How To Design With a Coastal Theme

How To Design With a Coastal Theme
  • Opening Intro -

    You might think of coastal décor as seashells and boats everywhere, but it's a beachy style that doesn't have to be so literal.


A few tips on how to design with a coastal theme can give your interiors a breezy touch during any season.

Stick To a Soothing Palette

For a coastal theme, the idea is to incorporate elements of your favorite getaway for a relaxing atmosphere. Even if you do nothing more than use coastal colors, you’ll still get the feel of a never-ending vacation.

The color scheme isn’t subject to trends. It’s based on white: walls, floors, and furniture that brighten a room even on dark days. You can layer light neutrals with strategic doses of blue and gray to offset the summery style.

  • Pro Tip

    Add pillows, rugs, and lamps with blue stripes or even botanical prints to invoke the beach without going overboard.

Use Natural Materials

Sun-bleached wood is a hallmark of coastal design, but lighter stains or white finishes have a similar effect. Rustic and distressed materials work, too.

Build on that foundation with jute rugs, upholstery and slipcovers in white cotton and linen, or even a stone or driftwood accent.

Look for furniture that will add an ambiance of informal leisure to characterize the room, even if it’s a home office. Visual reminders of luxury resorts can even reduce stress.

  • Pro Tip

    Rattan end tables can add coastal flair without overwhelming your décor. If you want something less tropical, a leather club chair could conjure images of lazy weekends and cocktails.

patio grillingpatio chair w/ tables

      some sunroom ideas to consider      

Invite the Light

You may not be able to count on the sun all the time, but you can amplify its impact with mirrors that ricochet those rays around the room. Glass tables and transparent lighting fixtures keep the airy atmosphere flowing, and small sea glass knickknacks contribute color and take you right back to the beach. Anything silver pairs well with the blues in your décor, too.

  • Pro Tip

    Maximize natural light with white, sheer window treatments.


Keep It Loose

Just as you might wear white clamdiggers during a beach stay, your furniture can don easy coverings too. If you haven’t tried slipcovers before, this is the perfect place for them.

You can instantly convert a sofa with a slipcover in white, natural linen, or cotton. Adjust the fit with ties. If it looks like it would billow in the breeze, you’ve got the right idea.

  • Pro Tip

    Another way to achieve that “loose” vibe is with an open floor plan. Leave plenty of space between furniture for the feel of a wide-open stretch of beach.

other related articles of interest:

Learning how to design with a coastal theme can be a lifesaver when you feel cooped up at home, unable to travel. Start by adding lighter touches, and if you love the look, you can really dive in. That’s right, bring on the shells and sailboats!

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