20 Coastal Decorating Ideas for Your Beach Home

By Interior Designer TRACY SVENDSEN | Published on April 20, 2016 | Updated on January 15, 2024

Coastal Decorating Ideas: Are you dreaming of a home that perfectly captures the beauty and serenity of coastal living? A modern coastal look may be just what you need! With its clean lines, fresh colors, and natural textures, this design style is perfect for creating a calming and inviting atmosphere in your home.

But how do you achieve this look without going overboard with nautical themes? This ultimate guide will explore the key elements of modern coastal design, including color palettes, furniture choices, and decorative accents.

I’ll also share tips on infusing your style into the space while maintaining the coastal vibe. I designed a coastal-inspired primary bedroom in my home, and I find the bright and airy hues, in combination with natural textures, make me feel like I’m on a beach vacation year-round. Feature image courtesy of M. Elle Design.


Coastal Living Room in Neutral Tones

Neutral Coastal Beach Home
Image courtesy of McDonald Jones Home

Understanding the Modern Coastal Style

Before we dive into the specifics of modern coastal design, it’s essential to understand the overall aesthetic. The contemporary coastal style is about simplicity, texture, and natural elements.

The color palette often includes whitewashed accents with a mix of blues, greens, and neutral tones by the ocean and sandy beaches. When it comes to furniture and decor, modern coastal design emphasizes clean lines and minimalism. Think open spaces, streamlined furnishings, and uncluttered surfaces. Natural materials like wood, rattan, and linen are added for texture and warmth.

Coastal style evokes memories of sandy beaches and warm sunny days with its laid-back vibe and gentle colors. It’s a haven from the hectic pace of day-to-day life and gently whispers ‘Summer’ all year around. The overall feel of coastal style design is relaxed, comfortable, and inviting, making it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to bring a little bit of the beach into their home.

It’s easy to find inspiration in the natural beauty of the coast. Nothing says “coastal living” quite like an open living room, oversized sofas, nautical stripes, and textural elements. From raffia to rattan, natural materials offer the beautiful tones, shapes, and textures found in nature while bringing an approachability.

Refine your furniture’s color palette to warm earth tones and light finishes to bring in some sun-drenched sophistication. Set the tone for a naturally inspired space by layering different textures like distressed wood and natural fiber rugs.


Coastal Interior Design Style

Modern Coastal Living Room
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Key Elements of Coastal Interiors

Selecting the right color palette is one of the most crucial aspects of achieving a modern coastal look. You want to create a fresh, airy, and beachy space without being overly nautical. Start with a base of neutral colors, such as white, gray, or beige, to create a clean and modern foundation. Then, layer in shades of blue, green, and sandy beige to add depth and dimension.

If you’re hesitant about using too much color, try incorporating it in small ways, such as with throw pillows, art, or decorative accents. This way, you can add a pop of color without overwhelming the space. Remember to incorporate natural light and airy fabrics like cotton or linen to complete the coastal vibe.

1.  Choose a Coastal Color Scheme

Although a coastal color scheme typically incorporates shades of blue, green, and sandy beige to create a serene and relaxing atmosphere, shades of grays and browns also work. Regardless of your preference, choosing soothing tones is best to create a relaxing home that instantly makes you feel like you are on vacation at the beach.

Use these coastal colors in various ways, such as painting walls, choosing furniture and decor, and even in textiles like curtains and throw pillows. The overall effect is tranquility and natural beauty, perfect for a beach house or any space where you want to evoke a sense of calm and relaxation.

Inspired Coastal Palette Ideas

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Coastal Colors

Sea Fare
Image courtesy of BHG.com
Bring on a relaxed beachy vibe with these cool, calm ocean shades.

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Coastal Colors

Eggshell Blues
Image courtesy of BHG.com

Refresh your nest with tranquil, nurturing hues inspired by some of Mother Nature’s favorites.

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Coastal Colors

Driftwood Grays
Image courtesy of BHG.com

There’s a new gray in town, and it’s not the cold, steely hue you’re used to.  These go-with-everything shades, inspired by weathered wood, radiate warmth.

2.  Be Sure to Include Plenty of Organic Textures 

Natural materials feature inherent highs and lows for eye-catching depth, not to mention standout texture. Natural fibers such as wicker baskets and a jute or sisal rug instantly add natural texture to the space. The perfect mix of materials includes wicker, natural woven shades, bamboo, and seagrass.

