The coastal kitchen design style brings the laid-back allure of beach living into the heart of your home. With its casual elegance and focus on natural materials, a coastal kitchen evokes the easygoing spirit of vacation destinations by the shore. This bright, welcoming design style is a perennial favorite for its timeless appeal. When thoughtfully executed, a coastal kitchen design can be simultaneously sophisticated and family-friendly.
Key Elements of Coastal Kitchen Design
Several distinctive elements define the coastal kitchen aesthetic. Keep these features in mind when remodeling or decorating your kitchen in this popular style:
Wood, tile, stone, and metal in natural hues are integrated throughout coastal kitchens. Weathered wood cabinets painted a soft white or pale driftwood gray establish the relaxed vibe. Granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and ceramic tile counter tops and backsplashes provide texture. Rope, wicker baskets, rattan mats, and other natural fiber accents add organic contrast.
Neutral Color Palette
Whites, creams, sand, linen, beige, pale blue, sea glass, and other soft neutrals keep coastal kitchens airy and filled with natural light. Accent walls in deeper ocean-inspired shades like navy blue also work well. Avoid bright colors that feel unnatural by the shore.
Seashells, maps, model ships, driftwood, fishing baskets, and other nautical details incorporate literal coastal elements. Use special pieces like an antique ship’s wheel light fixture over an island or barstools with a rope woven seat as character accents. Add subtle touches like shell hardware, starfish handles, and beach landscape art.
Open Floor Plan
Coastal kitchens connect seamlessly to living and dining areas for a smooth flow reminiscent of airy beach cottages. Large windows, glass doorways, and high ceilings enhance the spacious feel. Breakfast bars and kitchen islands keep the space interactive yet informal.
Wood plank tables with a whitewashed finish, worn painted chairs, upholstered banquettes with cotton slipcovers, and mixed material barstools add to the laid-back look in coastal kitchens. Furnishings might include a driftwood chandelier, shell pendant lights, reed blinds, and touches of wicker and rattan.
Why Choose Coastal Style?
If you’re considering a coastal design for your kitchen remodel or decor refresh, there are many attractive benefits to this breezy, beach-inspired style:
The coastal look never goes out of style. Its focus on natural elements and neutral hues has remained popular for decades and has universal appeal. Coastal kitchens don’t appear trendy or demand frequent overhauls.
While often casual, coastal kitchens can also convey an elegant sophistication. The relaxed approachability of weathered shiplap walls and wicker pendants mixes effortlessly with marble counters, ornate tile, and stainless steel appliances for a polished yet welcoming look.
For many homeowners, the coastal vibe brings a sense of familiarity and comfort. Beach vacations and weekends by the shore spark happy memories and associations with rest and relaxation carried through in this style.
Bright and Airy
With their neutral colors, abundant natural light, and smooth open floor plans, coastal kitchens cultivate an airy, spacious ambiance that feels light and breezy. The tranquility of the style creates a soothing environment.
The casual warmth of coastal kitchens makes this a family-friendly design option. Subtle nautical themes, cheerful colors, and informal furnishings help these kitchens become a natural gathering spot for family mealtime and entertaining.
Design Elements to Include
Certain key design moves can help you nail the coastal kitchen aesthetic. Focus on incorporating these specific elements:
White Shaker Cabinets
Clean-lined cabinetry with a crisp white shaker-style design indexed with visible hinges makes a classic coastal kitchen statement. Opt for a flat front rather than ornate door styles. Paint existing cabinets white if replacing them isn’t in your budget.
While white counters suit some coastal kitchens, pale natural stone surfaces better complement the weathered accents in this style. Honed finishes and veining in options like marble, limestone, travertine, and concrete reinforce the organic vibe.
Subway Tile Backsplash
High-contrast white subway tiles lined up in a brickwork pattern instantly evoke vintage coastal kitchens. Use 3-by-6-inch or 4-by-4-inch sizes. Consider pale blue glass or marble shell tile shapes for a beachy accent.
