Unlike the Nautical aesthetic’s utilitarianism, the Coastal aesthetic is much more relaxed and easy-going. The whole goal of the coastal style is to attempt to convey the feeling of the beach into an indoors living space. As such, the coastal style is a much more abstract theme than that of the nautical style, which directly refers to something tangible.
It is a modern, elegant, but natural style. You may find that the style is flexible too — the coastal style varies around the world to accommodate the local beach environment.
- Color Palette: light, neutral tones; layers of blues to emulate the incoming tides on the beach; lots of whites
- Decor/ Materials: natural, breathable fabrics like linen or cotton to evoke the breeze; light-colored woods like driftwood or white-washed woods
- Complimentary Styles: Traditional, Transitional, Mediterranean
Coastal Design Keeps It Natural.
In order to create a relaxed, easy vibe, coastal design usually incorporates many natural elements. This comes in through the furniture, often made out of wicker, rattan, or light, weathered woods, and fabrics. Rugs are generally straw, seagrass, or jute, and fabrics are simple and devoid of shine. You won't find many metallics or flashy textures, but rather, natural materials or light, billowy fabrics, like sheer curtain panels. Though wood is common, it will usually be white-washed, or a blond maple or ash. Biophilic designs ensure an elemental, cohesive aesthetic style and incorporate it in your home interiors.
White Is Key.
While you might be inclined to picture a bold blue and white palette when you think of coastal, a crisp, white interior is actually more accurate. It's almost like minimalist design in the sense that less is more, and it favors neutral. Again, it's all about natural light, so a white room is going to make the space feel even airier.
But that doesn't mean you can't accent with color. Though you'll still want to keep it soft (remember, there is nothing bold about this design), accent colors typically include neutrals, such as a warmer beige or khaki, light blues, greys, and greens. The palette "can be adjusted according to taste: true blues and crisp whites for a Med-like vibe; warm whites and pale blue-green shades for a country coastal mix; bright coral paired with sky blue for an exotic coastal style
Go Slip-Covered, Or Go Home.
Coastal furniture is meant to feel casual, comfortable, and easy. Natural furniture made from rattan and wicker are common, but too much of a good thing can feel very matchy-matchy, and sometimes a little too busy. To add dimension and keep with the open and airy feel, slip-covered furniture (in light cottons and linen) is a go-to.
Coastal Design Encourages Open Space.
It's no surprise that a design aesthetic that prioritizes light would favor an open floor plan. You don't want to clutter anything with furniture or decor, but rather, create the feeling that everything just flows. If you aren't able to open up your floor plan, you can still create as much open space as possible by paring down and opting for a more minimalist vibe.
Yes, You Can Add In Your Shells—But With Restraint.
If you're decorating for the coast, it's not like you're about to decorate with antlers or modern, geometric accents, so it's totally OK to add in a few seaside touches, like shells, glass bottles, or woven baskets, but the key is not to go overboard. You want it to feel easy and natural, not kitschy and overdone, and clutter is a serious no-no. Keep it simple and you can't go wrong. The key is to stay away from anything too cliched. "Avoid anchor prints, “beach this way” signs, etc. Instead, take your lead from the elements of the coast: a collection of blue glass vases and bottles upon a fireplace hearth, or a classic blue and white stripe wallpaper to add striking visual interest to a stairway or hallway.
Minimalism is always in style.
Forget the clutter and let the coastal views be the focal point of your beach home. A minimalist approach to decor and design gives your house a modern, open feel. Choose only what fits in your space and serves its purpose in both form and function. Black and white is an easy way to stay with a clean minimalistic look. Add neutrals or pops of color to accent. The hardest part is finding the right furniture and furnishings to complete your room without overwhelming it. But once you find them, you'll be oh so happy that you did.
Nautical ropes can accent any room.
A little bit of nauti goes a long way! Nautical ropes are a classic coastal accent for any home, as long as they're not overdone. Just a touch in the right place adds instant style to your beach house. There are some pretty amazing ways to incorporate ropes if you take a look on Pinterest (we saw rope cabinet accents, hanging rope beds, nautical rope coasters, knotted rope displays, and interwoven rope centrepieces on the table, just to name a few). The classic touch is a roped mirror or picture frame, but really the sky's the limit.
Opt for seashells that make a statement.
Skip the overflowing container of seashells in every room of your beach house (so 90s) and instead opt for one statement piece. This oversized clam shell is from Pottery Barn, but you could certainly display your own prized shell in an eye-catching way. Less is usually more these days, so try to keep it minimal but worth looking at. (Refer to #1 of this post.) A nice big statement shell on your mantel or dining room table lends itself to the telling of the story behind it—making it a great conversation piece.
Upcycling is always an option.
Upcycling is both useful and on trend. From weathered-looking coastal furniture to unique wall hangings to old nautical pieces made new again, you can bring a nice touch of the past with a modern feel by choosing the right upcycled accents. We love this coffee table made from an old nautical chain and think it perfectly blends old and new. Take time to choose the best upcycling for your beach house space and enjoy this bold, modern and eco-friendly style element.
Beachy Bohemian works for eclectic tastes.
If you're a person who leans towards more eclectic tastes and decorating style, then all is not lost. You can still incorporate a mix-and-match approach to your beach house as long as you do it carefully and with taste. Too much and it looks like a cluttered mess. The wrong pairings and your room have no flow or consistency. Vibrant colors, mixed patterns, and even flowers can all be used together and actually look modern and fun. We love this beachy Bohemian look that works beautifully together for a bright, happy, coastal room.
Bamboo is beautiful and versatile.
Bamboo is just beautiful! It is a classic coastal style element and can work in so many ways both indoors and out. It's smooth neutral tones and texture emanate tropical vibes and classic beach feel. From furniture to wall decor to chairs to, well, just about everything—it's just really hard to go wrong with bamboo. With its versatility, you can find a place for bamboo in any beach home. We say go for it!
A little whimsy goes a long way.
We love a little beach whimsy! It can come in a variety of forms like these cute coastal signs and sayings to fun flamingo artwork to whatever suits your whimsical fancy. The key is to not do too much. Just a singular whimsical piece in a room is enough to attract the right attention, without being too much of a distraction. Our advice? Choose your whimsy carefully!
Marine fixtures and accents are a nice touch.
Marine fixtures are fabulous! There are so many ways you can use marine items in your beach home. We love this anchor chandelier-style light fixture that is perfect to hang over your dining room table. We've also seen a ship's wheel, a compass rose, and other creative ways to use mariners' treasures in your own home in a similar fashion. Marine wall lights, rope towel holders, and other conversational but functional pieces are your own beach home's nod to beach and boat life.
Traditional coastal classics never go out of style.
Ocean scenes, sailboats, seahorses, surfboards, and mermaids are coastal classic accents that never really go out of style. You just have to use them strategically and artfully, as you would with any other statement pieces. As mentioned earlier in this post, materials like bamboo and rattan are also coastal style classics that span the decades. Bright bold tropical color accents and neutral coastal blues, greens and sandy tones are classic beach house decor elements that aren't going away anytime soon.
Elevate your outdoor space to the next level.
A few chairs and a table to sit your drinks on is all that's required. Let nature take care of the rest! If you don't have the luxury of an oceanfront deck, then all you have to do is make the most of your outdoor space and bring it up to the next level. Whether you have a deck, patio, porch, pool, pergola or some other green space—make it the best it can be. Think comfort, beauty, style and convenience. Use some of the same style tips mentioned above to bring your outdoor space on trend.
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