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Adding Texture
Coastal Decorating Ideas | Adding Texture

Add Strong Textural Elements for Warmth and Depth in the Design
Image courtesy of Serena & Lily Furniture & Home Decor

Think about incorporating: Rattan (strong, lightweight, pliable, and sustainable.  Rattan shines in the art of furniture making), Raffia (finely woven, the fiber from raffia palm brings unexpected texture), Grasscloth (dyed or in its natural state, grasscloth adds unparalleled texture to your walls), Abaca (durable abaca is fashioned into striking rugs, seats, and pendants), Seagrass (an aquatic plant that brings a decidedly beachy vibe. Lovely in basketry) and Jute (incredibly versatile, it’s a go-to-for flooring with a laid-back feel).

3.  Choose Furniture that is Oversized, Casual & Comfortable

When it comes to furniture and decor, modern coastal design is all about simplicity and minimalism. The goal is to create an uncluttered, airy space that feels relaxed and inviting. 

Start by selecting furniture with clean lines and a neutral color palette. Avoid anything too ornate or fussy, as it can detract from the overall aesthetic. Natural materials, such as wood, rattan, and linen, are perfect for adding texture and warmth to space.

Using oversized furniture in coastal design is a great way to create a relaxed and comfortable vibe in your home. The large pieces can make a statement and add a sense of coziness to the space while complementing the coast’s natural beauty. 

Additionally, oversized furniture can be practical for entertaining guests or accommodating large families. Incorporating large-scale furniture into your coastal design can enhance your home’s aesthetic and functionality.

Coastal Interior Design Style

A Serene & Elegant Coastal Living Room 
Image courtesy of Muskoka Living

This bright, serene coastal living has a warm wood ceiling, floors, and comfortable furniture.  The playful patterns in the throw pillows add a splash of color, while the blue and white area rug grounds the space.

4. Add Layers to Add Interest & Warmth 

Layering is essential to provide an inviting warmth to almost any style of design, so be sure to add plenty of throw cushions and blankets wherever possible. Slipcovers on furniture, such as sofas, living room, and dining room chairs, are commonly used in shades of white, beige, or taupe.

5. Include Wood Wherever Possible 

Woodwork detail and wood flooring bring the Coastal style to life. From painted board and batten to whitewashed panel walls and wainscoting, these elements transition your home to a coastal cottage retreat. Wood flooring looks best if kept light and has a weathered appearance in tones of driftwood, whitewashed finishes, or natural maples.

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Adding Layers

Coastal Living Room
Image courtesy of Muskoka Interiors

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Adding Layers

Coastal Throw Pillows
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn

6. Incorporate Stripes 

Create a balance between narrow and wide stripes. Many coastal rooms incorporate broad blue and white or blue and tan stripes ranging from pale blues to navy. Incorporate narrow stripes for contrast in throw pillows, area rugs, and blankets.

Not a fan of stripes? Other options that add color and pattern work well in a Coastal-style home, such as gingham and plaid. Feature these prints in your choice of artwork, window treatments, accessories, and upholstery.

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Using Stripes
Coastal Decorating Ideas | Using Stripes

Using Stripes in Coastal Design
Image courtesy of Serena & Lily Coastal Furniture & Home Decor

7. Keep it Airy, Breezy with Light Curtains 

Lightweight curtains bring in a relaxed and breezy feel that is the perfect finishing touch to a coastal decor scheme. They can help balance the strong tonal contrasts.

8. Take Full Advantage of Ocean Views 

If you are fortunate to have a gorgeous ocean view, use the stunning range of color out of your windows and reflect that throughout your space. The beach acts as a breathtaking focal point, and it’s important that the décor doesn’t compete but rather enhances this natural environment. If you don’t have an ocean view, it’s easy to create this feel simply by adding coastal photography and paintings of the sea.

9. Soft & Natural Lighting for a Coastal Feel

Lighting and accessories are essential elements in creating a modern coastal look. Lighting should be soft and natural, with plenty of natural light streaming through windows.

Beach Home Ideas

Coastal Living Room
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

10. Display Coastal Artwork 

Art and wall decor are essential elements in creating a modern coastal look. Here are a few coastal-inspired art and wall decor ideas to consider:

– Hang a series of beach-inspired prints or photographs.

– Use a large, statement piece of art featuring beach scenes or ocean waves.

– Create a gallery wall featuring a mix of beachy art and photographs.

– Hang a woven tapestry featuring a coastal scene.

– Use a driftwood or seashell wreath as a statement piece on your wall.