Kitchens in beach houses face unique design challenges. The light, airy ambiance of a beach house can easily feel at odds with a dark, closed-off kitchen. At the same time, the high traffic and intensive use of a vacation home kitchen demand durable, low-maintenance materials. In this week’s featured kitchen, we see how the homeowners and designers struck the perfect balance between beauty and practicality.

Blending Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

One of the keys to maximizing the beach house feel in the kitchen is to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. This kitchen does that beautifully through:

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows along two walls, framing ocean views
  • A door to the deck, allowing easy flow to outdoor dining and lounge areas
  • Crisp white cabinetry matched with weathered wood floors, echoing the color palette of the sand and sea

Skylights overhead and high ceilings maintain the sense of airiness. However, the furnishings and finishes are far from flimsy.

The Understated Appeal of Shaker Cabinets

Crisp, white Shaker-style cabinetry keeps the look timeless and beachy. Shaker cabinets have:

  • A clean, fuss-free aesthetic that suits the laidback vibe of a vacation home
  • Visible hinges that create decorative interest through their repetition
  • Recessed panel doors and drawers for a subtle pattern and visual texture
  • Versatility to complement any style, from modern to traditional

The simple style eliminates distracting ornamentation and gives the kitchen a light, uncluttered look and feel. The lack of elaborate trim also makes Shaker cabinets a budget-friendly choice.

Practical Porcelain Countertops

While engineered quartz countertops have become popular for their appearance, porcelain delivers the same sleek, contemporary look with added practicality. Porcelain countertops are:

  • Made from refined ceramic that’s resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and moisture
  • Available in designs that mimic natural stone, concrete, wood, and other materials
  • Seamless, preventing dirt and spills from collecting in crevices
  • Easy to clean and disinfect
  • Durable enough to withstand heavy prep and cookware

For a beach house that bustles with activity, porcelain is a practical choice that sacrifices no beauty. The neutral white porcelain countertops here keep the focus on the views outside.

The Functionality of Custom Storage Solutions

To make the most of every inch, the designers customized storage for specialized purposes:

  • Cabinet-height pull-out pantry cupboards to eliminate wasted space between shelves
  • A baking station complete with a marble-topped pull-out work surface and separate spice, flour, and sugar canisters
  • Deep lower drawers with vertical dividers for cooking utensils and pots
  • Drawers with rubber mats in a guest area for beach bags, sunscreen, and pool toys
  • A coffee bar and wine station built into the end of the expansive island

Thoughtful details like these make the kitchen highly functional for a busy family.

Achieving the Beach House Look

Some key takeaways for creating a beach-inspired kitchen with real-life practicality:

  • Use light colors like white or pale blue on cabinetry, and weathered wood floors for a beachy palette
  • Select durable, moisture-resistant materials like porcelain countertops
  • Include custom storage solutions to handle beach house traffic and activities
  • Blur the borders between indoors and outdoors through floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights and access to decks or patios
  • Look for opportunities to create specialized prep zones based on how you entertain and relax

The result is a kitchen that truly captures the easy, breezy essence of beach house living. With smart design choices, you can have a beautiful, highly functional kitchen without sacrificing the vacation vibe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some good counters for beach house kitchens?

Porcelain, quartz, granite, and concrete are all durable, low-maintenance options that suit the casual ambiance. Avoid high-maintenance surfaces like marble or butcher block that require frequent sealing.

Should you have an island in a small beach house kitchen?

Yes, islands are useful for extra prep space and casual dining, even in small kitchens. Opt for a narrow island on casters that can be moved aside when not in use.

What flooring works best?

Hardwearing porcelain or ceramic tile and weathered wood floors stand up well to sand, moisture, and heavy use. Save soft carpeting or unsealed hardwoods for low-traffic areas.

How do you maximize storage?

Use every inch with pull-out shelving, customized drawers, and built-in storage cubbies. Store less used items like formal dinnerware in high cabinets. Have a dedicated pantry for food items.

What’s the best lighting for a beach kitchen?

Abundant natural light during the day via skylights and windows. For dark mornings or nights, use pendant lights over islands and undercabinet lighting to illuminate tasks without glare.


The quintessential beach house kitchen balances breezy, coastal beauty with highly functional and durable design. Keeping things light, bright, and fuss-free while paying attention to storage, material selection, and seamless indoor/outdoor flow results in a space that embodies beach house living at its best. With smart planning, you can have a laidback yet luxe kitchen that stands up to heavy use by family and friends.