Living near the coast offers a relaxed way of life and beautiful views of the ocean. When designing or renovating a coastal kitchen, it’s important to choose elements that embrace the seaside atmosphere. From airy, beachy color palettes to weathered materials, there are many inspiring ways to bring coastal style into your kitchen. Here are 10 design recipes to create a coastal kitchen that feels open, breezy, and connected to the surrounding coastline.

Use Light, Neutral Tones for Walls and Cabinets

The colors of the coast—pale blues, greens, tans, and whites—should be reflected in your kitchen’s wall and cabinet color choices. Painting walls in subtle hues like Benjamin Moore Linen White or Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt creates an open, airy backdrop. For cabinets, look to slightly warmer neutrals like Benjamin Moore Classic Gray or Sherwin-Williams Balanced Beige to add interest while maintaining a light coastal vibe.

Crisp white cabinetry also helps brighten the space. Try Benjamin Moore Simply White or Sherwin-Williams Pure White for cabinets in true bright white. Avoid stark, cold whites and opt for a white with a subtle warm undertone. The light neutrals will make the space feel more expansive and connected to the outdoors.

Incorporate Weathered, Washed Woods

Natural wood finishes that look sun-bleached or washed add warmth and a sense of being by the ocean. Weathered wood shows signs of wear that lend a relaxed, organic look perfect for coastal kitchens.

For cabinetry, look for finishes like weathered oak or driftwood that have gray undertones and visible wood grain. Or opt for painted cabinets in a driftwood, washed oak, or sea glass color.

Whitewashed pine is another great wood choice for coastal kitchen cabinets and furnishings. The light finish enhances the wood’s natural texture. Use whitewashed or weathered woods for open shelves, kitchen islands, tables, and other accents throughout the space.

Choose Quartz or Marble Countertops

Quartz and marble countertops both complement a coastal kitchen aesthetic beautifully. White quartz options like Caesarstone Piatra or Silestone Helix have an understated elegance and just a touch of grey veining to mimic natural stone. Or try warmer toned quartz such as Caesarstone Rugged Concrete in a soft beige-gray.

For marble, stunners like Calacatta Nuvo add pretty grey and white veining. Or try a honed marble finish for a softer matte look. A marble subway tile backsplash provides another opportunity to incorporate the gorgeous patterning.

Quartz and marble’s durability make them ideal for coastal kitchens prone to moisture and temperature fluctuations. Their light colors and subtle veining patterns align perfectly with coastal design.

Let in Natural Light

Coastal kitchens should feel sun-drenched and full of natural light. Use large windows, skylights, glass cabinet doors, and other translucent surfaces to wash the space with daylight.

Aim for open sight lines outside from multiple angles. Try windows above kitchen sinks or floating glass cabinet doors to enhance visibility. Consider windows specifically designed to prevent glare, heat, and fading. Frame views of seascapes, passing boats, or beach landscapes visible from the home.

Sheer window treatments in breezy linens allow light in while providing privacy. Position furnishings to avoid blocking prime outdoor views from the kitchen. Keeping the space well-lit with natural light evokes the open, airy atmosphere of the coast.

Incorporate Lots of Easy-Clean Surfaces

Coastal homes often have high moisture, humidity, and salty air. Consequently, kitchens benefit enormously from easy-care surfaces that resist wear.

Quartz countertops are practically maintenance-free. Unlike marble, quartz rarely needs sealing and easily withstands stains.

For backsplashes, utilize durable porcelain or ceramic tile. Subway tiles, fish-scale tiles, and other coastal-inspired patterns withstand busy kitchen conditions.

Stainless steel appliances effortlessly handle humidity and require only simple soap and water cleaning. Professional-grade stainless resists fingerprints and smudges.

Design choices like these ensure a fuss-free, tranquil vibe in your coastal kitchen. Focus on low-maintenance materials to handle the coastal environment with ease.

Embrace plenty of Storage Space

Coastal homes often serve as recreational spaces filled with fishing gear, beach toys, towels, entertainment supplies, and more. Design the kitchen with ample storage space to accommodate everything needed for enjoying the seaside lifestyle.

Opt for full-height pantries with adjustable or custom shelving. Include roll-out trays, pull-out baskets, and other storage accessories. Island prep areas with ample drawer space streamline cooking tasks while organizing essentials.

For displaying pretty dishware, open shelving offers a coastal look. However, make sure to install cabinets with plenty of interior nooks, crannies, and compartments for tucking away less visually appealing items. Thoughtful organization ensures everything has a designated spot.

Choose Furnishings with a Casual Coastal Charm

Furniture and décor should have a relaxed vibe that embraces spending time near the shore. Light woods, woven textures, and distressed metal finishes exude casual coastal charm.

Look for kitchen island stools and chairs with rattan, abaca, jute, or seagrass upholstery. Dining tables with reclaimed wood tops add character. Metal pendants with a rustic, weathered patina complement the aesthetic beautifully.

Incorporate found objects from seaside adventures like coral, seashells, driftwood, and unique stones. Use sun-bleached containers, sailor’s rope, floats, and nets to embellish shelves or windows. Allow furnishings to evoke a sense of tranquility and peaceful moments spent oceanside.

Install Flooring That Can Handle Sand and Water

Life by the ocean means wet, sandy feet and beach gear often passes through the kitchen. Select durable flooring that easily handles these conditions.

Natural stone tile brings beauty along with unparalleled sturdiness. Slate, travertine, and textured limestone stand up well to sand, moisture, and heavy use. Opt for honed finishes to prevent slips.

Hardwoods like teak, Shorewood, and Tigerwood offer water-resistance. Look for wide plank floors to withstand wear. Treating with penetrating oils helps repel spills and moisture.

