Have you ever been in a home which felt so tranquil and inviting that you felt like curling up on their plush sofa – barefoot – with a good read? That would be likely a coastal style home, one that brings the soft tones of the beach in and makes it feel like the perfect place for rest and respite.
Coastal style is an interior design aesthetic that captures the easygoing and breezy atmosphere of coastal living. Inspired by beach houses and seaside resorts, this style embraces organic elements, light tones, relaxed materials, and a casual yet sophisticated vibe.
Far from being a passing fad, coastal style has been around for hundreds of years. Different takes have evolved over the decades and centuries, including distinct regional differences such as Hamptons, Cape Cod, California Coastal, and Palm Beach.
Today contemporary coastal style continues to look inviting and easy with a touch of understated luxury. Fortunately you don’t have to live in a light-filled seaside retreat to feel the effects of coastal style—just take note of the following design elements to recreate it in your own rooms.
Sand, Sea, Sky
Coastal interiors use a light and airy color palette reflective of their surrounding landscape. Shades of sand – white, cream, and beige – form a neutral backdrop. Earth tones along with ocean hues are incorporated to reflect natural elements such as the sky, sea, dunes, and rocky bluffs. Walls are usually painted a crisp white to keep the spaces fresh and bright.
Natural Materials & Textures
Coastal design incorporates an abundance of natural materials to bring the outdoors inside. Common materials include lighter-colored woods like bamboo, rattan, and oak. Often weathered materials like driftwood and reclaimed wood are used as accents. Exposed structural beams, wide plank wood floors, and plaster are also popular materials.
Coastal style embraces textures that evoke a natural and relaxed feel. Woven seagrass baskets, wicker furniture, bamboo window shades, rattan light fixtures, and sisal rugs to add texture and depth to the space.
Light and Airy Fabrics
To enhance the breeziness, coastal interiors feature lightweight fabrics. Sheer curtains, linen or cotton drapes, and light-colored slipcovers are commonly used. Upholstery and pillows are covered in natural fibre fabrics. Sofas are cushy and nap-worthy, while beds are unfussy and effortless.
Casual, Comfy Furniture
We’re sure you’ve figured out by now that coastal interiors prioritize comfort and a relaxed atmosphere. Furniture must be comfortable and inviting – nothing precious – with overstuffed sofas, well-loved armchairs, and lots of plush cushions. Slipcovers are frequently used to achieve a casual and easygoing look.
Coastal-inspired artwork and objects bring memories of sunny days at the beach into rooms. From dreamy watercolour seascapes to nautical oil paintings of boats – and even modern photographs of bathers – artwork is an easy way to bring this style home. Add an old surfboard, a collection of seashell treasures, or hang woven beach hats along the wall.
Vintage Cottage Charm
Even new builds rely on this trick: mix in antiques, include vintage-inspired touches, and line the walls with beaded shiplap to channel historical beach cottage charm. Contemporary-styled homes might add glass lanterns, vintage oil paintings of the sea, and found objects like old oars to bring beachside nostalgia and character to the rooms. These quaint touches make the home feel like it has been loved and lived in over generations.
Without a doubt, coastal style is enormously popular for its ability to create a calm and truly relaxing environment—a welcome respite after a day of work and the urban commute. By combining natural elements, light colors, comfortable furniture, and beach-inspired accents, coastal style homes evoke a wonderful sense of ease and escape to the seaside.
Contact us if you’d like to explore decorating your home in the coastal style.
Feature image source: Pure Salt Interiors (Rancho Mission Viaje, CA)