Coastal design is making waves in the interior design space, especially now that we’re missing the sea and all the good vibes that come with it.
It’s the design style of choice when we want to create the perfect beach-inspired home that will remind us of beachside bliss when we walk through the door.
In our design series, learn all about Coastal design: What it is and how to incorporate it into your home.
What is Coastal Design?
Coastal design is beach-y. Natural, down-to-earth, and approachable. It has a laid-back and chic look that is reminiscent of a cottage by the sea.
Taking inspiration from all that we love about the beach, coastal design uses natural light to highlight the clean aesthetic of the space. It advocates for open space and wide windows to capture the open breeze when we’re by the ocean. It uses calming colors and light hues like soothing blues and earthy beige that you would find in a beach house.
Photo source: Unsplash | Steven Ungermann
Coastal design strays away from cliche, kitschy, and dated accessories that are usually associated with nautical design. That means no tacky seashell designs on the counter, beach signs hanging on the wall, and a message-in-a-bottle decor.
Rather, coastal design is all about recreating the seaside aesthetic in a clean manner that can be achieved through subtlety or statement touches. This design style inspires an organically comfortable space by taking inspiration from the natural environment.
Think ‘safe haven’ or ‘veranda by the seaside’ – that’s the look and feel that coastal design is all about. If done right, coastal design can transform your space into a refreshing getaway. It will make your space bright, breezy, and easy like Sunday morning.
Photo source: Unsplash | Humoto Abrianto
Create a coastal look in your home.
Whether you want to add some coastal design elements to your space or incorporate them as your room’s theme, take a look at these starter tips to give your home that seaside vibe.
1. Sunlight is key
One of the best parts of beach days is being able to lounge comfortably under the bright sun. Given that, it is absolutely essential that your coastal-inspired home is designed to let the light in.
Natural light does not only make our space look airy and spacious, but it does a good job of giving us positive vibes. Sunlight also adds warmth and easily gives your home a cozy ambiance.
A great way to achieve this is using large windows (preferably floor to ceiling) to let ample natural light in throughout the day. You can amplify natural lighting by using white walls and mirrors that can reflect the light and make your space feel even more open.
Photo source: Pexels | Max Vakhtbovych
For your window coverings, use white lightweight, billowy, or sheer material to create a breezy feeling and to keep welcoming the light without it being too bright. It’s also a beautiful design element that can make your space even more relaxing and spa-like.
If your home doesn’t get that much natural light, use creative lighting solutions like well-placed sconce lighting, recessed lighting and mirrors. Using small lighting elements throughout your space is a great way to brighten up your room and accentuate entryways, reading areas, and shared spaces, leaving no corner dark and gloomy.
Photo source: Unsplash | Egor Myznik
2. Natural decor, florals, and botanicals
Create a chill and lived-in beach look with the use of natural interior decor. The first important element of bringing nature in is through indoor plants – use plants to spruce up your space and enjoy its other positive effects.
Next, be slightly selective of your furniture and choose those that favor natural elements such as natural wicker, rattan, or weathered wood or those made from white-wash or light-colored wood are also perfect for a beach look.
Studies also show that just having daily views of flowers and other ornamental plants speeds up a person’s healing and recovery period. It’s one of the easiest ways to soothe ourselves and lower our levels of stress after a long day. No wonder, we find a sense of peace and tranquility when we spend time in nature or go to the beach.
Photo source: Pexels | Mark McCammon
Bring that same sense of restorative calm by using these natural elements in your space. Add natural materials into your space to reconnect with nature and feel more at ease.
If you’re looking to welcome more of nature, tackle texture. Add texture and character to your space by using natural fabrics like woven textiles. Handcrafted rugs and wall decor made of woven textiles, straws, abaca, or jute can quickly transform and make it feel more rustic and homey.
Other accessories like rattan mirrors and handmade decor also make your space unique, interesting and add a touch of personality.