Porcelain tiles realistically mimic hardwood’s look in wet areas. Their non-porous surface readily repels water and resists staining. Consider tile flooring’s durability and easy-clean nature when designing a coastal kitchen.

Incorporate Rustic and Beach-Inspired Textures

Tactile, natural textures connect the kitchen’s aesthetic to the surrounding beach environment. Mixing in rustic, reclaimed, or weathered materials adds depth and dimension.

Whitewashed cypress planks make a gorgeous reclaimed wood paneling. Or use salvaged barn boards on an accent wall or rustic island facade.

Sand-blasted or hand-scraped wood flooring adds rustic texture. Flame-finished granite countertops mimic the rough surface of natural stone.

Woven sea grass bar stools, jute rugs, linen curtains, and other natural fiber textures bring the textures of the dunes and shore indoors. Allow these organic, sun-drenched elements to deepen the kitchen’s coastal essence.

Embrace Breezy, Relaxed Ambiance

A coastal kitchen should evoke the same laidback, peaceful environment found oceanside. Avoid a cluttered look and aim for spare, streamlined style allowing breezes to flow through.

Furnishings and décor should have space to breathe. Attractive bowl displays, plants, shells, and ocean-inspired ceramic pieces can grace counters and open shelves without crowding.

Limit upper cabinetry to open just a small visual expanse of wall space. For windows, keep treatments light and airy or omit them entirely. Let the sunshine in and views outdoors connect right to the interior.

Maintaining a spacious, uncomplicated look enhances the breezy escapism of a coastal-inspired kitchen. Let go of clutter and embrace the calming, carefree appeal found seaside.

Bring the Outside In

Connecting indoor spaces to the exterior views and environment is a hallmark of coastal design. Use various techniques to make your kitchen feel a part of the outdoors.

Gorgeous landscaping, patios, or decks right outside the kitchen windows and doors extend living space. Outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and water features add relaxing ambiance.

Link indoor and outdoor living through wide sliding doors, multiple access points, and sightlines between rooms. Continuity in colors and materials used inside and out also bridges the gap.

Finally, don’t overlook ventilation. A high-quality exhaust system eliminates cooking odors and humidity for comfort. With smart design choices, your coastal kitchen will feel truly integrated with the exterior beauty surrounding it.


Designing a kitchen tailored to a coastal lifestyle and location requires careful planning. From resilient, low-maintenance materials to breezy ambiance and seamless indoor/outdoor connections, several elements combine to create the ideal seaside kitchen. Use this list of 10 design recipes to help manifest your dream kitchen reflecting the relaxed, sun-washed beauty of the coast. With strategic selections suited to the unique conditions and aesthetic, you’ll have a breathtaking kitchen ideal for enjoying your seaside home.

Frequently Asked Questions about Designing Coastal Kitchens

Here are answers to some common questions about creating the perfect coastal kitchen:

What paint colors work best in coastal kitchens?

Soft, neutral hues like light gray, tan, pale green, and creamy white help coastal kitchens feel open and airy. Paint color choices like Benjamin Moore Linen White or Sherwin-Williams Balanced Beige embrace the colors of sand and surf.

What flooring is best for coastal kitchens?

Durable and moisture-resistant options like porcelain tile, natural stone, and treated hardwoods are ideal coastal kitchen flooring. Slate, limestone, teak, and engineered hardwood withstand wear while handling humidity, temperature fluctuations, and occasional water.

What countertops suit coastal kitchens?

Quartz and marble offer timeless elegance for coastal kitchen countertops. Materials like white quartz, honed marble, and Calacatta Nuvo marble suit the coastal palette with pretty veining patterns. Their durability also suits humid, salt-air environments.

How do you incorporate coastal elements into a kitchen?

Use weathered, whitewashed woods, easy-clean surfaces like quartz or tile, and breezy natural fiber textures to embrace coastal elements. Colors mimicking sand, sea glass, and ocean teals bring seaside vibes into the space. Open views, ample natural sunlight, and indoor/outdoor connections also help the kitchen embrace the coast.

What appliances work best in coastal kitchens?

Stainless steel appliances suit coastal kitchens beautifully for their durability, moisture-resistance, and easy cleaning. Professional-grade stainless with smudge-proof and fingerprint-resistant finishes adds style while standing up well to high humidity and ocean air.

How do you decorate a coastal-inspired kitchen?

Decor in coastal kitchens should have a relaxed, casual vibe. Incorporate found objects from seaside adventures, reclaimed woods, woven natural fiber textures, and sun-bleached containers. However, avoid clutter and over-embellishment. The décor should feel peaceful, spacious, and evoke tranquil moments spent oceanside.

What cabinetry suits a coastal kitchen?

Light, weathered woods like whitewashed oak and driftwood paint colors work beautifully. Unlacquered brass hardware and visible wood grains give cabinets a relaxed, organic sensibility. Open shelving provides breezy style while glass cabinet doors enhance visibility and natural light.

How do you create an airy, open ambiance in a coastal kitchen?

Use light wall colors, large windows, minimal upper cabinets, sheer window treatments, and sparse furnishings to make a coastal kitchen feel spacious and breezy. Limit visual clutter, align the indoor palette with nature outdoors, and connect living areas for an open, coastal-inspired interior.

What appliances suit coastal kitchens?

Stainless steel appliances suit coastal kitchens beautifully for their durability, moisture-resistance, and easy cleaning. Professional-grade stainless with smudge-proof and fingerprint-resistant finishes adds style while standing up well to high humidity and ocean air.

What lighting works well in coastal kitchens?

Pendant lights in weathered metal finishes, woven rope pendant lights, and glass lighting paired with Edison bulbs all suit coastal kitchens. Mini-chandeliers and lantern pendants also offer charming, beachy style. Generous natural light is also key to the coastal kitchen aesthetic.