Embrace the timeless allure of the seaside with vintage coastal style. This enduring look conjures up memories of sun-filled days along the shore, evoking a sense of nostalgia and tranquility. Achieving this aesthetic in your home is easy with just a few key elements that capture the essence of vintage seaside living.

Overview of Vintage Coastal Style

Vintage coastal style is relaxed and casual, focusing on natural textures and materials. Neutral tones like white, sand, and driftwood keep the palette light and airy. Accents in soft blues, sea glass greens, and the timeworn hues of old nautical relics add to the beachy vibe.

Some hallmarks of the vintage coastal look include:

  • Weathered wood furniture, often painted white or left to showcase its natural grain
  • Items made from driftwood and seashells
  • Fabrics like linen, cotton, and seagrass in soft, neutral colors
  • Collections of objects found along the shoreline such as sea glass and seashells
  • Paint colors inspired by the ocean and beach landscapes
  • Natural fiber rugs like jute, sisal, or braided rugs
  • Lighting fixtures reminiscent of old maritime lanterns
  • Accent pieces with a sun-bleached, salty finish

The overall effect is casual, relaxed, and evocative of summers spent by the seaside. Read on for more tips and inspiration on achieving this charming style in your home.

Utilizing Weathered Wood Furnishings

One of the hallmarks of vintage coastal décor is weathered wood furnishings. Pieces made from driftwood, salvaged wood, and antique wood have a timeworn appearance that perfectly captures the essence of this laidback style.

When sourcing wood pieces, look for items with a sun-kissed patina, water stains, visible grain, and other imperfections that speak to the natural origins and age of the material. Neutral, washed finishes in white, gray, and natural wood tones help the pieces blend into your overall scheme seamlessly.

Some ways to incorporate weathered wood include:

  • Living room furniture – A driftwood coffee table and whitewashed side tables make great living room accents. Salvaged wood console tables and bookcases also fit well.
  • Dining room furniture – A farmhouse style whitewashed table pairs nicely with salvaged wood chairs. A weathered sideboard or buffet also works well.
  • Bedroom furniture – Whitewashed and salvaged nightstands, headboards, dressers and armoires give bedrooms a beachy feel.
  • Decor accents – Pieces like wall shelves, sideboards, mirrors with reclaimed frames, and unique live edge pieces make excellent decorative accents.

Shop secondhand stores, salvage yards, and specialty retailers to find authentic vintage and antique wood furnishings. Upcycling or refinishing existing pieces can also lend them that desirable coastal patina.

Incorporating Driftwood and Seashells

One of the easiest ways to inject a seaside sensibility into your home is through driftwood and seashell décor. Abundant in nature along coastlines, these organic materials lend an effortless beachy vibe.

For driftwood, source authentic pieces that have been naturally weathered and worn smooth by the sea and elements. Look for interesting shapes, textures, or pieces with attached barnacles or sea life. Neutral washes can tone down brightly colored new driftwood.

Display your finds in vignettes on console tables, bookshelves, mantels, or windowsills. Larger pieces can serve as sculptures or artwork when mounted on walls. Take care not to overwhelm your space with an overabundance of driftwood.

Seashells are another quintessential beachfront find. Display your collected seashells in glass cylinders, bowls, or dishes. Groupings of similar shells or compositions of mixed varieties make attractive arrangements. Hang nets, line baskets, or fill glass jars with these seaside treasures.

When sourcing shells, opt for neutral varieties and colors that blend with your color scheme. Avoid brightly colored shells that might clash. Keep them looking natural; don’t paint or embellish them.

Use shells and driftwood sparingly as accents alongside other vintage coastal elements so they don’t appear too kitschy or themed. A little goes a long way.

Incorporating Beachy Fabrics and Textiles

Certain fabrics inherently suit the laidback vintage coastal aesthetic. When selecting textiles for your space, opt for soft natural fibers like linen, cotton, seagrass, jute and wool in light neutral hues.

Crisp white linen slipcovers give seating a breezy, beachy feel. Use linen or cotton on windows as curtains, valances or roman shades in whites, ivories or soft sand colors.

Construct pillows out of natural textured fabrics like linen, cotton, or soft chenilles for a relaxed vibe. Tonal ivories, washed denim blues, pale sand colors and subdued stripes or subtle floral prints all work well.

Seagrass and jute make excellent natural fiber area rugs. Opt for sisal or braided rugs rather than plush carpets. Use rug layers to delineate seating areas and add visual interest through weave variations.