Sleek open shelves along the wall give coastal kitchens an unfussy cottage feel while displaying beachy serving ware. Try a mix of wood and metal brackets. Add tension rods to hang utensils from.
Incorporate natural fiber accents like jute, seagrass, cotton, and linen. Use textiles for window treatments, seat cushions, throw pillows, table linens, and floor mats. Navy and white awning stripe also works.
Weathered Wood Accents
Reclaimed barn wood or shiplap paneling and ceiling beams, a distressed wood plank island, a salvaged hanging shelf, and a washed wood dining table all add character and dimension. Use pale weathered finishes.
Clustering pendant lights over the main kitchen surface creates an intimate yet still airy overhead lighting effect perfect for coastal kitchens. Try clear glass, woven fiber, or simple metal pendants. Mix small and large options.
Rustic Metal Hardware
Galvanized metal, cast iron, antique brass, and rubbed bronze hardware for cabinets, drawers, and faucets enhance the handmade artisan qualities of coastal design. Seek out galley-inspired shapes and nautical motifs.
Popular Coastal Color Combinations
While coastal color palettes focus on soft neutrals, smart pairings and accents provide visual interest. Consider these pleasing combinations:
- White cabinets, pale stone counters, and a navy island
- Warm white perimeter with a driftwood gray island
- Crisp white paneled backsplash mixed with sea glass tile
- Sage green lower cabinets with creamy uppers and brass fixtures
- Light oak floors with a weathered wood ceiling beam
- White shaker cabinets with a central beadboard accent wall
Incorporate texture and natural materials while keeping the overall scheme soft and subtle for a signature coastal kitchen look.
Ideal Flooring Options
Flooring can make a significant visual impact in setting the coastal design tone. These flooring ideas help create a casually elegant kitchen style:
Whitewashed Wood Plank
Wide-plank white oak or pine flooring stained a beachy whitewashed gray-tan color feels warm and organic. The soft patina fits the relaxed style.
Tile Mixed with Wood Inlay
A concrete tile floor with tonal shell or sea glass shapes paired with a whitewashed wood border ties the space together. The texture combination adds interest.
Natural Stone Tile
Honed limestone, travertine, or marble tile flooring in an extra large scale light stone or neutral tan hue grounds the space with subtle shine.
Wood-Look Porcelain Tile
If you prefer low-maintenance tile but want the coastal wood look, wood-look porcelain planks now offer gorgeous realistic options mimicking driftwood, whitewashed oak, or weathered barnwood finishes.
Ideal Window Treatments
Use breezy window treatments to enhance the coastal kitchen ambiance:
Linen or Cotton Curtains
In crisp white, ivory, sand, light blue, or fabric accented with subtle stripes or banding details, linen or cotton curtains evoke vacation cottages.
Woven Fiber Shades
Bamboo, jute, sisal, and grasscloth shades in soft neutral textures filter light gently. These renewable materials feel earthy and organic.
Wood Blinds and Shades
Painted wood slat blinds, especially softer faux wood options, complement the relaxed style. Open slats create a sense of breeziness.
Natural Fiber Roman Shades
Handwoven shades made of renewable fibers including jute, hemp, rattan, sea grass, and bamboo suit the unfussy aesthetic of coastal decor.
Ideas for Coastal Kitchen Islands
A kitchen island offers additional storage and prep space while serving as a casual gathering spot. Consider these coastal-inspired island concepts:
Weathered Wood Top
An island topped with a solid reclaimed wood plank surface adds organic contrast and complements white perimeter cabinetry. Opt for a washed grayish driftwood finish.
Crisp white shaker-style cabinets topped with tongue-in-groove beadboard introduces coastal cottage character. Pair with a Cambria Quartz Brittanicca counter.
Paint the island cabinets a soft robin’s egg blue for a subtle pop of color. White marble counters temper the hue. Use woven barstools.
