By Kathryn Weber
A cool coastal feel can be created with color, textures and accessories even when you’re far from the shore. The soft sea-green color is smart yet relaxed in this bathroom that evokes a luxury beach resort.
Of all the pleasures of summer, none is as relaxing and cheery as a trip to the beach. The sun's warmth, the cool ocean breezes, the bright, informal beach decorating style -- what's not to love? The look we associate with coastal homes can also be a real winner for creating a relaxing feel at home. Just imagining a charming beach cottage or island-style retreat is enough to create a vacation-at-home effect. With a few decorative swaps and color changes, you can recreate that feel in your home.
What's your beach style?
For most, a trip to the beach means shorts, swimsuits and sandals. So the first rule of casual coastal style is that bare feet rule. Fussy furnishings are out, comfortable and easy to care for are in. But you may be drawn more toward nautical seashore or elegant beach styles. Whatever you particular surfside style is, there are a few elements that are must-haves.
Any coastal style home requires some nautical influence. A few well-chosen ocean-inspired accessories is all it takes. Don't overdo it: Select a few few key pieces with size. This adds much more punch and feels more balanced than sprinkling sea accessories liberally throughout your space. If you do have a variety of beach-themed items, try placing them in related groups. They'll look better.
It's got to be natural
One of the most recognizable characteristics of coastal decorating style is the use of natural elements. Organic textures contribute to both the elegant beach and the relaxed, easy feel of coastal style. By adding furniture, rugs and accent pieces made of natural fibers, you can accessorize your particular coastal style, and still maintain that watery influence.
Wicker, jute, sisal, bamboo, and rattan are all good choices for textural natural elements that say coastal. Sisal rugs are the natural choice for floors and have a wonderful, textural feel -- and they're the next best thing to sand under foot. Woods such as teak and redwood that are found commonly in outdoor furniture can also bring that natural, outdoorsy seaside feel indoors. Try a teak patio bench or garden chairs with striped canvas cushions for casual seating.
Cool seaside colors
Another hallmark of coastal style is color. Whether it's the woody browns of Hawaii, the cool pastels of Florida, or the bright tropical shades of the Caribbean, you're sure to find a color that represents your personal surfside style. But no matter which color palette draws your eye, the one color must-have for coastal design is crisp white that mimics the sand and whitecaps on the ocean. Use white on trim, walls or accessories liberally for a beachy feel. Bright white painted trim and walls evokes the seaside cottage, while white accessories and furniture look smart and refined.
Even if time is limited and a trip to the shore isn't possible, you can bring the beach to your rooms. Try some coastal accessories and color to create that surfside feel and take your next seaside vacation at home.
© Kathryn Weber, Living Space