Incorporate cozy textured throws and blankets made of cotton, wool, linen or blends. Neutral color palettes help them work year-round as coastal-inspired accents.

Displaying Found Coastal Collections

One charming hallmark of seaside living is collecting treasures from the shoreline. Displaying these found objects lends a sense of authenticity to vintage coastal decor.

Some easy ways to display beachy finds:

  • Sea glass: Collect an array of sea glass shards in blue, green, white and brown. Display in glass jars, bowls or containers. Also use to top potted plants or succulents.
  • Coral and starfish: Bleached coral and sand dollars found along shorelines make pretty display specimens. Display on bookshelves or coffee tables.
  • Seashells: Group shells together by size, color or variety for pretty arrangements. Display in bowls, on plates or hanging in nets.
  • Driftwood: Include driftwood of varying shapes/sizes. Prop on shelves or mount on walls as natural sculpture.
  • Lobster trap buoys: Hang authentic buoys on walls or set on shelves as colorful accents.
  • Fishing nets: Hang authentic fishing nets on walls, drape over railings or use to hold other collected seaside elements.

Display your beachy collections thoughtfully in your vintage coastal space. Keep them looking organic and avoid overly-curated or staged arrangements. Let them blend into the laidback environs seamlessly.

Harnessing Inspiring Coastal Color Palettes

When decorating with vintage coastal style, keep color palettes light, neutral and subdued, taking inspiration from the hues found along the shoreline. An overall foundation of crisp whites and driftwood grays allows other soft accents to shine.

Some inspiring coastal color combinations include:

  • White and driftwood: A white and neutral scheme evokes weathered beach cottages. Use varying soft wood tones and tonal whites/creams for a soothing backdrop.
  • Blue and white: Perennial coastal favorites blue and white feel both classic nautical and modern fresh. Use soft sky blues and crisp whites.
  • Sand and sea glass: Soft beiges, sand tones and sea glass greens create a tranquil, nature-inspired palette. Layer neutral linens, woven textures and pale greens.
  • Bleached and driftwood: Combine sun-bleached neutrals and grayish taupes reminiscent of weathered, salt-worn finishes. Natural textures shine against this subdued base.
  • Stony and bisque: Warm stony grays, bisque and oatmeal neutrals form an earthy coastal palette. Accent with touches of linen and soft reds or corals.

Painted surfaces, furnishings, accessories and decor in these light, neutral hues help set the overall vintage seaside tone. Weave in complementary patterns and accent colors carefully for interest.

Incorporating Maritime and Beach Lamps and Lighting

To complete the vintage coastal vibe, incorporate lighting and lamps that feel reminiscent of seaside living. Opt for fixtures with old nautical and maritime references or casual fabrics.

Some ways to utilize coastal lighting:

  • Woven shades: Lampshades made from woven woods, grasses and rattans complement the natural textural scheme. Use on table and floor lamps.
  • Rope and net detailing: Choose lamps or pendants with rope, net, nautical rope or macramé accents for subtle maritime flair.
  • Weathered finishes: Fixtures with driftwood-inspired branches or weathered ceramic bases reference coastal materials nicely.
  • Beach glass hues: Soft sea glass greens and blues used on lamp bases or shades inject subtle oceanic color.
  • Nautical references: Rope wrapped posts, barnacle-like accents or anchor shapes used minimally on lighting add vintage maritime interest.
  • Natural materials: Wood, rattan, jute, linen lamp bases and shades made from coastal-inspired materials blend well.
  • Simple shapes: Stick with uncomplicated globe, cylinder or bell shade silhouettes. Avoid overly ornate fixtures.

Use lighting strategically to enhance the laidback vintage seaside atmosphere. Overhead fixtures, table and floor lamps, and well-placed sconces all factor into the overall design.

Incorporating Accent Pieces and Accessories

Accent furniture, decorative objects, wall art, mirrors and accessories provide wonderful finishing touches for vintage coastal interiors. When choosing accents, opt for casual, weathered or handcrafted pieces that speak to the relaxed seaside theme.

