass skirt and coconut shell bra, right? Tiki is just plain happy. Can’t wait to see the photos this post produces.

    • Chutti says

      I love the Tiki vibe, but have found it comes in and out of my life at intervals. When I was setting up my first apartment lo yon many years past, I was obsessed with gathering thrifted Tikiana. I had an awesome homemade turquoise sparkle fiberglass coffee table, the requisite black pleather couch, and the item I’d LOVE to have again: a RUBBERMAID plastic faux wicker clamshell bucket chair in avocado, filled with barkcloth pillows.

      I’ve always thought the barbeque and Tiki trend of the 50s and 60s had a lot to do with returning servicemen. Most of our vets then pretty much kept their stories between themselves, and didn’t burden their families with details. I know my Dad (WWII) really didn’t want to talk about combat (but could still play Sargent pretty good if you were in the doghouse!). But at the same time they wanted to share all they’d seen overseas with their loved ones.

      I feel Tiki and barbeque culture provided a way for Dad to contribute his experiences in a limited and positive way. There is a sweetness to that which I find really touching.

      Hannah- Nice to see your living room so filled out. I see those grapes that started it all. Love the colors….

      Our current 1920 Spanish Bungalow doesn’t really lend itself to Tiki Decor, so the cocktail goodies come out for entertaining, and go back in the cupboard. I loves me some good barware!

  5. Savannah says

    I’m currently in the process of making my ’27 Spanish bungalow house..into a tiki house! Spanish isn’t my style, but the tiki is starting to mush well with it.. Next up, all tropical palms and bromeliads in the garden, and doing the patio as a tiki bar! I’m sure my neighbors will love/hate it! But I’m determined to have my own Enchanted Tiki Room at home!
    In fact, Bahooka Tiki restaurant is closing here in LA, I’m going to try to buy some of the decor.. It’s fate will be..a Chinese restaurant. :(

    • pam kueber says

      Sounds fabulous! Be sure to take lots of before, during and after photos that we can consider featuring on the blog!

  6. tammyCA says

    In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Room…Of course, I love all the vintage tiki/Polynesian stuff but have none. I remember once going to Don the Beachcomber in the ’70s & thinking it was so cool…just now I had to google it to see if it still existed…ha, there’s one within driving distance! According to their website it was the owner who invented the tiki bar in the 1930s in Hollywood:

  7. hannah says

    Tiki. To love or to hate? While I can say honestly I don’t hate it, I will say that my (UNINTENTIONAL) “Tiki feel” living room is not what I envisioned for the space when we settled in the house, 2 yrs ago this coming May.

    But, the sofa and two chairs were only $250 and in superb condition, the Lane end tables and blanket chest have the weave (the Perception line) pattern and THAT lends itself to a Tiki atmosphere! All items were within my price range, and all happened to come to me at the time I was buying/waiting on the house. A sort of Tiki serendipity?? lol I’m living with it, but it’s not my dream living room *yet*.

    Everyone’s pics are fab though, and I am totally in LUV with that glitter tiki thang!!

  8. J D Log says

    The Tiki influence was across Polynesia. The word Tiki to mainland Maori people meant 1st man. You can see similaraties between Hawaii’s figures and those of the Maori in New Zealand. My bar is more of a mixture of African, and South American which seemed to be more of a influence over here in Australia in the 1950’s to 1960’s. Although Tiki is very in now.

  9. LauraRG says

    The epitome of the tiki craze in this country was an entire TV show… Gilligan’s Island, anyone?

  10. Patti says

    Trader Vic’s anyone? As a college student I thought perhaps I would make it my mission to go to every Trader Vic’s and enjoy a Peachtree Punch. Alas, most of them are gone but what fond memories of leaving school in Virginia in the morning in time for dinner and cocktails at Trader Vic’s in the Plaza Hotel, New York.

  11. says

    I’m about to upload a couple of pics of my 54 modern in Seattle. I dont put all of my tiki in a designated room. I have an overall tiki modern decor inside and out. . I like a more sophisticated look as opposed to a “kitchy” thing. I am considered one of the original tiki revival artists so I’ve been cutivating my tiki flavor for a very long time. Look for me on the next cover of Tiki Magazine, out in April.

  12. nina462 says

    I remember going to the Tur Mai Kai bar/restarant in Portage, MI as a kid and thinking it was so cool. Especially as you had to walk over a bridge of water in the building to get seated. it’s been long gone –

  13. cinnabar says

    The Tiki throne chair looked familar…. we were at Graceland last Dec. and the twin throne is in Elvis’s “Jungle Room”. Somebody should snag that thing.

  14. Tiki Mateo says

    LOVE the modernism tiki style. We just bought a house and it is large enough to display all of our loves. Our upstairs is craftsman, downsatairs mid century modern, laundtry/kitchen 50’s, guest house (“The Lodge”) 30s-40s national park theme, and we have our Tree House y Tiki.. This makes our house sound like an expan$ive compound, but it’s not :).
    I would love to combine our tiki stuff with our modernism stuff to create a Sinatra Tiki Abode!….maybe one day.

  15. Dani says

    This weekend has been a perfect storm for Tiki! First this uploader and last night we ate dinner at the ever fabulous Omni Hut: http://www.omnihut.com/

    (Is it strange that I want to live there? Hah!)

    The good news is that my mister may have also caught the tiki fever, because now he wants to turn the guest room into a Tiki paradise, which is great, because that sounds like one of MY schemes! No arguments from me, I’m off to scour the ‘bay before he changes his mind…

  16. Becky from Iowa says

    I wish I had room for one of these, or any bar room. But with a living room, dining room, kitchen, office, and two bedrooms, our house is full up. Where do those of you who live in “mid century modest” homes locate the Tiki room? I’m curious…did you sacrifice a spare bedroom? Did you refinish the basement?

    • Pittsburgh Pauly says

      I think it depends on your dedication (and size of the collection). In my 1950 Cape Cod it’s a 3-season room, for others it’s a spare bedroom, living room, pool house, unused dining room, etc. I think the holy grail is the original MCM basement bar that tikiphiles can convert easily.

    • Princee Pupule says

      We found that we almost never used our dining room – it was wasted space. It was between the dining room & the basement & we opted to use the dining room, as it would be a “regular” part of the house. Of course, that meant, for resale reasons, we had to forego the wet bar & just keep it dry, but that worked OK, as the dining room was next to the kitchen. We find that we use the bar WAY more than the dining room was ever used!

    • Brad Howland says

      Living by the SE coast, we are required by code to have our houses elevated b/c of the possibility of surges from hurricanes. I just took the space underneath our elevated house, enclosed it, built Jungalero Lounge. If we ever do have a major hit from a hurricane….may have to start over. Keeping my fingers crossed -so far so good after 8 years.

  17. Scott says

    Wow, there is some amazingly creative stuff and quite a few more all-out Tiki-ittes than I would have imagined. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for anything that provides more opportunities to use colored lights!

    So many to love, but gasp to Photo 74, Tiki Moderne took my breath away!

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