The coastal aesthetic is a timeless look that conjures up relaxing visions of sunny beach vacations. With its casual elegance and emphasis on natural textures, a classic coastal style is easy to incorporate into any home. From furniture to accessories, there are key elements that define this breezy style.
Light and Airy Colors
Light, neutral tones like white, sand, and light blue are staples of the coastal palette. These fresh, beachy colors evoke a sense of openness and breathe life into indoor spaces. Whites feel crisp and clean, while sand and tan shades add warmth. Soft greens and blues recall the sea and sky. Painting walls, ceilings, and trim in these light hues instantly lightens up a room. Upholstery, rugs, and linens in sand, sea glass, and linen keep the palette ultra-soothing.
Light Wood Tones
Coastal decor embraces the natural beauty of wood grains. Bleached oak, whitewashed pine, cypress, and driftwood add easy elegance. Weathered grays with soft wood grain patterns have an organic sensibility that feels perfectly at home by the seaside. Painting or staining wooden furnishings and floors in these neutrals lends an airy, vintage charm.
Unfussy fabrics like cotton, linen, seersucker, and belgian linen fit right into coastal rooms. Their textured, breathable weaves make them ideal for window treatments, slipcovers, upholstery, and bedding in a laidback style. Crisp stripes and solids keep the look light and casual. Lightweight curtains that flutter in the breeze help extend that carefree, beachy vibe indoors.
Textural Natural Elements
Incorporating natural materials is key to achieving an authentic coastal look. Neutral jute, seagrass, sisal, or coir rugs provide organic texture underfoot. Rattan and wicker furniture adds casual elegance to living spaces and patios. Driftwood accents and shells collected from beach trips make charming personalized displays.
Neutral Natural Fibers
Natural fiber rugs are a quintessential component of coastal decor. Jute and seagrass area rugs provide softness and visual interest. Sisal’s nubby tight weave works well in dining rooms and entryways that see a lot of foot traffic. Coir and coconut fiber rugs offer delicate, mottled textures. Neutral hues like tan, ivory, or wheat complement the coastal palette. Natural fiber rugs bring breezy charm while standing up well to sand and moisture.
Rattan and Wicker Furnishings
A weather-resistant option perfect for poolside and patios, rattan and wicker lend their lightweight elegance to coastal living rooms and porches. Wicker features a tighter weave than rattan for a smoother surface. The natural variations in color add organic character to any space. Painted wicker in shades of white, sand, and light blue maintains a beachy vibe. Rattan dining chairs surround tables topped with seashells and starfish for easy seaside style.
Personalized Beachfound Accents
Make even landlocked homes feel beachier with accents utilizing natural found objects. Corral shells, sea glass, driftwood, and smooth stones in glass jars or bowls to display on shelves, counters, and tabletops. Attach shells or starfish to picture frames. Sea glass wind chimes add melodic magic to porches or sunrooms. Coat driftwood pieces in a clear sealant and use to make rustic coastal signs with beachy phrases.
The furniture in coastal homes emphasizes comfort and casual living. Weathered wood and rattan designs blend right in, often with a whitewashed finish. Slipcovered sofas and chairs invite relaxation. Four-poster beds draped in breezy linens create a sanctuary-like retreat. Simplicity and function reign supreme in coastal furniture choices.
Whitewashed Wood Furniture
Whitewashing wooden furniture is one of the easiest ways to get that relaxed, beachy vibe. The bleached finish allows the natural woodgrain to show through while lightening the overall look. Whitewashed dressers and nightstands in bedrooms, bookcases in living rooms, and dining tables cultivate breezy charm. For whitewashing, apply a watered-down white paint and then sand or distress areas to reveal hints of the original wood tone underneath.
Weathered Finish Accents
Furniture and accents with a distressed, timeworn look epitomize laidback coastal style. Weathered wood side tables with character add patina. An antique trunk at the foot of the bed accents the relaxed vibe. Salvaged oars, shutters, and windows become charming wall art and mirrors with their well-loved charm. The key is to keep the palette light while letting the natural variations in the woodgrain shine through.