Some accent ideas that complement this style:

  • Wood tone mirrors with driftwood or salvaged frames
  • Canvas wall art or prints depicting beachy imagery
  • White washed or wood accent tables
  • Natural fiber baskets and storage boxes
  • Glassware in sea glass hues
  • Ceramic vases or bowls with organic coastal glazes
  • Tabletop sculptures and vignettes using shells, stones, glass
  • Macramé wall hangings, plant holders or towel racks
  • Salvaged or upcycled wood display shelves
  • Hooks, coat racks and towel bars in simple driftwood shapes

Accent decorate sparingly, allowing negative space around carefully chosen accent objects. Avoid clutter or overly curated tableaus. Let accent pieces blend in naturally for an authentic timeworn seaside feel.

Achieving the Overall Vintage Coastal Vibe

When pulling all the elements together in one space, keep the overall vintage coastal aesthetic casual, relaxed, weathered and reminiscent of cherished seaside vacations and escapes.

Some tips for creating a cohesive look:

  • Maintain a neutral palette of light driftwood, stony, sand and bleached hues. Use ocean blues and greens minimally as accents.
  • Incorporate natural textures like weathered woods, woven sea grasses, linens and cottons. These add warmth and coziness.
  • Find a balance between worn, salvaged woods and clean crisp whites for visual interest. Avoid an overly rustic or beachy feel.
  • Use found objects like shells, driftwood, glass floats, buoys artfully as accents. Let them blend in, not overwhelm.
  • Allow some imperfection. Distressed antiques, handcrafted pieces, timeworn patinas and soft muted colors all add to the vintage charm.
  • Follow general coastal guidelines but don’t be too literal. Aim to evoke seaside living, not recreate a beach house.
  • Adhere to a less structured, casual approach to décor. Vintage coastal style rejects formality.

With a thoughtful blend of furnishings, finishes, lighting, colors and accessories any interior can channel the timeless, nostalgic allure of vintage seaside style. Welcome friends and family to enjoy your own coastal escape.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vintage Coastal Style

Vintage coastal style beautifully captures the essence of beloved beachside escapes. For tips on achieving this relaxed look at home, read on for answers to commonly asked questions.

What are the main elements of vintage coastal style?

Some hallmarks of vintage coastal décor include weathered woods, items from the sea like shells/driftwood, baskets and woven textures, and soft neutral color palettes inspired by the shoreline. The overall look is casual, nostalgic, and evocative of summers spent by the water.

What colors work well in coastal style interiors?

Stick to soft neutrals like white, ivory, tan, beige, light blue and sea glass greens. Accent colors can include pale corals, sky blues, denim blues and sunshine yellows. Keep palettes light and airy for an open coastal feel.

How can I incorporate coastal style on a budget?

Look for affordable driftwood, shells and nautical relics at secondhand stores and flea markets. Upcycle existing furnishings with white/driftwood paint finishes. Use touches of natural jute, woven woods and other coastal-inspired textiles for texture.

What type of flooring suits a coastal interior?

Light natural wood, weathered patina, tile or stone floors suit coastal decor. For softness, use sisal, jute or braided natural fiber rugs layered over hard floors. Avoid plush carpeting or rugs, which feel too formal.

What are good wall and ceiling treatments for this style?

Light neutrals, painted beadboard, shiplap or tongue-in-groove paneling make good coastal wall treatments. Vaulted timber or washed wood ceilings complement the aesthetic. Accent with dangling rope/netting and avoid fussy treatments.

What kinds of coastal-inspired window treatments work well?

Simplicity is key. Opt for crisp white linen curtains, roman shades or wood blinds. Use natural woven shades and simple drapery panels in coastal blue/white patterns sparingly. Frame views of oceanside landscapes.

How can I incorporate a vintage seaside look in my kitchen?

Use reclaimed or driftwood woods on cabinets, open shelving, kitchen islands and dining tables. Incorporate woven baskets, sea grass cloth napkins, ceramic dishes and mason jars for texture. Accent with pieces like weathered corbels, oars and life preservers.

What are some good sources for coastal style furniture and decor?

Consignment shops, thrift stores, online auctions, antique shops, and specialty retailers like Anthropologie, West Elm and Crate & Barrel offer coastal staples. Etsy artisans also create great handcrafted coastal decor.


Vintage coastal style beautifully merges the relaxed attitude of seaside living with historic charm and modern rustic appeal. Achieving this nostalgic look is made easy by incorporating weathered woods, found objects from the shoreline, soft neutral palettes, and natural textural elements. With strategic use of furnishings, lighting, accessories and color, anyone can channel the unfussy, welcoming vibe of a cherished coastal escape. Embrace the timeless beauty of vintage seaside style throughout your home.