Sea breeze, lapping waves, soft golden sands – there’s little much better than the ocean, and if you love the idea of having a year-round summer inside your house, we’ve found the interior style for you.
Not to be confused with nautical décor, a coastal scheme is all about bringing the beauty of the ocean inside your home, so you can experience the tranquillity of the sand and sea without even stepping foot outside.
The best news? You don’t actually need to live by the beach to fully embrace a coastal look in your home, and with a few simple décor tricks, you’ll be able to evoke the feeling of sun on your skin and sand under your feet without having to leave the comfort of your living room, kitchen or bedroom.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about coastal style, plus our favourite beach inspired décor ideas.
What is coastal style?
Put simply, coastal style is all about reflecting the tones and textures you’d find on a trip to the ocean inside your home.
Sometimes referred to as ‘beachy’ decor, coastal style draws inspiration from the natural elements at the beach – the sun, sky, sand and sea – and replicates them inside your home to create a relaxing, open and airy space.
What is the difference between coastal and nautical theme?
While the mention of a ‘coastal’ theme might conjure up images of seashell lamps and sailing paraphernalia for many people, these features are actually characteristic of nautical décor scheme, not a coastal one.
Nautical décor aims to emulate the interior of a working sailing ship, but a coastal scheme is more about replicating elements of nature found at the seaside. Think California beachhouse rather than captain’s cabin!
When it comes to picking your coastal colour palette, the best thing you can do is look to the beach for inspiration.
Start with a base of light neutrals close to the shades of sand, beach stones and driftwood, before weaving in splashes of blue that replicate the tones in the sea and the sky.
How do you decorate with a coastal theme?
If you’re looking to embrace a coastal scheme inside your home but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at some of our favourite coastal décor ideas below:
Whether it’s in the form of a jute rug or a seagrass basket, adding rattan accents to your space will instantly give it a beachy feel, due to their laid-back, natural appearance. For an authentic coastal look, team them with painted wooden floorboards and soft, relaxed textures such as linen.
Although coastal interiors often include splashes of duck egg or Bright Skies blue, this isn’t an essential. If a muted colour scheme is more your thing, you can still achieve a beachy look by using a combination of earth tones with splashes of black, white and grey.
Living in the UK makes the concept of year-round sunshine seem pretty alien, but this doesn’t mean you should shy away from a summery coastal scheme. In the winter months, you can cosy up your space by adding Scandi-inspired, chunky knit textures to beds and sofas – not only do they add warmth, but the shape of the weave gives a tasteful nod to the ropes and anchor chains you might spot on a sea shore.
Although, strictly speaking, stripes are more of a nautical decor feature, if you’re looking for bedding that suits a coastal scheme, blue and white stripes will look right at home. For a relaxed, beachy feel, opt for linen textures and sky blue tones, rather than navy.
If you’re looking to introduce a coastal element to your space without splashing out on a whole new set of decor accessories, styling some decorative coral branches in your space is a sure way to give it a coastal look. We think they look amazing on open shelving!
If you feel bold enough, painting your living room or bedroom walls in a sea-inspired blue shade will immediately evoke a sense of calm that replicates the feeling of chilling out at the seaside – you can’t get more coastal than that!
If you don’t have the luxury of your very own sea view, why not introduce one into your home with some sea-inspired wall art? Seaside-inspired prints don’t necessarily have to be garish, and they can be a great way of bringing some ocean-inspired colours into your feature wall.
Often a forgotten element of coastal design, glass accents – such as the table-lamp base pictured above – can help bring a coastal decor scheme to life – their reflective qualities echo the shimmer of the sea water beautifully.
If you enjoyed this feature, check out our other style guides, including boho, Scandi, mid-century modern and Art Deco.