Whispering summertime all year ’round, like a balmy sea breeze, the coastal interior design style is all about transporting you to the beach, no matter where you live. Technically speaking, it incorporates a broad spectrum of micro styles, from the relaxed sophistication of the Hamptons look to the nautically-themed beach house your granny may have had on the Sunshine Coast. But, in essence, creating a stylish contemporary coastal home incorporates several common factors: amplifying the natural light, harnessing a soothing ambience with a soft colour palette and facilitating a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living. From Bondi to Bedford, this style is enormously popular — and it’s not hard to see why.
1 Abundant natural light and sheer curtains
2 Integration of indoor and outdoor living spaces
3 White on white palette with soft accent colours
4 Calming coastal shades of blues and greens
5 Rustic and whitewashed timbers
6 Natural materials, like linen, rattan and cane
7 Breezy open-plan design
A beautiful contemporary coastal home doesn’t need to by flanked by swaying palm trees or be overlooking the sea (although, no one’s complaining if it does!). But creating rooms that amplify the natural light with shades of white on white, tall windows and sheer, breezy curtains will immediately set the coastal tone, which is all about relaxation, vacation mode and retreating from the mania of modern life. To amplify the illusion of space, consider long curtains hung from ceiling height. This little trick makes the ceiling seem higher and your room more spacious. Add plenty of lighting options, from table lamps to a statement chandelier, so you can set the mood for every moment. And don’t forget the magic of mirrors — they amplify the light and further promote the illusion of space. Hang one in every room to bounce the light around.
As the beach house vibe is all about blurring the line between the indoors and out, where ever possible, try to bring the outdoors inside. French doors and bifolds opening directly to decks, patios and balconies immediately unite the spaces, inviting relaxation. If your layout won’t accommodate this, bring a little bit of the outdoor theme into your interior décor. Don’t go overboard with seashells, driftwood and nautical rope — rather, keep it subtle and stylish with just a few accent pieces that appeal to you. The contemporary coastal theme works best with understated hints. (Quick! Ditch Big Mouth Billy Bass 🐟 while hubby’s not looking.) Motifs of palm fronds, blue skies and lapping waves can create a subliminal coastal experience. Tie it altogether with loads of luscious indoor plants (faux is fine if you won’t always be there to water them).
Layer up on neutral shades, like crisp whites and muted hues of beige reminiscent of shifting sand dunes. To keep it from falling flat, add texture with lush fabrics, whitewashed or rustic timbers and natural materials such as rattan, cane and bamboo. Vibrant pops of your favourite colours will also help to lift the space. If you want to amplify the seaside vibe select shades of sky blue, turquoise, aqua and green. For a more Mediterranean or Caribbean coastal look, opt for vibrant shades, such as azure, emerald, persimmon and lime. The boho beach house look is harnessed, however, with natural tones and textures, soft pastel colours and some exotic influences, like buddhas, elephants, sari fabric or the enchanted doorway print.
Open up the spaces as much as you can. It will amplify both the light and feeling of spaciousness, drawing in the tranquil feels. Every corner of your home should be a little oasis of serenity with plenty of soft rugs, cushions and throws in beautiful shades and textures. This includes your outdoor areas, if they’re undercover. Nothing says coastal luxe quite like curling up on an outdoor sofa and enjoying a cheeky cocktail or afternoon siesta.
We’ve got loads of contemporary coastal furniture and homewares in-store and online for you to harness the modern beach house aesthetic in your home. And don’t miss our guide to creating a suave gentleman’s retreat — you could surprise your teenage son with a stylish update or make a divine den for dad.