Photo source: Unsplash | Paul Hanaoka
3. Create open spaces
Just like how there will always be freedom to move around on the beach, you also want to create a space that makes it easy to move around. That means clearing your space of unnecessary clutter and only keeping what is essential.
Having minimal furniture, only those that you love, can also leave larger open spaces that can make your room feel more spacious, allowing it to stay airy, bright, and breezy. Space-saving furniture like ottomans and shelves are great pieces that will not only clear your home of clutter but can also work as beach-inspired pieces.
You can also create open spaces by removing the borders between the indoors and outdoors. With floor-to-ceiling windows, you can get a wide open view of your garden and get off your bed every morning with a contented smile on your face.
To up the ante of connecting with nature, convert those windows to glass doors that allow you to easily step out for a relaxing morning with your cuppa.
Photo source: Pexels | Leonardo Rossati
Terraces, patios, balconies are valuable spaces that can give you views of the outdoors. These outdoor spaces serve to extend your space and be the perfect zen zone for you to find solace in. Make these spaces more comfortable by creating cozy corners and sprucing it up.
4. Choose a soothing color palette
Coastal design mainly uses a white interior to make it appear more spacious, airier, and more open. Neutrals like off-white and cool greys are also preferred.
For accents, use soothing colors or subdued and pastel hues like light blues, lavender, teal, light yellow, and coral. Earth tones like light beige, tan, khaki, olive, and terracotta will also fittingly add more warmth into your space without breaking away from the seaside theme and vibe.
Noticeably, the color palette fluidly mirrors the calming shades of nature, of the coast or the beach, blending harmoniously and without competition.
Photo source: Asean Sourcing | Pierce Martin
The most common color combination for coastal interior design is the white base and blue accents. Just like the white and blues from the coast of Santorini, this duo brings a cool and serene beach look into your home.
Using different hues and patterns of blues can be used to draw fun visual elements. Layer it with other neutral hues like sandy tans and eggshell white to keep things interesting.
Blue beach-inspired decor like paintings, artworks, or throw pillows helps tie everything together and complete the look of the space. Decorating with different shades of blue instead of sticking to just one shade will give your space more depth.
Pro tip: Layer shades of colors, textures, and patterns to keep your space from looking one-dimensional.
Contrasting dark and light colors, warm and cool tones, are also perfect complements to complete a modern coastal look. Use darker hues or warmer earth tones against a white background to highlight a part of your room like the kitchen or the living room.
Photo Source: Unsplash | Collov Home Design
5. Decorate with ocean-inspired home decor
Make your home feel closer to the beach by adding furniture, decor, or light fixtures that remind you of beach houses or beach resorts. Of course, the trick here is not going overboard with the beach theme.
Avoid decorating with seashells, anchors, and stereotypical beach decor that you would normally find in a souvenir shop. Instead, go for natural furniture and a color palette inspired by hues you would normally find on the beach. The key point is ocean-inspired elements and not the literal or typical sense of ‘beach decor’.
For your decor, you can’t go wrong with a sea-related painting or wall art. It can serve as a cool focal point that immediately shows the coastal-inspired design you’re going for. You can also use coral or seashell-shaped bowls or sculptures in one or two spots to complete the look.
For your furniture, add a rustic feel by using weathered, distressed or sun-bleached wood. Go for an overstuffed and super comfy slipcovered sofas with lots of throw pillows to make your space look more comfortable and relaxing.
Photo source: Unsplash | NeONBRAND
6. Mix modern and traditional
Coastal design does a good job of using both traditional shapes and modern accents. It’s also an incredibly versatile design style that allows you to be as eclectic as you’d like. By adding bulkier traditional furniture or antique pieces with modern decor, it gives the room vintage charm and character.
Bending the rules a bit and adding brighter prints can also give your room a happier atmosphere. Just take note that balance is always the key when it comes to combining different design elements. Pair dark-colored wood with a neutral background or partner bulkier furniture with something more lightweight so as not to overwhelm the space or make it seem monotonous.
Photo source: Pexels | Terry Magallanes