Coastal Living is more than just a location, it is a state of mind. This means you can embrace this mindset even if you are landlocked or miles from the beach. Studies have shown that coastal living can actually improve your mental health. There is a feeling of serenity that comes with the tranquility of the sea. So whether the sound of the waves crashing on the shore brings you back to vacation or the smell of the salt air takes away your stress, you know the coastal lifestyle is for you!
The challenge, however, can be maintaining the coastal living mindset throughout the year and throughout the country. One of the best ways to embrace coastal living is through coastal interior design!
Coastal Interior Design is different depending on what region you are designing for. For example, in the Caribbean, you will envision vibrant colors and patterns and textiles. Whereas, in the Mediterranean, warm and earthy textures set the mood.
Here in America, true coastal design can be summed up as light, bright, and white. It uses natural lighting from the sun, bright blues that compliment both the ocean and the sky, and clean white focal points. These all blend together to create a coastal space that is both welcoming and comfortable for you and your guests.
As we mentioned previously, you can bring the coastal mindset with you wherever life takes you through coastal interior design! Now let’s dive into how to coastal design the key spaces in your home including:
- Coastal Living Room Design
- Coastal Kitchen Design
- Coastal Dining Room Design
- Coastal Bedroom Design
- Coastal Bathroom Design
- Coastal Outdoor Design
COASTAL LIVING ROOM DESIGN
Coastal Design In The Living Room uses natural sunlight to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for relaxing. If you enjoy the pleasures of waterfront living, you’ll want to pass on window treatments that may take away from the serene water views you are able to enjoy.
If your living room lacks natural light or has a less than tropical view outside, you can choose lamps, sconces and mirrors that portray the feeling of the sun through artificial light.
You’ll then want to amplify the light in your living room with WHITE! White walls, floors, and ceilings create a sense of openness and not only make the space brighter, but also feel larger.
Coastal Living Room Furniture while still white and bright is comfortable and durable. If you imagine the beach is just steps outside your door then you need to imagine sand and salt water making its way into your home. We love white slipcovered sofas as they can withstand the elements and be easily dry cleaned when the time comes.
Choosing furniture pieces upholstered in outdoor fabric is also a great way to create a living space that looks beautiful, but is also durable. Adding rattan or wood elements can help pull some natural tones to the space without causing it to feel cramped.
Photo Credit: Jessica Glynn Photography (Top Left) Brantley Photography (Bottom Left and Right)
Coastal Living Room Accessories should be used sparingly as unnecessary decor can take away from the clean and airy feeling of the space. A select few pieces such as small vase, tray, or faux coral stage nicely on a coffee table without overdoing it. If you would like to add a pop of color to the space, choose fun throw pillows for your seating area. Blue patterned pillows bring the feelings of outdoors in! Then complement your side tables with an interesting table lamp to create a statement in the living room.
COASTAL KITCHEN DESIGN
Coastal Design in the Kitchen should have a natural focal point where the eye is automatically focused upon entering the room. This could be your kitchen’s island or dining nook, as these areas can be accessorized with select coastal décor and pops of color. If a complete kitchen overhaul isn’t in the scope of your interior design project, here are ideas for freshening up your home’s most popular space!
Coastal Kitchen Furniture should first be functional for your family’s needs. Then it is important to consider whether the table, chairs, and other furniture are too large or too small for the room. When selecting new coastal-living style furniture for your kitchen area, choose worn or reclaimed woods for your tabletop. Then choose appropriate dining chairs with clean lines in a natural wood or white color. If the dining nook is the focal point of your kitchen, you can choose dining chairs in a fun color to draw the eye to this area. Whereas if your island is the focal point, you’ll want to consider bar or counter stools that pop.
Photo Credit: Brantley Photography (Left and Center) Palm Beach Creative (Right)
Coastal Kitchen Lighting should be carefully chosen based on the functions of the kitchen as well as for aesthetic appeal. Nautical pendant lighting above islands is often a go-to design move, especially those that have a nickel or bronze finish. Of course, you want to take full advantage of any natural lighting that your kitchen receives and just use accent lighting to highlight details or textures. For an eat-in kitchen, choosing a small chandelier is a popular option for above your table.
COASTAL DINING ROOM DESIGN
Coastal Design In The Dining Room starts with the largest piece of furniture – the table – and builds off of it. Dining tables that are worn, smooth, or bleached out and exude the natural elegance of a piece of driftwood are what you’re after here. Then you can complement your reclaimed wood tabletop with simple, yet elegant white chairs. White slipcovered chairs are also a beautiful option. Make sure to choose a slipcover fabric that is easy to wipe clean or have dry cleaned when needed.
