The smell of salty air, the sound of crashing waves, the feel of soft sand beneath your feet, and the gorgeous ocean ahead of you…There is nothing more soothing than a stroll along the coast! If you can’t be at the beach everyday but wish you could, I’ve got the solution for you! You can bring the sea to you by adding beautiful coastal elements into your home!
When I think about coastal, think more Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Hatteras than Miami Beach. Don’t get me wrong, the bright, tropical feel is delightful, fun, and vibrant, and I fully intend to do a tropical makeover blog, but today is all about adding elements of cottage coastal with a contemporary edge!
Think Airy, Breezy, and Bright
Coastal design is less about the ocean itself, and more about an overall feeling. Each room is meant to feel spacious, airy, and open. This means the first thing you want to do is maximize your natural light – take down heavy curtains, blinds, and shades and embrace the sunlight with bare windows or white sheer panels.
Also, this means eliminating a lot of excess clutter, heavy furnishings, and anything that brings “weight” to a room.” Dark, ornately carved furniture, artwork in dark, intense colors, and coarse upholstery in dark or busy patterns don’t work with the soft, light, natural feel of coastal decor! Instead straight lines, open spaces, and a minimalist touch evoke the openness of the beach.
A Coastal Color Palette
To work with the light, airy feel of the coast, white is the most commonly used color in coastal design! It’s bright crispness lends a clean feel to any space and when used in a matte, chalky finish, it lends a rustic vibe.
In addition to white, varying shades of sandy neutrals work beautifully – khaki, sand, taupe, and linen layer beautifully with white while creating depth and dimension. Plus they warm up the room to keep it from feeling too sterile and pristine. You want a room you can live in, relax in, and enjoy!
Use cool tones of soft blues and grays to mimic the sky and sea while pale green evokes soft sea grasses. These bring the true feel of the beach into your home, plus they work especially well in bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms.
Consider these gorgeous paint colors for your walls, trim, and furniture or to inspire your fabric and textile choices:
Tranquility by Benjamin Moore: a soft, cool gray with both blue and green undertones;
Baize Green by Sherwin Williams: Think sea glass and sea grass with this light, neutral green
White Heaven by Benjamin Moore: A barely-there blue
Oyster White by Sherwin Williams: With soft undertones of grey and taupe, this isn’t a crisp, bright white, but is instead a more mellow, warm shade
Queen Anne’s Lace by Sherwin Williams: A blend of linen and white, this clean tone is good when you’re looking for a white with warmth.
Paper White by Benjamin Moore: Crisp white with the subtlest pale blue undertones
Classic Furniture with a Contemporary Edge
When you’re selecting pieces to furnish your coastal design, you’ll want to select furnishings that are sturdy, classic, and simple. Picture weathered woods like driftwood or reclaimed wood. If you want a newer feel, lean toward light colored woods like maple and ash rather than heavy, dark woods. Whitewashing and painted wood also works well in this design style! Also, these “rules” (and I use that term very loosely) apply to flooring – light-colored, wide-plank floors look right at home in your beachy-themed house.
And remember to keep it casual and breezy – overly formal furniture, even in light woods clash with the overall feel of the space. Instead of ornately carved or styled furniture, go with simple, clean lines.
Natural Fabrics, Fibers, and Textile
In keeping with the light, simple theme of coastal design, when it comes to selecting upholstery, fabrics, and textiles for your home, natural is better. This is where you bring coziness into your room without overloading it with heavy wools or unnatural blends.
Instead, consider sturdy slipcovers and cushions for your furniture while adding soft cotton throws, sisal or jute rugs, and bed coverings in soft, ring-spun cottons and linens for cozy textures
Accessorize with Beach Elements
Once you’ve got your home painted and furnished, add a bit of personality into you home with beachy accessories! Rope baskets, boat oars, and copper lighting fixtures are some of the larger elements that accentuate cottage-coastal decor, but you can add small finishing touches with colored glass jars, a few seashells and starfish adorning a shelf, and stunning black-and-white photos in reclaimed wood frames.
Create Finishing Touches with Greenery
In keeping with bringing the feel of nature indoors, be sure to bring actual nature indoors! Bring in fresh flowers for pleasant pops of color throughout your home along with enjoyable fragrances. Blooming hydrangeas in pale blue or white, daisies, or lilies are lovely. If you want to keep living plants rather than fresh cut flowers, ferns and green plants like snake plants, aloe, and spider plants all make simple to care for indoor plants, and the lush green will add more vibrant color without clashing with the feel of your home.
If you’re ready to turn your home into a coastal hideaway or embrace any other style, and you’re not sure where to start, reach out to me! I provide all manner of interior design services to help you create the home or workspace that is both beautiful and functional.
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