Use beach house decor ideas to evoke memories of sunnier climes, carefree interiors and relaxed coastal style.
A little outpost of sunny seaside style may once have been reserved for roadside motels, but forget the preconceptions that come with that and get ready for a dose of Cape Cod style.
With the lure of living by the seaside more popular than ever, we show you how to recreate the beach house aesthetic in your home, one that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Beach house decor – 10 simple design tips for nautical interiors
Sun-bleached tones and scrubbed woods with crisp whites and delicate textiles to evoke an easy living beach-house look. Disregard notions of themed, overly-decorated schemes with our curated selection of beach house and coastal decor ideas that will provide a refuge from city life. Can you hear the waves lapping?
1. Add interest and texture to a white space
It may be a city abode, but this chic home was designed by Katie Hodges Design (opens in new tab) to be a place to truly unwind.
If you think white living room ideas are only reserved for ultra-modern homes, think again. Surprisingly, a white decorating scheme will work beautifully in a beachy scheme. Evoking cleanliness and serenity alongside confidence and sophistication, white is a wonderfully versatile color for your coastal living room.
Avoid a predominantly white space looking too clinical or sterile by decorating with neutrals. One important aspect to consider when decorating with a pale color palette is to bring in as much texture as possible as it creates interest and layers –important factors when strong colors are out of the picture.
'New coats of white paint had a dramatic impact on the previously dingy interior, bringing a crisp, fresh palette against which to layer natural, roughly hewn textures, such as seagrass curtains, wood tones and leathers,' says interior designer Katie Hodges.
2. Curate a sophisticated yet rustic space
Beach house décor has been having its moment in the spotlight over the past few years – and for good reason. This New England coastal style strikes the perfect balance between sophisticated and rustic; like an escape to the countryside without leaving the city limits.
'It is incredibly easy to over-furnish a beach house space, but that is one mistake you don't want to make,' says Becca Casey. There is a tendency to create chaos in a themed space. 'I advise taking a less is more approach when it comes to furnishing,' says Becca. 'A simple color scheme is the perfect excuse to create a haven of peace and tranquillity.' The coastal scenery on the wall décor cements its seaside status.
3. Decorate with neutrals for an authentic appearance
Cream kitchen ideas are always warm and inviting, making them an optimum choice for your beach house décor ideas. The ultimate neutral, it's just as timeless as white or gray, but sunnier and more welcoming for larger or light-starved coastal kitchens that will feel less like home in cooler tones.
Breathing new life into the classic beach house look, this scheme features a breezy palette of greige, from soft shades through to darker tones. Plus, neutral kitchen favorites such as taupe, magnolia and chocolate for a sophisticated take on beach house decorating.
4. Take a classic approach to beach house decor
Blue and white decor ideas are timeless, and one of the most classic interior design combinations, perfect for creating a serene yet fresh aesthetic. The pairing is often used in beach house retreats to create chic spaces that look relaxed, informal and at one with nature.
The blue and white color match dates back centuries, and was often seen on Chinese pottery, and is still popular with today. Used for coastal blue and white bedroom ideas, this Hamptons-inspired color combination evokes an easy-breezy aesthetic with a laidback beachside lifestyle at its core, although you don't need to have ocean views to incorporate the scheme into your own home.
5. Curate a feast for the senses
This open-plan living room is all about textural elements. 'If you are opting for a traditional hardwood living room paneling ideas, it is essential to commit to looking after it correctly,' says interior designer Kathryn MacDonald of KJM Interiors (opens in new tab). 'The very hot and dry atmospheres found in modern beach house homes can cause damage, so it is worth trying to mitigate that by either keeping the heating set at a lower temperature in the rooms with wall panels, shiplap and cladding.'
'In this seaside space, our goal was to provide generous, flexible seating, which we accomplished with a pair of bespoke navy sofas, a forged iron accent chair, and long bench,' explains Kathryn. 'A textured, neutral palette, accented with blue continues through the home, and gorgeous handwoven window treatments soften the light.'
6. Keep it cool, calm and collected
'There are no standout pieces because I wanted the overall feeling to become the focus, giving the room its charisma and extra dimension. Without varying textures, the scheme would have fallen flat, says interior designer Katie Hodges.
'When designing a room, I often solidify the tone of a room by nailing down the rug, so that was my first decision. From there, the story unravelled with the addition of textural linens, reclaimed wood and vintage beaten-up leather. I wanted to keep the aesthetic tonal, mellow and calm, but with moments of contrast.'
7. Use color, texture and materials to add depth
This beach house was designed to offer warmth in the winter and freshness and tranquillity in the summer. 'The aim was to create a room that was calm and considered yet restrained and not overly decorated – less is so often more when it comes to beach house style,' says interior designer Jessica Bennett of Alice Lane Interior Design (opens in new tab).
Here, the combination of pale colors with the darker finishes balances the feeling of solidity and depth, whilst still making the most of any natural light. Plus, the use of coastal accessories upon the shelves gives the living room a New England-style charm.
8. Paint with beachy blues
‘The drive for personalization in our homes means color is still playing a big part in kitchen trends,’ says Lizzie Beesley, head of design at Magnet Kitchens. ‘We’re seeing lighter pastel hues and pale blues growing in popularity in both classic and modern kitchens.’
As blue is known as the nation’s favorite color, it’s no surprise it’s still top of the color trends. While there’s a hue for every style of home, there’s nothing quite like a cerulean blue kitchen idea in a coastal property, where it will echo the shades of the sea and sky. Keep it modern by offsetting the soft blues with a crisp marble backsplash and countertop.
9. Look up to the 'fifth' wall
The best ceiling ideas offer scope to expand your creativity beyond your four walls, an no more so than within beach house décor scheme.
Beautifully-designed by New York-based interior design expert Amalia Graziani of Noor Property Group (opens in new tab), honest materials and raw finishes lend natural charm in this calming coastal retreat in Amagansett Bay, East Hampton.
‘The space is great for gathering, but felt cold prior to renovating,’ explained Graziani. ‘To offset this, I introduced unfinished oak wood panels for the ceiling paneling and walls. It warms up the space and keeps a calm, uniform palette throughout.'
10. Match watery blues with clay and muddy inspired shades
Atmospheric and characterful, blue tones are inherently linked to a watery path, with a natural cycle connecting sky-born clouds to rivers and seas. Blue colors are a simple way to change the mood of a room, whether it’s with radiant cerulean highlights or dramatic inky backdrops. Try pairing with tonal green and teal, soft, pretty pinks, or warm orange and terracotta tones that fall on the opposite end of the color spectrum for a rich contrast.
How do I make my house look beachy?
Make your home feel like year-round holiday by decorating in a bright and breezy beach house style.
When choosing the best soft furnishings for a beachy scheme, look to those with a relaxed, lived-in feel. Think woven wicker, weathered wood and bleached linen – while natural details add a beach house element, from pebbles and driftwood pieces to seashells and imitation coral.
Much like Scandinavian design, beach house décor ideas are distinctive for several reasons: pared-back, unfussy, uncluttered spaces – and a winning combination of form and function create aesthetically pleasing, yet practical interiors.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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