You may only visit the beach on vacation, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the timeless interiors of seaside homes year-round. When you're dreaming of airy, fresh spaces with natural elements, bring the beach to your home with subtle nautical décor to make your rooms feel like a coastal retreat. Whether you're steps from the ocean or in downtown Manhattan, a staycation is only a few design ideas away.
To achieve the carefree coastal look in your space, take a cue from interior designers with the clever use of natural textures, linens, art, and tropical elements. Just like your favorite swimsuit and denim cutoffs signify that you're heading to the beach, these decorating ideas can turn your rooms into a breezy, coastal-inspired space—without ever leaving your apartment.
Read on to learn the best coastal decorating ideas that will make you glad to stay home when you can't hit the beach.
Bring the Outside In
Hamptons-based interior designer Tamara Magel firmly believes that beach homes should be decorated with textures, not colors. When using neutral tones and organic textures in your space, add some life with beautiful lush greenery for an instantly-carefree, outdoorsy vibe.
Get Inspired by the Coastline
Want to be inspired by the coastal lifestyle even if you're nowhere near it? Take a cue from L.A-based blogger Jacey Duprie, and add oversized beach photography to your walls. After all, who wouldn't want to stare at the Positano coast all day?
Keep Things Light
This apartment by The Line perfectly embodies the easy, breezy beachfront nature of coastal homes with its Hamptons pop-up in Amagansett. The secret: They kept every finish in a light wood or neutral tone, with just a few pops of black and color here and there to stand out among a simple design.
Use Natural Materials
If there's anything that belongs in a beach house, it's natural materials and textures. The architects at Workshop APD capture the seaside feeling in this Nantucket foyer, decorating the space with a series of linen pendants and an arrangement of barnacles climbing the staircase wall.
Give Your Space a Nautical Nod
A subtle nautical nod is always welcomed in a beach house, so long as it's done tastefully—like in this Malibu home by Alexander Design. Rounded brass mirrors and industrial pendants provide just enough coastal flair without feeling like the décor is themed.
Always Be Beach-Ready
Oceanside homes feel like the beach is only a stone's throw away, and when you live on the coast, you can enhance those elements by placing your essentials in the entryway. Add woven baskets and beach towels to a set of hooks by the door, and don't forget your straw hat for those sunny days.
Upgrade your storage for beach essentials by adding floor baskets for sunscreen, towels, and sandals in the entryway to make your favorite items readily accessible.
Decorate in All White
Interior designer Leanne Ford understands that the breezy nature of a beach house starts with a bright interior. If you want to incorporate a carefree, coastal look in your space, try whitewashing your floors and ceilings and decorating with mostly white furniture.
Upgrade Your Outdoor Spaces
The best part of visiting the beach is being outside—and interior designer Christina Kim didn't forget the patio in this New Jersey poolhouse project photographed by Raquel Langworthy. Even when you can't hit the beach, upgrading your outdoor spaces for a coastal vibe can make your own backyard feel like a coastal oasis. Incorporate décor like surfboards and tropical fruits, and choose seating like these natural (and functional) barstools with woven textures.
Incorporate Statement Pieces
A simple space can instantly feel like a seaside retreat with the addition of statement pieces like lighting, furniture, or décor. In this Hollywood space by Jenn Pablo Studio, a large globe light complements the minimalistic design focused on ivory and natural tones.
Open Up Your Space
The wall-mounted surfboard isn't the only detail in this project by Pure Salt Interiors that makes the space feel so beachy: By opening up the kitchen to the living room, this designer perfectly captures the breezy, fresh feeling associated with coastal interiors. Beams on the ceiling draw the eye across the room, while glass banisters around the staircase create a clean look that blends the upper and lower floors.
Use Matching Hardware
Sometimes, even the smallest elements can make an impact. White Sands Design adds a unique look to this So-Cal beach cottage with stunning gold hardware on kitchen cabinets that matches the metals of the sink and hanging pendant fixtures. Bringing it all together with a clean, simple look, the designer uses marble backsplash and bright white countertops for a classy-but-boho finish.
Decorate High and Low
Most designs start with the basics, but finishing touches that draw the eye from the ceiling to the floor can complete a space. In this project by Pure Salt Interiors, outdoor string lights hung from light wood beams trail over the patio. A hanging chair with matching wood creates a boho feel, while straight lines in furniture and wall accents keep it crisp. The addition of a water fountain also brings coastal sounds to the space with a unique tile backdrop.
Neutralize Wood Tones
Monochrome colors may be in style for paint and fabrics, but it also makes a statement when using the same type of wood across different mediums. In this beachside retreat by Jenn Pablo Studio, the same light wood finish appears in furniture strategically placed throughout the room. Paired with bright whites and bold, neutral tones, the natural wood feels inviting while maintaining a sleek, classic vibe.
Make a Big Impact With Small Decorations
This bright, airy bathroom by White Sands Design could blend with many different design types, but the use of beachy décor in smaller accents gives it a coastal look to match the rest of the home. Whether you're incorporating seashells and sandy collages or these colorful surfboard hangers, adding ocean-inspired touches can change the entire feel of a room (even if you're on a budget).
Make your own surfboard towel hanger by cutting a simple piece of wood into the classic shape, then adding personal paint touches and hardware.
Add a Wooden Backsplash
In this home by Whittney Parkinson Design, wood grain paneling is used to offset the white shiplap walls of the living room. This creative shelving accent stands out in the brightly-painted space to bring a natural texture to a simple design. The décor uses a similar color scale across different mediums, bringing the look together without feeling too busy.
Go Bold With Wallpaper
Who says that great design should stop with the main rooms? Casa Watkins Living proves that even the spaces your guests don't see can make a statement. Detail every inch of your personal oasis by adding colorful wallpapers to areas like laundry rooms and mudrooms. For an added pop of coastal personality, finish the design with a woven pendant lamp that makes your space feel like it belongs by the ocean.
Remember Your Exterior
When you're having fun decorating various rooms in your home, it's easy to forget the exterior—but White Sands Design created the perfect beachy retreat with natural shingles on the outside of this 1950s home. Light wood with original grain accents coat the exterior walls, while white trim is complemented by a brightly-colored front door in this welcoming, cozy design.
Utilize Small Spaces
Whether you're in an apartment, designing a tiny house, or traveling on the road, this project by Pure Salt Interiors is an ode to all decorators working with small spaces. Even the creative small apartment decorators of New York can learn from this design: By keeping the walls and fabrics bright and simple, beachy elements like throw pillows, woven sun hats, and natural décor can add a sleek, coastal feel to even the tiniest rooms.
Visualize the Ocean With Accent Walls
If you want to add a pop of color without making your room feel too bold, an accent wall may be the perfect compromise to give your space a coastal look. Even among a simple color scheme, the shade of the sea brings a beachy feel to this kitchen by Whittney Parkinson Design. Using a rich, pale blue paint, the designer adds a touch of the ocean to this room filled with natural elements.
Enhance Your Storage Solutions
The hardest part of keeping your home in showroom shape often comes down to storage. By creating attractive wood shelving in this kitchen, Casa Watkins Living makes space for those extra items without sacrificing the natural, coastal style. Creative storage solutions in the living room and other regularly-used areas can also be home to beach accessories like sunhats and towels. To incorporate these items into an open space in your home, choose towel colors that complement your room's décor.