Coastal Style Guide:
The Beach House
Whether your home has an ocean view or you simply crave a casual, coastal chic feel, there are just a few steps between you and a beach beautiful space. Consider these coastal-style furniture ideas and nautical decorating tips.
The Beach House
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Seaside Style 101: The basics of ocean-inspired home design
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1
Keep it Casual
Since coastal cottages are all about unwinding, furniture and finishes should be relaxed and unfussy. Think slipcovered sofas, wicker furniture, and distressed finishes.
2
Bring the Outdoors In
The look is inspired by coastal settings, so turn to wood tones, natural fibers, and colors evocative of the sand and sea. Teak furniture, jute and sisal rugs, and accents in shades of blue, white, and sea green are hallmarks of the style.
3
Let in the Light
Since beach houses are bright and airy, plenty of light is a must. To let in natural light, opt for diffusing shades or sheers over windows. Layering light fixtures (mixing pendants with sconces or table lamps) adds to the airiness.
4
Think Outside the Shell
A literal approach to coastal style incorporates marine motifs like anchors, shells, and boats. To keep the coastal look from becoming kitschy, limit yourself to one or two beach-themed patterns.
Elements of Coastal Style: Colors and materials with beach-house charm.
The Palette
For ocean-inspired homes and beach houses, there’s no combination more classic blue and white. But by varying shades, saturation, and accent colors, you can personalize the palette for your space and style. Whether you prefer nautical and preppy or natural and serene, consider these color schemes.
For a New England-nautical vibe:
Accent a navy and white palette with bold pops of red and yellow. For furniture, choose darker, polished wood tones like a walnut coffee table or cherry accent chairs, plus painted pieces in primary shades.
For a Carolina-coastal approach:
Pair misty blues and pale shades of aqua with softer shades of white like cream and eggshell. With wood, opt for bleached or white-washed finishes.
For a neutral take:
If you prefer to decorate without much color, evoke a beach house feel by pairing shades of white, gray, and sand with furniture made of reclaimed wood.
For a tropical twist:
Deep aquamarine shades accented by touches of pink recalls waves, conch, and coral. Painted or natural, pieces like rattan decorative boxes and bamboo framed mirrors augment the island feel.
Coastal Furniture
Seaside-inspired furniture is casual, comfortable, and unfussy. It’s meant to be used often, maintained easily, and enjoyed by a crowd of weekend visitors. Follow these tips when choosing beach house furniture.
Keep Upholstery Light
Forgo heavy upholstery like leather or velvet for linen or canvas. Slipcovers are another excellent option: Besides being easy to wash, slipcovered seating in white, cream, or taupe evokes the sails of a boat.
Think Form AND Function
Bunk beds, daybeds with trundles, pullout sofas, and extra seating make it easy to accommodate house guests.
Follow Tradition
Coastal style has traditional roots, so look for timeless shapes or antique pieces. If you want a more updated look, paint classic furniture white or a vibrant shade of red or blue.
Coastal Accents & Decor
Accents that take cues from the sea are a natural fit for coastal homes. Go all-out nautical, or evoke a more subtle seafaring feeling by incorporating the below ideas into your beach house style.
Include Elements of the Coastal Life
Stripes, rope accents, porthole mirrors, and buoys add classic regatta-inspired charm. Sea glass, sun-bleached shells, and collections of glass bottles in various shades of blue and green are reminders of the ocean landscape.
Bring in Blooms
Bouquets of real or faux hydrangeas, pale roses, and tulips keep the look light. Choose casual arrangements, and stick to a mellow pastel palette.
Incorporate Details Found in Classic Coastal Homes
Beadboard, shiplap, and wainscoting add interest to walls. Lantern-style pendants illuminate interiors and outdoor spaces alike.

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