If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably realized that our design projects don’t look like everyone else’s — and we think that’s a good thing! While most design firms typically adhere to a specific style (modern, traditional, farmhouse, coastal), our signature aesthetic combines a few and is one we proudly created all on our own…
I’ll let you in on a secret: coining a new design style was as much a creative decision as it was a business decision. Yes, the vibrant coastal aesthetic is where we excel as interior designers, but even more so, it embodies our design firm’s mission. And honestly, my personal mission, too.
We believe in helping our clients live their boldest, most authentic lives — and your environment plays a HUGE role in inspiring and supporting that goal.
In fact, I remember wayyy back, before I became an interior designer, when I was working in corporate. Sure, I climbed the ladder for a while, but I harbored a secret dream of finding a way to live my passion every day. So what did I do? (Other than getting my degree in Interior Design.) You better believe I found ways to insert confidence-boosting color and inspiring spaces into my life. And yes, they made a difference! Because here we are. 😉
Now, fast forward nearly a decade into running Blakely. With hundreds of design projects under our belts, my team and I realized something… the projects that had the greatest positive impact on how our clients lived and felt every day embodied our love of color and coastal roots. And you know what? We loved those projects the most, too.
The rest is history. The “vibrant coastal” style became our specialty… and there’s no way we’re turning back now!
So, what are the features of this aesthetic? What emotions does it inspire? How do we express it in a unique way for each and every client? Come take a look…
What is the Vibrant Coastal Aesthetic?
The Vibrant Coastal design aesthetic is a blend of bold color, soothing coastal vibes, and a crisp, clean approach to design. We believe that each of these features play a role in creating a life and home that inspires you to life boldly and beautifully.
The Role of Vibrant Color in Your Home
We know that bold, vibrant color can change how you feel and live every day. Why? Because color has a proven emotional impact on each and every one of us. By understanding the psychology of color, we can select hues designed to inspire your most ideal emotions in every space — relaxation in the master bedroom, energy in a kitchen destined for entertaining, etc.
Of course, these ideal emotions can differ from person to person, which is exactly why we start every project with creating deep, authentic relationships with our clients. When we can understand how you want to live and what you want your spaces to do for you, well… that’s where the color magic happens!
Our initial client meetings where we present the design concepts (like the slide shown above) gives us the opportunity to gauge how color confident you are. These clients are true color lovers, so we didn’t shy away from bringing in the bold hues for their master bedroom concept!
The Role of Coastal-inspired Design in Your Home
It’s no secret that many of our projects take place in coastal Rhode Island, and there’s nothing like nature for inspiration. But our coastal aesthetic goes beyond ocean blues and sandy neutrals. To us, our beautiful northeastern coast is more than meets the eye…
It’s that invigorating breath of fresh, salty air. It’s that soul-deep feeling of relaxation brought on by the rhythmic crashing of waves. And above all, it’s that endless stretch of sea and sky that fills us with limitless possibility.
That’s what we want coastal-inspired design to do in your space — bring you peace, mental freedom, and fearlessness! Here’s how we do it…
Who wouldn’t feel ready to take on the day with this stunning ocean view?
5 Characteristics of our Vibrant Coastal Design Aesthetic
Now that you are well-versed in the vibrant coastal aesthetic, you’re ready to see how we bring this style to life for our clients…
1. Color that Pops in Your Space
To put the “vibrant” in vibrant coastal, we always select colors that pop in the space! For some of our clients, but not all, it may require a little courage to step out of their comfort zone and use a bold color. (Even if it’s just the 10% in the 60-30-10 color rule!)
Getting a color to pop isn’t about simply picking a bold shade and adding it to your space. There’s some color science to it. To get a color to pop, you have to make sure they are CRISP!
“Okay, Janelle, you got me… what is a crisp color?” Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging. Crispness is about creating contrast, and there are 2 ways we do this: value and saturation.
Color value describes the color’s lightness and darkness, where white is 0 and black is 10. Pairing colors with a low value (1-2) and a high value (7-9) creates contrast and crispness. For example, navy blue and white or lemony yellow and Nantucket blue.
Not to be forgotten is saturation. Saturation can be defined as the intensity of a color. Pastels are very low saturation, while a vibrant orange would be considered highly saturated. The pairings with the most pop are usually a highly saturated color with a low value color.
Low value (white) accented with high value (dark grey) and paired with low value/high saturation (yellow) makes this powder room pop!
