Coastal Home Decorating Ideas
Picture yourself at the beach: Walking along the shoreline, your bare feet are warmed by the sparkling sand. A gentle breeze swirls about, tempering the heat of the afternoon sun. In the distance, you spot a sailboat lazily bobbing along the azure water. The only audible sounds are the crash of waves and the plaintive call of a lone seagull…
Whether you currently live at the ocean’s edge or miles away, coastal decorating is the perfect way to recapture that dreamy memory. If you love this laid-back look but are stumped as to where to begin, these ideas may just be the impetus you need to create coastal style for your home.
Your best bet is to start with a subdued color palette. Think of the color combinations you find at the beach—blue-green water, crystal blue sky, white and gray clouds, neutral sand, and peachy pink seashells. White, off-white, beige, gray or blue-gray are safe choices for large expanses of wall. Since beach sand is typically neutral in hue, selecting a light floor color makes the most sense for your coastal interior.
Add a secondary or tertiary color to give your rooms visual depth. You can get more adventurous with accent colors, but remember a little goes a long way. If you like vibrant color, splashes of red, orange, or lime green are reminiscent of colorful beach umbrellas. Or, you can use more intense variations of your primary color palette to create a soothing and sophisticated beach retreat.
Rather than going with a overly nautically themed space, choose items that you would naturally see in a coastal setting. Specialty lighting, coral, seashells, driftwood, and sea glass are inexpensive (if you gather them yourself) and make beautiful additions to a home. Candles and are also a nice touch for romantic evenings. Look for candles with fragrances that remind you of your favorite beachy scents like sea spray, cocoa butter, key lime or island margarita.
Your artwork doesn’t necessarily have to be a literal translation of a coastal environment. However, if you find a local artist that specializes in beach scenes, by all means pick one that you love. As long as the art on your walls ties into the colors you have chosen for the room, you are good to go.
Turn an old couch and chair into something wonderful by using slipcovers. Slipcovers evoke effortless beachside style while giving older upholstered furniture a new life. Denim or cotton duck or canvas in a natural color gives furniture a welcoming look and comfortable feel. You can purchase the ready-made variety, hire a workroom to sew custom fitted slipcovers, or make them yourself—provided you are a skilled seamstress.
Pillows are a fun way to add color to your room. Buy pillow covers and down inserts so you can easily switch them out when you’re ready for a change.
Breezy panels of sheer cotton gauze are the perfect choice for curtains. For privacy, install fabric or natural woven shades as your first layer and hang sheer accent panels to round out the coastal look.
Whitewashed furniture pieces always look right at home in a coastal-inspired room. This is another great way you can use what you have on hand. All you need is paint and sandpaper to transform an old dining room table into a stylish addition to your beach home.
If you are on the hunt for new furniture, consider wood pieces with an ebony finish and details such as hand-carving, frieze drawer fronts, turned legs, and bun feet. This will give your coastal home a decidedly British Colonial flair.
Using wicker or other outdoor furniture pieces is another nifty way to give your home the look of a seaside cottage. Pair a vintage dining table with wicker head chairs and metal side chairs for a quirky take on coastal decorating.
If you like the look, but don’t need the physical warmth of a fireplace, why not purchase a fireplace surround and mantel to create warmth of design. This will give your living room or bedroom architectural importance. The mantel will provide addition display space and the wall above is great for a flat screen television, mirror, or piece of art.
Here are a couple of a relatively easy DIY projects: clad the lower half of your walls in white painted wainscoting. You can also use trim pieces to beef up your base molding or create wall frames above or below a chair rail. Consider a beadboard ceiling in the kitchen or bath to give an otherwise plain room that beachy feel in just a few hours time.
Hopefully these coastal decorating ideas have inspired you to bring a bit of the sand and surf into your home!
© 2013 Linda Chechar