Imagine feeling like you’re on holiday every time you go back home after a long day at work, no matter what time of the year it is and where your house is actually located. Dreamy, right?
That’s exactly the carefree and relaxing effect that you can achieve when you create the right coastal décor!
Ready to turn your home into a breezy beach house and welcome your favorite sea-related elements into your rooms?
Let’s start with a quick overview before diving into our practical list of tips.
What is coastal decorating style?
Coastal décor is a beach-inspired type of interiors that relies on natural light, a soft palette from which blue and light-blue cannot miss, an airy feel, natural textures, and a few beach- or sea-related items and motifs.
In other words, it’s a relaxed and breezy summer all year round!
Different types of coastal décor
What we’re about to describe below is an overview of the most traditional and popular coastal décor (also known as American coastal).
However, you can also decide to opt for a more specific theme or combine your maritime inspiration with elements from another style that are known to go particularly well with it:
- For a tropical island coastal décor, incorporate more actual palms or palm patterns, brighter accents, natural teak, and tropical motifs like pineapples and flamingoes
- Mediterranean coastal décor homages Greek, Italian, and Spanish shores with more sunbaked colors, a few black iron or metal accents, and decorative items made of terracotta
- Coastal cottage décor combines maritime themes with a rustic touch, and you can emphasize it with even more distressed elements and an abundance of cozy textures
Why you’re going to love coastal décor:
- Your home will be full of charming beach-house vibes, making you feel like you’re always on vacation
- You’ll get to create a balanced palette that’s calm and relaxing
- You can really bring nature inside your home
- There are lots of opportunities to make this style unique by focusing on the right sea motif for you
How can I decorate my coastal house?
There are several different ways of turning your home into a visual manifesto for this maritime-inspired style.
To avoid an overwhelming and busy feel, consider combining only a few of these ideas by picking the ones that resonate the most with you personally, reflecting what a connection to the sea truly means to you.
A sea-inspired palette
The palette of a real coastal house should make you feel as if you’re staring at an actual beach: the sun-bleached white of tropical sand, the blue and light-blue hues of the sea, sandy beige, beach-pebble gray, and the yellow, orange, or red of a sunset by the sea.
The trick to combine a few of these colors harmoniously?
- Use white, neutral colors like beige, or a very pale light-blue as your primary color
- Blue, light-blue, and aquamarine shades work great as secondary colors
- Use bolder and warmer shades (from yellow to red) as your accents
Natural fibers, materials & textures
What better way to replicate the breezy feel of beach towels and summer days by the sea than to choose natural textures?
- Cotton and linen are the best fabrics for coastal décor, and you can also use the former for seating slipcovers (an extremely popular element in this style!)
- Wooden furniture is a must, especially in lighter finishes or painted in one of your palette’s colors, but don’t be scared to experiment with a bit of a distressed feel
- Sheer curtains are one of the two easiest ways to reinforce this décor (the other main curtain option is to choose a sea-related or nautical print)
- Consider including a few pieces of wicker and rattan furniture to add to the spontaneous ‘let’s head to the beach and sit outside’ feel
- Jute and sisal are also some popular choices especially for rugs since they’re some of the most rope-style fabrics
- Why not add a few seagrass baskets, too?
Inspire calm, casual & relaxing vibes
Can you remember the last time you headed to the beach because you wanted to feel more stressed or overwhelmed? We can’t either!
A coastal décor should be all about the relaxed and casual simplicity that you experience when you go for a spontaneous trip to the beach or hang out in an actual beach home.
While white walls and elements will help you amplify an airy sense of brightness, try your best to let as much natural light into your rooms as possible (once again, sheer curtains are a big plus).
We also recommend avoiding a cluttered feel by focusing on fewer decorative items and pieces of furniture rather than lots of different ones. For the latter, it also helps to choose simpler and more streamlined shapes.
Introduce more natural elements
With such a heavy focus on the sea, it’s no wonder that coastal décor encourages you to bring nature inside your home. But not just any type of natural elements: mainly those that are related to the beach and the sea, of course!
You can do so both with real pieces and with decorative elements made to look just like them.
For example, choose among shells, starfish, driftwood, coral, or even a DIY glass vase full of sand and the best seashells that you’ve personally picked up.
Sea motifs & a nautical touch
As well as decorative natural items, you can add a sea-inspired twist to more practical pieces, too. For example, you could look for octopus hooks, cabinets with seahorse knobs, or fish-shaped bookends.
From your bedsheets to curtains and cushions, don’t forget to include a few sea-inspired prints, too.
We think it’s important to stress that coastal and nautical décors aren’t the same. However, a few touches of the latter won’t hurt. Some clever maritime tricks are the timeless blue and white (or red and white, if you prefer) striped pattern or immediately recognizable motifs like anchors, compasses, steering wheels, and ropes.
Another maritime idea is to choose a few items that involve rope. You’d be surprised at how wide a choice you have (towel holders, knobs, mirror frames, lamp bases, and doorstops just to name a few).
Still, you don’t want to turn your home into a cliché, so be mindful when you add nautical and ship-related items: you don’t want to go overboard (pun intended).
Create a view of the sea
Don’t worry: we get it. Not everyone can gaze at the sea through their window, so we’re most certainly not telling you that you must move to the coast in order to have the most authentic coastal décor.
If you actually do have a view of the sea, don’t hide it behind thick curtains.
If you don’t, not a problem: introduce it with a large picture of your favorite beachscape or some relevant paintings and artwork.
Popular signature elements of coastal décor
Here’s a little recap of the most recognizable coastal elements as well as a few more ideas that will allow you to make your sea-inspiration crystal clear as soon as anyone crosses your threshold:
- Round windows
- Driftwood pieces
- Indoor palm tree
- Exposed beams
- Built-in shelves
- Cathedral ceilings
- Rope accents