Coastal Interior Design Characteristics and Ideas

Coastal interior design incorporates color from nature in a luxurious way, creating a calming but high-end space.

It’s similar to nautical design with an upgraded, more grown-up look. While coastal interior design originated from seaside residences, it fits any home. Here’s the history of coastal design and its characteristics.

The History of Coastal Interior Design

Coastal Interior Design Characteristics

Coastal design is influenced by water and coastal living. While some form of this design has always been around (think: Mediterranean interior design), today’s coastal style originated in the Hamptons, an affluent seaside community in New York.

Rather than the sometimes child-like nautical decor found in other oceanside homes, interior designers in the Hamptons opted for a more upscale look featuring white walls, natural materials like rattan and jute, soft ocean colors for accents, and high-end finishes.

The coastal style spread from seaside communities to in-land homes. And because the designs don’t pay homage to ships, seashells, and ocean life the way nautical design does, it’s easier to pull off this style, no matter where you live.

Coastal Interior Design Characteristics

If you want a light and bright interior, coastal design, also known as beach house interior design, is a good fit. Here’s how to get the look.

Stick with the Calming, Coastal Interior Design Color Palette

The coastal interior design color palette incorporates nature-inspired colors, like white, shades of blue, and sand or beige. Most high-end coastal homes feature white walls, blue accents, and sand-colored furniture.

Incorporate Natural Materials

Natural materials are the best choice for a coastal home. Consider hardwood or stone floors and use the following materials in furniture and accessories:

  • Rattan
  • Jute
  • Wicker
  • Driftwood
  • Linen
  • Bamboo
  • Seagrass

Choose Comfortable Furniture

Most furniture in coastal design borders modern and traditional. Look for comfortable pieces that don’t look old-fashioned. An example is a linen square-arm sofa with thick cushions or a streamlined sofa with a white slipcover.

For the bedroom, you have many options – a rattan, linen upholstered, or wooden headboard all work well.

Don’t Decorate with a Theme

While nautical designs often focus on a theme like sharks, anchors, or seashells, coastal designs are more organic. If you want a relaxed space, the pieces in your home should look collected, especially regarding artwork and decor.

Mix Wood Tones

Traditional coastal designs feature dark stained wood, while today’s trending spaces feature light, ash-colored flooring. You don’t have to go one way or another. Instead, mix your wood. For example, if you have a medium to dark wood floor, consider a table that’s a few tones lighter.

Go with Light Curtains or Bamboo Shades

Since the coastal style is light, bright, and calm, skip heavy or ornate curtains. Instead, opt for long white curtains or bamboo shades.

Use Minimal Decor for a Modern Look

If you want to recreate the look of the modern coastal design, go easy on the decor. It’s okay to hang some abstract art of a few family photos, but try to keep flat surfaces clutter-free and don’t cover every square inch of the wall with decor.

What is Coastal Grandma Style?

Coastal Grandma style is a less modern twist on coastal interior design. It features the same ocean-inspired color palette and natural material choices but incorporates old-fashioned furniture, patterns, and a more maximal look. It’s similar to a grandmillennial style.

Examples of Coastal Interior Design

Whether you’re after a beach house style or luxe coastal design, here are examples of how other designers pulled off this look.

Coastal Living Room Example

Coastal Living Room Example
John Buckley Architecture & Design

The designers of this living room created a casual coastal design, starting with the white walls and ceiling. The wood floors, beams, and natural rug add texture to the space. The designers slipcovered a modern sofa and added pops of blue for an oceanside look.

Coastal Kitchen

Coastal Kitchen
Freestyle Interiors

The white color palette keeps this coastal kitchen feeling bright. The designer uses a mix of wood tones and brings in stools with a natural texture to complement the style. And, of course, the minimal kitchen has blue accents to tie into the ocean.

Coastal Beach Style Dining Room

Coastal Beach Style Dining Room
Three Sparrows Interior Design

Designers often use shiplap in coastal designs, which you can see in this dining room. The all-white color palette keeps everything fresh and highlights views of the water.

Beach House Bedroom Design

Beach House Bedroom Design
Lindye Galloway Interiors

The rough wood ceiling beam adds the perfect texture to this coastal bedroom. The light blue on the wall and white bedding create a serene space fit for sleep.