2. Organic Textures
Vibrant coastal design is more of a nod to freshness, beach-inspired elements and the coastal lifestyle. In other words, to avoid your home becoming a cliché, subtly is the name of the game.
Texture is one of the best, most understated ways to do this. Natural fibers automatically remind us of ocean living, such as jute, wicker, bamboo, grasscloth, etc. And the best part? Texture can be added nearly anywhere on the walls — on the ceiling, floor, chair caning, with textiles for window treatments or furnishings, etc.
We used grasscloth to add coastal texture to this coffered ceiling in The Lemon Tree Project.
We’ll work together to incorporate textures that bring comfort and a coastal feel to your home — without the jar of sand. 😉
3. Non-Cliché Coastal Furnishings & Decor
As I said above, when choosing coastal-inspired furnishings and decor, subtlety is key.
For example, we often balance warm, sand-inspired neutrals with those crisp saturated colors I previously mentioned. Warm-toned woods, like wicker, rattan, and burlwood, are also perfect for bringing in a natural coastal feel.
Our most requested hue is blue, for obvious reasons, but other “coastal” colors can include yellow, green, and orange. Paired with low-value neutrals (like warm-toned woods), these colors bring in the coastal vibe and look extra crisp.
Now, I have to tell it to you straight — living by the ocean does not mean that we want to use starfish and anchors everywhere. (I see this so overdone in our area.) Instead, a single piece of coral or a string of wooden beads are great coastal touches for a coffee table or bookshelf. Greenery (real or faux) can bring in a touch of the coast — palms and tropical florals are guaranteed to elevate your space!
This blog post on non-cliché coastal decor is a great starting point if you’re decorating on your own.
The sunroom in The Mallard Project has the perfect combination of bold color, natural textures, and seaside-inspired décor.
4. Space Planning
This aspect of vibrant coastal design is highly important because it entails how we fill your space.
Picture a minimalist living room. There’s not a lot of furniture, there’s ample empty space, and though you might not realize it, sound carries more. Now, picture the other extreme, an overly filled space. There’s furniture everywhere, bookshelves are fully stocked, walls are covered with art and decor, and the room is designed to make you feel super cocooned and cozy.
With the vibrant coastal aesthetic, your home will likely land somewhere in between.
We believe you should have enough space to take a deep breath, move around freely, and entertain. But we also want there to be enough furnishings and decor to make your space feel welcoming and comfortable. It’s a balancing act!
Together, we’ll find the perfect combination for you and each space of your home. And this balance is an element we’ll keep in mind as we select furnishings and decor to really bring in that wow factor…
Vibrant color. Natural textures. Comfortable space plan.
5. The Wow Factor
Last but certainly not least is the wow factor, an intrinsic part of the vibrant coastal aesthetic. After all, if we’re trying to inspire your most vibrant life, your space should impress and delight you! But… how can we define what creates “wow” in a space?
If you ask me, the wow factor comes down to this… a bold touch of the unexpected.
If you look at our projects, you can find the wow factor nearly anywhere — in a gorgeous patterned wallpaper, in vibrant fabrics on walls and furnishings, as statement art pieces, or even as custom one-of-a-kind roman shades and pillows.
In fact, a “wow” piece of fabric or art can often inspire the rest of the space! Like this stunning fabric (Citrus Garden by Schumacher) for our Lemon Tree Project…
In truth, the wow factor is unique to each client. It all comes back to our mission of designing a space that speaks to our client’s soul and encourages them to live vibrantly in their home and everyday life.
Once we know what you love, we can add the wow factor that will light you up day after day after day…
Inside Look: Our expanded design library literally has thousands of fabric samples that speak to our design aesthetic. It’s the perfect place to source wallpaper, fabric, trims, and paint colors to bring the design together. Our clients get to see these in person during our design meetings. With so many options, every design is unique to our client… and stunning!
Although I’ve given you a numbered list of the 5 key elements of our Vibrant Coastal aesthetic, it’s worth mentioning that we consider all of these elements simultaneously when designing projects.
Every element of design is interconnected and must be evaluated from a bird’s eye view and inspected with a magnifying glass. It sounds meticulous, yes, but that’s precisely how we create spaces that are truly cohesive, one-of-a-kind, and endlessly inspiring. And we love it!
If you’re ready for a vibrant coastal design project, let’s get to know each other. 😉 Or, if you’re eager to get started on your own, we’ve got your back too. We’ve hand-selected some of our favorite vibrant coastal style finds just for you…
Until next time…