Beach cottages are as charming as they sound. They capture the breezy feel of the coast—with its sunny days, open windows, and laidback atmosphere—and they pair that beachy ambiance with the cozy charm of a cottage. Think: rustic furniture, comfy linens, and a healthy dose of kitsch.
Of course, there are lots of ways to design a beach house, and there are just as many ways to decorate a cottage, so beach cottages can take many forms. They can be casually cozy, traditionally homey, or rustic in a way that feels truly maritime.
All that variety comes with an upside: as you piece together the coastal cottage of your dreams, you’ll have plenty of beach cottage decor ideas to take cues from.
Set the Scene With Printed Wallpaper
Printed wallpaper is at home in a classic cottage or a kitschy beach house, so it’s a great way to set the tone in your beach cottage. Line your walls with simple stripes, cover them with pretty florals, or add personality with a playful beachy pattern.
Since there are so many ways to design a beach cottage, there’s no going wrong here. Find a print you love looking at and let it inspire the rest of your space.
Commit to Classic Coastal Colors
When decorating a beach house, you can’t go wrong with classic coastal colors—like sky blue, seafoam white, and sandy beige. By sticking to this palette, you can make your home feel beachy and coastal, no matter how many rustic pieces you throw in the mix.
Stock Up on Wicker Furniture
Wicker furniture looks great in any outdoor space, and it’ll look just as good inside your beach cottage. Why? Its natural texture and outdoor friendliness are perfect for any laidback beach house. And since wicker was big in the ’50s and ’60s, the furniture is both charming enough and homey enough for any cozy cottage.
Line Your Walls With Beadboard
Beach houses are known for their crisp white walls—and you don’t have to sacrifice those to score some classic cottage charm. By lining your walls with beadboard, you can make your walls feel textured without disrupting your breezy palette. And you can nod to one of the most rustic materials used in both cottages and beach houses: wood.
Make Your Own Mini-Mudroom
If your beach cottage isn’t big enough for a full-blown mudroom, build a mudroom nook, instead. With a bench, some cushions, and a handful of hooks, you can craft a mini-mudroom that makes your entryway cozier and more functional.
Invest in a Stone Fireplace
Snuggling up by the fire is lovely—no matter how hot it is where you live. So, cozy up your space by building a fireplace in your living room. Keep the addition feeling beachy by favoring warm-weather materials, like brick, travertine, and stucco.
Soften Your Sleekest Pieces
Beach houses and cottages have one thing in common: they’re perfect places to relax at the end of a long day. Identify the sleekest pieces in your space, and soften them with pillows, cushions, and blankets.
A wooden accent chair may look great in your space—but if it isn’t soft enough to sit on, it doesn’t belong in your coastal cottage.
Install a Light Blue Barn Door
Barn doors are too rustic for most beach houses. But with the right finish, they should fit into any beach cottage. Snag the prettiest barn door you can find, and paint it a classic coastal color—like ocean blue or seafoam green. The beachy shade should balance out the homey accent, making it an ideal addition to your space.
Hang Paintings in Your Bathroom
Hanging art in your bathroom may seem like a strange choice. But it’s thoughtful touches, like these, that make beach cottages feel so inviting. So look for places to make mundanity feel more charming or special—your bathroom wall is a great place to start.
Make Slipcover Furniture Your Friend
Slipcover furniture is a favorite in coastal design. It’s rugged, sturdy, and soft—an ideal thing to sit on after a sweaty day at the beach. And since slipcover furniture is so traditional—most recently gaining prominence in the 1940s and 1950s—it makes the perfect quaint addition to any cozy coastal cottage.
Leave Your Structural Beams Exposed
Exposed structural beams are common in cabins and beach houses, so they’re a no-brainer in your coastal cottage. Paint them to match your walls, or leave them completely unfinished. Either way, they’ll add a homey, textured touch to your space.
Put Beachy Linens Everywhere
Cozy blankets and pillows are a must in any cottage. The only problem? It’s hot by the beach. So trade your plushest faux furs and your thickest wools for breathable cottons and lightweight linens. Then, put those textiles anywhere you can—hang them from your windows, drape them over couches and chairs, and use them to make your bed even more nap-worthy.
Score a Set of Woven Barstools
If you don’t like the feel of rustic wood chairs, stock up on woven seating, instead. Since woven furniture is often made of natural materials, it should feel earthy and textured enough for your beach cottage. Plus, it tends to be pretty hardy—making it ideal for laidback lounging and easy cleaning.
Ground Your Space With Rustic Materials
If your beach cottage starts skewing a little too coastal, use rustic materials to make it feel more like a cottage. Stock up on naturally stained wood furniture, invest in a few metal lamps, and leave earthy brick accents unpainted. These rustic pieces should ground your home in cozy charm, balancing out your brightest, beachiest decor.
Paint Your Furniture Legs Blue
One easy way to make a piece of furniture feel more coastal-cottage-appropriate? Paint its legs blue. The easy DIY should make the piece feel crafty and coastal, giving it a homespun quality that’s perfect for any beach cottage.
Invest in Charming Backsplash Tiles
You can do a lot with your beach cottage kitchen backsplash. You can stock up on vibrant tiles in classic coastal colors. You can add personality to your kitchen with a playful print. Or you can go the rustic route with a set of textured ceramic tiles. Options are abundant—and it’s hard to go wrong. So focus on choosing tiles that are charming, eye-catching, and perfectly suited to the vibe of your beach cottage.
Mix and Match Classic Prints
Prints abound in beach houses and in cottages, so mix and match some of your favorites. Add rustic charm with printed rugs, floral armchairs, and traditional wallpaper patterns. And lighten things up with classic coastal prints—like nautical stripes, playful polka dots, and kitschy beach iconography.
Craft a Cozy Coastal Breakfast Nook
Breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of the day—it’s also the most important meal in any beach cottage. Because when you’re dining out and lunching on the beach, breakfast may be the only meal you’re enjoying at home. So build a breakfast nook that makes mornings more delightful. Pair a rustic dining table with a cozy banquette, and bring the space together with coastal pillows and decor.
Snag an Antique Bath Stool
Make your bathroom more comfortable, more functional, and more stylish by springing for an antique bath stool. The stool will add some rustic flair to your otherwise-beachy bathroom. And it will give you a place to store towels, swimsuits, and sunscreen whenever your counter space is limited.
Alternate Between Beachy and Rustic Accents
If you’re struggling to achieve the beach cottage aesthetic, make things easier on yourself. Snag a beachy piece. Then, snag a cottagey piece. By alternating between coastal and rustic accents, you can keep your space balanced without too much thought or effort.
Keep Flowers on Your Nightstand
Little details—like fresh flowers on a nightstand—may seem like an afterthought. But they go a long way in making an atmosphere more inviting. So look for places to add these thoughtful finishing touches. They’ll dramatically cozy up your beach cottage, taking it from simple to special.