Coastal Lighting in the Dining Room is similar to that of an eat-in kitchen. You’ll want to choose a chandelier that creates a statement and draws the eye in. This chandelier can either be white to play off the chairs or choose a rattan chandelier to bring in more of a natural look.
Finally, it’s time to accessorize the dining room with your table settings and centerpiece. This is a great opportunity to add a pop of color and textures to your dining room. Plus these colors can easily be changed depending on your mood or season. Layer your tabletop with placemats, dinner plates, napkins, and napkin rings. Large bowls make great centerpieces for a large table or for a more intimate area, choose a vase and colorful flowers.
Photo Credit: Palm Beach Creative (Left) Brantley Photography (Top Right & Bottom Right)
COASTAL BEDROOM DESIGN
Coastal Design In The Bedroom is all about creating a calm and relaxing mood as that is the place you’ll go to rest your head each night. The bedroom lends itself to a lot of white and blues as this is the fundamental color palette for serenity.
A good rule of thumb is to choose 3 colors for your bedroom.
- A dominant or foundational color that will be used on the walls, the carpet/rug and fabrics.
- A secondary color used in your coastal decor items.
- An accent color that is used thinly to add vitality and flair to the room.
The photos below are a great example of this. The bedroom on the left has a more neutral palette while still following the rule of 3. The dominant color is cream as shown on the walls with white as a secondary color in the bedding, chairs, and chandelier. A gold accent color then adds flair to the room with the picture frames and accessories. On the other hand, the bedroom on the right uses 3 more vibrant colors. The dominant color here is white as shown on the walls and bedding. The secondary color is light blue from the headboards and lamp, while the salmon colored euro pillows provide the accent color and a pop to the space.
Photo Credit: Brantley Photography
COASTAL BATHROOM DESIGN
Coastal Design In The Bathroom will allow you to create a spa-like oasis. With the right use of fixtures and decorative details, your bathroom can be your getaway inside your home. If you’re starting from scratch, your bathroom’s centerpiece should be a deep soaking tub. It’s wise to put some shelving nearby your tub to get quick access to plush towels, aromatic soaps, and your favorite brand of vino.
Hints of coastal-inspired texture can be added to the bathroom with the use of natural or earthy materials such as a woven hyacinth ottoman or faux coral accent. If your bathroom features a deep soaking tub, consider choosing a light colored chandelier for above it otherwise sconces can help create a well lit and beautiful bathroom.
Photo Credit: Brantley Photography
COASTAL OUTDOOR DESIGN
Coastal Design Outdoors will truly complete your coastal living dreams because nothing beats an outdoor living area when it comes to ultimate relaxation. You can have coastal design outdoors with an outdoor living room, outdoor dining area, or just a place to kick your feet up and enjoy your atmosphere while allowing the stresses of the day to fade away.
Outdoor Dining Areas definitely require shade. Position your outdoor dining table under a covered patio or pergola to allow you to reduce the amount of sun and heat from overhead. For an added aesthetic touch, hang lightweight fabric panels (we suggest white) to provide added ambiance but also to block the sun’s powerful rays while still allowing plenty of natural sunlight to shine through. If your space allows, the installation of ceiling fans can keep your outdoor space comfortable even on the hottest of summer days.
For seating options, consider durable outdoor occasional chairs or outdoor slipcovered chairs that are washable, stain resistant and can withstand all the sun and water that your space affords.
Photo Credit: Jessica Glynn Photography (Left) Brantley Photography (Right)
Outdoor Living Rooms should follow the above principles on shade and sunlight as well. This will ensure you have the functional, yet aesthetic, touches that make your space comfortable year-round.
For seating, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for durability if you take advantage of outdoor slipcovered sectionals or sofas. And what’s an outdoor living room without an all-weather wicker chair, providing added texture to your area?
If your outdoor living space affords electrical connections, add some nautical charm with glass and metal lanterns. We particularly enjoy the use of these with a dimmer to set the mood during those romantic nights under the moon. Finally, layer in some decorative elements such as a whimsical mirror and an outdoor rug.
Photo Credit: Brantley Photography
You’ve reached the end of our Coastal Interior Design Guide, now you’re ready to create your own interpretation of what your beach house will be like! With some inspiration from the above pictures, your own research into other inspiring coastal rooms (Pinterest is a great place for this!), and a little tinkering, you will be getting calls from your friends to help design their homes!
Enjoy lounging in your coastal outdoor living room, bathing to the sounds of the ocean in your tranquil spa-inspired master bath, or finishing up the last few chapters of Robinson Crusoe in your newly appointed bedroom.
For more coastal-inspired design tips, check out the Pineapple Girls blog for the latest ideas for your home.