How to decorate a coastal home tastefully without being a decorator

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

The aesthetic for creating this style of decorating is simplicity and elegance. Every detail of these rooms are geared towards creating a calm, peaceful and relaxed haven from the hectic busy world that we live in. I will show you how to achieve this while pulling you away from the commercial and sometimes kitsch way of decorating a beach style home. Coastal decorating does not mean painting all your walls blue, or having signs indicating the beach nailed on all walls, and it is certainly not a nautical theme, with decor items depicting lighthouses, anchors and sail boats in vivid colours of red and navy blue. Coastal decorating is peacefully neutral with an undertone of relaxed elegance in soft muted colours reminiscent of the sea and surrounds.


The first thing you need to do is to choose a calm, cool and very neutral colour palette. Start with sandy beiges, whites and off-whites and also soft greys to create a totally soothing and inviting environment. Normally, a decorator will tell you to offset your neutral tones with a bold pop of colour, but in reality, you are wanting to choose a muted colour to complement the neutrality and keep it calm and peaceful. Think soft blues, greens and greys, drawing inspiration from the colour of the ocean. Pastel coral or pink, mimicking the colours of sea shells or draw some inspiration from your immediate vegetation surrounding your home that you can see from your windows. Perhaps you have heather growing outside and therefore a soft pastel purply grey would be just the sort of colour to go with your neutral background.

Keep your layout simple, clean and soothing


Embrace a minimalistic approach that keeps the room uncluttered, has clean lines and where the eye travels from one item to another in a calm manner without too much to distract. This conveys a sense of modern sleekness which is so attractive in coastal homes today. To achieve this, make the furniture the focal point, leaving enough space to move around comfortably.

Layer lots of different textures together


When creating your coastal feel, layering textures together is key to adding interest to an otherwise very neutral room. Take the above image for example. Note the rough texture of the rug, the grain of the wood on both the seating and coffee table, the smoothness of the earthenware pot and the fireplace surround and the knotty texture of the pottery bowls and seating ottomans. Scatter cushions with a geometric or zig zag pattern in a soothing blue add a pop of colour to bring in a colour theme, while adding plush comfort for you and your visitors. Rule of thumb to remember in coastal decorating is that less is more. Always. Play with neutrals in a fun way by bringing in texture. Make the area comfortable and inviting by adding plump feather pillows, soft throws and some ottomans to provide a place for friends to put their feet up and relax, while providing extra seating should you need it.


Last but not least, it is time to place all of those favourite coastal decor items you love so much. In coastal decorating, you want to use fewer decor items than you would in a traditional home and I think that adding a touch of quirkiness to your decor keeps it interesting. You can do this by mixing both modern and traditional items to give you that balanced relaxed feel. Think Hamptons, with soft muted tones, lots of neutrals, gorgeous textures and touches of whimsical abounds. Don't be afraid to mix a few trendy items with one or two statement pieces that give you that beachy nostalgia.

Gone are the days of overstuffed and over accessorised homes which you probably still have in your memory bank. Instead, it is replaced by understated minamalistic comfort and style with trendy pieces embracing the calmness and serenity of living at the beach.

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