Butcher Block Top
A scratch-resistant acacia butcher block top with a live edge paired with whitewashed wooden base cabinets makes a natural statement.
Rope Wrapped Legs
Wrap the legs or base of a furniture-inspired island in nautical ropes or antique ship ropes for a literal coastal reference and visual interest.
Creative backsplashes provide personality while protecting the walls behind cooking surfaces. Consider these appealing options:
- Classic white subway tile with thin grout lines and an accent border tile
- Weathered plank boards arranged in a geometric herringbone pattern
- Antique glass tile with a soft patina in ocean blue-green shades
- Multi-toned marble mosaic creating striations reminiscent of sea waves
- Shell motif ceramic or porcelain tile in creamy neutrals or pale blue
- Handmade art tile with painted beach landscapes, sand dollars, seashells
Stylish Coastal Sinks
While functionality remains key, don’t overlook the style impact a sink can make. For coastal flair, look for:
An oversized, deep single basin apron-front fireclay or enamel farmhouse sink conveys casual cottage appeal. White shows less wear.
The organic look of an antique hammered copper sink develops a beautiful patina over time. Pair with brass fixtures for rich contrast.
For a sleek but still relaxed look, opt for an extra deep, modern stainless restaurant sink. They’re designed for durability and easy multitasking.
Stone Vessel Sink
A natural stone vessel sink atop a wood vanity reinforces the organic coastal elements. Travertine, bluestone, and limestone work well.
Boat Basin Sink
Nautical-inspired sinks shaped like boat basins, complete with “docking cleats” for towels, make a literal coastal reference. Look for durable fireclay construction.
Best Coastal Kitchen Faucets
Don’t overlook the faucet’s role in completing your coastal design. Seek out:
Clean-lined high-arch bridge faucets often with two handles suit transitional kitchens. Look for polished chrome or non-lacquered brass.
Gooseneck faucets are reminiscent of pipes on ships and cottages. Look for industrial styles in matte black, navy, or galvanized nickel.
Heavy duty commercial-style faucets with extended swing spouts and lever handles add utilitarian style. Pair with restaurant sinks.
Wall-mounted taps save space for smaller coastal kitchens. Look for swing-arm or bar faucet styles you can mount behind the sink.
Antique brass T-pump or gooseneck reproduction faucets add old-fashioned whimsical coastal charm. Coordinate with oil-rubbed bronze accents.
Ideal Cabinet Hardware
Don’t overlook the importance of kitchen cabinet hardware. Nautical-inspired options like:
- Galvanized metal handles or knobs
- Antique brass or bronze with a rubbed patina
- Rope or jute wrapped cabinet pulls
- Clear glass knobs
- Weathered tin or aluminum in coastal hues
- Ceramic, shell, or starfish shaped pulls
Offer easy ways to weave coastal personality into your kitchen. Mismatched mixed metals suit coastal eclectic kitchens.
Best Coastal Countertop Materials
Countertops take up significant visual space, making material selection key in coastal kitchens.
Elegant marble in soft whites and creams has delicate gray veining evocative of the sea and makes a timeless countertop choice.
Honed limestone offers a muted palette of warm whites, tans, and creamy grays perfect for coastal kitchens along with organic texture.
A classic material, hardy soapstone develops a silvery patina and feels quintessentially beachy. It stains easily though.
Custom cast concrete counters by artisans marry coastal and modern aesthetics. The mottled texture works beautifully.
Wood Butcher Block
Wood counters require maintenance but bring wonderful warmth. Opt for lighter maple, oak, or bamboo-patterned styles to suit coastal decor.
Stylish Bar Stools for Coastal Kitchens
Comfortable barstools invite lingering over shared meals or wine on casual evenings.
The distinctly coastal texture of woven sea grass or water hyacinth stools adds organic contrast against crisp cabinetry.
A weathered driftwood finish and reclaimed barn wood stools reinforce the laid-back kitchen vibe. Add padded seats for comfort.