Removable slipcovers are a practical option for coastal living spaces where sand, salt air, and humidity abound. Cotton or linen slipcovers on sofas and chairs can just be removed and laundered as needed. Choose slipcovers in light neutrals like white, ivory, tan, or light blue solids to maintain the beach house vibe. Adding slipcovered seat cushions to existing furniture helps freshen it right up. Change them out seasonally for an easy decor update.
Completing the coastal look comes down to the well-chosen details. Accent pieces that speak to sun and surf help transport the mind right to the tranquil shores. Keep them light and minimal for a carefree charm.
Beachy Wall Art
Use breezy wall art and decor to set the seaside mood. Hang mirror frames filled with shells or sea glass. Nautical maps make charming art in coastal homes. Display weathered oars or paddles. Sepia-toned photography depicting waves, sand, or sea vessels feels soothing and nostalgic. String lights or glass buoys draped along the wall add twinkly ambience. Keep groupings pared down for casual simplicity.
Wicker, rattan, and driftwood pendant lights feel right at home in coastal rooms. Vintage-inspired cage pendants with Edison bulbs add beachy character over kitchen islands and dining tables. Crystal chandeliers updated with wicker or rattan frames create unique texture and coastal charm. Sconces with a distressed, whitewashed finish complement the relaxed vibe of a seaside retreat.
Houseplants are the perfect way to bring the outdoors inside any coastal home. Opt for low maintenance varieties that evoke tropical vibes, like succulents, snake plants, ferns, palms, or dracaena. Simple terracotta pots keep the look uncomplicated. Groupings of plants in natural woven baskets cultivate easygoing charm on porches, patios, and poolside lounging spots.
What are some classic coastal paint colors?
Some of the most popular paint colors for achieving a classic coastal look are soft blues like Benjamin Moore’s Plymouth Rock, Rookwood Light Blue, and Hale Navy; soft greens like Benjamin Moore’s Grey Mist and Palm Leaf Green; and neutral tans, creams, and whites like Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, Manchester Tan, and Classic Gray.
What fabrics work well in coastal decor?
Breezy natural fiber fabrics like linen, cotton, seersucker, and belgian linen are coastal decor staples. Their unfussy, textured feel epitomizes laidback seaside style. Lightweight curtains that move with the ocean breezes reinforce the beach house vibe.
What type of wood finishing is best for coastal furniture?
Weathered driftwood, whitewashed, and washed oak finishes give coastal furniture a relaxed, timeworn look. Let the natural wood grain show through white paint treatments. Distressing or sanding furniture to reveal hints of the original wood underneath works beautifully.
What are some quintessential coastal accent pieces?
Some signature coastal accents include shells, starfish, driftwood, and sea glass displayed in bowls or jars; sepia beach photography or nautical maps as wall art; wicker or rattan lighting fixtures; whitewashed oars or shutters; model ships or boats; and potted tropical plants like palms and succulents.
How can I make a bedroom feel more coastal?
Use light neutral colors on the walls and bedding. Add texture with natural fiber rugs and breezy linen curtains. Incorporate weathered wood nightstands and dressers. Display driftwood, shells, or sea glass on the dresser. Use a whitewashed headboard and hang a woven pendant light. Finally, add greenery and a large mirror or whitewashed shutter for a coastal oasis.
What types of rugs work in coastal living rooms?
Natural fiber rugs like jute, seagrass, sisal, and coir are fantastic options for coastal living rooms. Their textural, casual look is inherently beachy. Stain-resistant, durable sisal and seagrass stand up well to pets, kids, and high traffic areas. Jute brings softness underfoot. Neutral palettes keep these rugs versatile within the coastal aesthetic.
Creating a casually elegant coastal look relies on a thoughtful balance of elements. Keep the color palette light and neutral, focusing on soft whites, tans, blues, and greens. Incorporate weathered woods with washed finishes and rattan or wicker textures. Accent with natural objects like seashells, driftwood, and sea glass as charming personalized touches. Breezy accents like toggled curtains, woven pendant lights, whitewashed signs, and tropical greenery reinforce the beach house vibe. With a relaxed mindset and emphasis on simple, unfussy decor, it’s easy to cultivate a quintessential classic coastal style. The beauty of this timeless look is that it brings tranquil seaside charm to beach homes and landlocked spaces alike.