When you think “coastal” design, your mind probably jumps to jars full of seashells, heavy wall-mounted anchors, and sailor’s rope strewn around the room…
…but you’re probably more likely to live in a home that feels relaxed, sophisticated, and fresh as a breeze. In other words, less clichéd.
Today I’m sharing some tips for styling a classy coastal look without going completely “overboard.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
9. Use coastal clichés in subtle ways
Although you should steer clear of overdoing coastal clichés, you can still use these elements in tasteful, less obvious ways.
For example, instead of hanging up a beachy sign loaded with seashells, try subtly adding coastal elements here and there, like we did with this piece of decorative coral.
8. Select pieces made from natural fibers
In addition to introducing fabulous texture to your room, natural fibers like jute and seagrass have a polished, beachy vibe that’s not so “in your face.” From furniture to rugs to accessories, natural fibers can be found in a variety of items for your home… so you have plenty of options. 😉
As you can see above, we brought in natural fibers through the hanging fixtures, window shades, and the adorable jute-braided stool for extra seating.
Here, the interwoven natural fibers of the headboard add beauty, interest, and the perfect touch of coastal.
7. Embrace a beach-inspired palette
Beachy hues are perfect for creating a relaxed coastal look. If you stick to sandy nudes, ocean blues, and varying shades of white (reminiscent of seafoam and sunlight), you’ll have a perfectly coastal canvas to worth with.
These hues are also known for being relaxing and restorative — just like the beach!
6. Add a splash of color for the Vibrant Coastal look
You didn’t think you could get away with not using any color, did you? 😉 It’s no secret, we LOVE color, and this is the perfect place to introduce it and drive the cliché away.
Neutrals and blues work well with nearly any other color you can think of — so decide which color speaks to you and go for it. (You can also download our How Light Affects Color Guide here.)
This Vibrant Coastal living room uses a beachy palette, touches of organic materials, and splashes of bold color.
5. Go light on the walls
We design a lot of coastal interiors with color but when it comes to the walls, we like to keep it light. Here’s why… the Light Reflective Value (LRV) of a color tells us how much the color either reflects or absorbs light.
When it comes to a coastal interior, opting for a more light-reflective color will create your own little ray of sunshine indoors!
Our all-time favorites are Drift of Mist and Snowbound by Sherwin Williams (both used in the room above). You can’t go wrong with them.
4. Use leafy green plants to bring the outdoors in
We love leafy plants almost as much as we love color (almost…), because they transform spaces. Great options are palms or banana leaf plants, and we wouldn’t say no to a good Fiddle Fig tree either. Trust me… you’ll want at least one of these for the perfect coastal look.
3. Layer neutrals… layer, layer!
Layering neutrals creates texture and depth within the same color palette of whites, creams, and sandy tones. It adds that feeling of comfort and relaxation, but instead of cliché, it looks classy and polished.
2. Select draperies that are light and flowing
Nothing says beach (in a non-beachy way) like flowing drapery. While white linen drapery is always a win, other breezy shades will work just as well.
Here, we chose decorative drapery in soft beachy blues. Can’t you almost feel the ocean wind on your face?
1. Create an indoor porch for coastal luxury
There’s nothing as luxuriously coastal as an indoor porch! Sleeper sofa, hanging rattan swing chair, and a perfect view of the water. Bliss...
There you have it — 9 classic ways to make the coastal look your own without lifting a seashell. I think my work is done here. 😉
If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to download our Interior Design Project Planner and Bookcase Styling Guide. They’ll help you on the way to a home you love and to living vibrantly!