Wicker or Rattan
The breezy look of woven wicker, cane, or rattan stools pairs perfectly with the coastal kitchen aesthetic. Use in breakfast nooks.
Metal and Wood
Combining materials, like steel legs and acacia wood seats, creates an interesting mixed media look fitting coastal casual style.
For cushiness and chic style, try linen, cotton, or denim slipcovered stool seats. Use dress maker details like contrast welting.
Captivating Coastal Kitchen Lighting
Task, ambient, and accent lighting all factor in coastal kitchen schemes. Focus on:
Groupings of 2-3 glass globe or wagon wheel pendants overhead create intimate yet airy illumination. Try clear glass, jute wrapped, or antique brass.
For overall ambient light, use recessed can fixtures. Keep them discreet with trim kits in white, matte nickel, or antiqued bronze. Use warm LEDs.
Illuminate counters and workstations effectively using undercabinet lighting. Opt for energy efficient LED strip lighting on dimmers.
Make a dramatic style statement with a large beachy chandelier over an island or dining table. Try driftwood, shell, or woven rattan looks.
Mount coordinating sconces flanking windows or by an accent wall for a soft glow. Seek out coastal looks like glass hurricane shades or antiqued brass.
Stylish Storage Solutions
Creative storage enhances functionality and keeps coastal kitchens organized but out of sight. Try these ideas:
- Baskets lining open shelves rather than cupboards
- Galley-inspired rails with S-hooks under shelves
- Sea grass baskets or ceramic canisters for a tidy countertop
- Vintage-look metal cans for utensils and tools
- Slatted wood boxes for fruit and vegetables
- Glass apothecary jars for dry goods
- Whitewashed crates stacked as a snack station
- A salvaged cupboard for glassware storage
- Nautical rope or jute handles on cabinets
Additional Coastal Kitchen Decor Tips
Add finishing touches embracing the breezy coastal vibe:
- Incorporate bits of beachy texture – starfish on windowsills, rough jute placemats, netted bowls of seashells
- Choose food-safe finishes and durable surfaces that withstand humidity and salty air
- Display collected beach treasures like sea glass, coral, and driftwood organically
- Keep windows bare to maximize natural light or use sheer linen panels
- Add subtle pattern with fabrics showcasing stripes, shells, sailboats, or anchor motifs
- Use furnishings that can withstand high humidity and salty air – avoid delicate finishes
- Feature accents with a handcrafted, artisanal look – woven baskets, ceramic vases, handblown glass
- Hang a large rustic driftwood dining table lighting fixture as a sculptural coastal statement
- Create defined mealtime spaces with traditional wood table paired with slipcovered chairs
The casually sophisticated coastal kitchen design aesthetic brings laid-back beach style into the heart of your home through its focus on weathered natural materials, soft neutral hues, and refined yet relaxed details. Making smart design choices that embrace this style allows you to create a welcoming, family friendly kitchen with timeless coastal appeal.
FAQs About Coastal Kitchen Design
Coastal kitchen design remains an enduringly popular style for its breezy, beach-inspired aesthetic. If you’re considering this relaxed look for your kitchen remodel or redesign, review these frequently asked questions to inform your approach:
What colors work best in a coastal kitchen?
Soft neutral whites, creams, light blues, pale greens, and weathered natural wood tones create a light, airy feel reminiscent of seaside cottages. Crisp navy blue also complements the coastal palette nicely. Avoid loud colors that feel unnatural or tropical.
What backsplash suits a coastal kitchen style?
White subway tile, sea glass tile, weathered plank wood, concrete, marble mosaic, and painted tiles with beach scenes or shells make excellent coastal backsplash materials. Neutral tones keep the focus on natural texture.
What flooring options work for the coastal look?
Wood plank flooring stained a weathered whitewash or driftwood gray, tumbled natural stone tile, concrete with subtle shells mixed in, and porcelain tile mimicking worn wood all make fitting coastal flooring choices.