Seashell Accents and More Tips for Relaxed Coastal Style

Updated: July 24, 2024
Coastal style balances breezy simplicity with pops of vibrancy through neutral backdrops plus blue and coral accents. It traces origins to weathered cottage retreats and features natural textures like driftwood and woven rattan. Essential elements include white walls, pops of maritime colors, woven textures, and unexpected vintage finds. Achieve this look through neutral backdrops, coastal hued accessories, reclaimed woods, linens, and collected keepsakes. Curate layers reinforcing laidback allure through thoughtful editing and flexible foundational furnishing.
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I’ve always loved the relaxed yet vibrant feel of coastal decor. The breezy, beachy aesthetics mixed with pops of color from seashells and nautical accents creates such an inviting atmosphere. As I began dreaming up plans for renovating my living room, I knew I wanted to capture that casual coastal style.

Let me take you on my decorating journey through the world of coastal interior design! I’ll touch on exactly what defines this popular look, its origins and background, the essential elements every coastal-inspired space should include, tips for achieving it in your own home, and the best practices for seamlessly blending seaside charm with modern comfort.

What is Coastal Interior Design?

Coastal decor, also referred to as beach house style, is inspired by classic seaside living. Interiors emulate the easygoing ambiance of vacation destinations with light, airy spaces decorated in neutral backdrops enriched by punches of texture and shell-inspired hues.

This style strikes the balance between breezy simplicity and decorative vibrancy. It utilizes weathered woods, rattans, driftwoods, and woven accents as core foundational elements paired with playful pops of color via botanical prints, coral and seashell motifs, and sun-bleached fabrics. The overall effect feels laidback yet still polished and put-together.

History of Coastal Style Decorating

Coastal design traces its origins to historic seaside cottages dotting North America’s coastlines along Cape Cod, the Hamptons, the Outer Banks, and Southern California. These quaint beach retreats spotlight weathered woods, whitewashed walls, and wide plank floors as backdrops to display collected seashells, corals, sea glass, and driftwood discovered just steps outside.

The 1980s and 90s witnessed a surge in popularity for these cottages’ casual decorating style, catalyzed by the bright yet relaxed aesthetic spotlighted in Hamptons’ summer homes. This ushered in signature coastal elements like wicker furniture sets, billowy linen curtains and cushion covers, and pastel or navy and white color schemes integrating seashell and nautical accents.

Flash forward to today where HGTV has fueled major mainstream momentum for modernized coastal decor married with 21st century comforts and customization opportunities to suit personal preferences.

Key Elements of Coastal Design

Coastal style comes to life through these essential ingredients blended together to concoct a space exuding breezy seaside charm:

• Neutral backdrops like white, beige, or light blue walls and ceilings serving as clean canvases

• Weathered woods like driftwood, bleached oak, rattans, and bamboo for floors, furniture, architectural details

• Wash of blue, sea green, coral, citrus or pastel accent colors via decorative accessories

• Billowy sheer curtains, roman shades, or roll-up bamboo blinds for windows

• Woven textures like seagrass, jute, bamboo, or macramé incorporated through rugs, baskets, wall hangings

• Vintage elements like repurposed crates, oars, life preservers

• Natural textures from woodgrains, woven accents, linens or cottons

• Pops of vibrancy from starfish ornaments, coral vases, ceramic seashells

• Indoor plants, especially palms, succulents, or flowering varieties

How to Achieve Coastal Style

Ready to soak up seaside vibes in your own interior oasis? Follow these top tips for effortlessly achieving coastal design aesthetics tailored to you:

Select a Neutral Backdrop

A blank canvas sets the stage. White, sand, and light blue walls or ceilings create an airy, beachy jumping-off point layering in coastal charmers. Consider a neutral that flatters your space’s natural light. North-facing rooms may benefit from warm sand tones while south facing spaces can likely pull off crisp whites.

Incorporate Wash of Maritime Hues

Add pops of seaside color through accessories, textiles, and furniture highlighting beach glass greens, corals, deep ocean blues, or sun-washed pastels. Try fresh coats of paint on bookcases, buffets, entry tables, or lounging chairs to nail this, or opt for ceramic vases, striped pillows, throw blankets, or area rugs as easy updates.

Display Natural Textures

Incorporate weathered, reclaimed, or raw wood elements paired with woven or nubby linen and cotton textiles. This balances coastal charm with organic warmth. Try a jute area rug underfoot, driftwood coffee table topping rattan base frames, linen roman shade curtains, or a macramé wall hanging.

Welcome Wicker & Rattan

These natural materials epitomize breezy style through indoor-outdoor furnishings evoking laidback resort vibes. Wicker dining chairs or a full rattan living room set woven from renewable rattan or banana leaf fibers score extra eco-friendly points while steering clear of plastic wicker imitations lacking in allure.

Include Unexpected Vintage Finds

Keep your eyes peeled for unique secondhand or antique accents like a weathered oar mounted horizontally for casual coastal flair. Vintage glass buoys, corals, pressed botanical prints, or maritime maps stand out when framed. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box to incorporate pre-loved pearls.

Add Organic Greenery

Houseplants infuse natural life and vibrant color into seaside retreats. Opt for low maintenance yet dramatic choices like succulents, air plants, orchids or palms promising to thrive in your space’s specific light and humidity. Add extra coastal edge through blue and green glazed planters or dreamy hanging macramé containers.

Incorporate Natural Textiles

Trade your formal silky or chenille drapes for breezy linen or loosely woven cotton curtains that filter light beautifully and echo easygoing style even when drawn. Natural fiber area rugs and accent pillows reinforce organic texture and casual comfort promising to age gracefully.

Display Meaningful Coastal Keepsakes

Incorporate special collected mementos from beach vacations like seashells, starfish, or sea glass showcased in clear glass bowls or hung with fishing line on windows and bookcases sparking nostalgic joy each time you see them.

Experiment with Wall Accents

Nautical rope hangings, painted oars, reclaimed wood planking, mirror arrangements, or modern interpretations of historic ship helm wheels enhance coastal personality (and selfie potential!) Try painting one accent wall in a soft sky blue or muted yellow as a budget-friendly focal feature.

Best Practices for Pulling it All Together

These top design practices help you flawlessly fuse coastal charm with personal style for spaces evoking laidback yet polished vibes:

• Style in layers, building up neutral backdrops first before infusing personality-packed accents conveying coastal spirit without overly nautical gimmicks

• Counterbalance sleek contemporary furnishings with reclaimed woods, vintage patinas, natural fibers and organic shapes celebrating worn and weathered allure

• Curate, don’t accumulate! Avoid overloading your space with shells or fish themes verging on kitschy through crisp editing and intentional placement of treasured keepsakes

• Splurge on high-use elements like plush seating and consider cost-saving DIY options for one-of-a-kind accent walls or decorative displays

• Incorporate meaningful artwork and photography capturing regional coastal landscapes, abstract water scenes, or black and white ocean imagery

• Use lighting layers to inject bright personality and reinforce breezy vibes through statement pendants, sconces, and well-placed lamps with natural lampshades

• Keep permanent furnishings flexible through largely neutral schemes accented by easy-to-swap decorative elements like toss pillows, area rugs, or fresh floral arrangements

• Zone spaces seamlessly through consistent wall colors reinforced with thoughtful transitions between rooms guided by natural textured rugs extending styles underfoot

• Merge indoor and outdoor living areas where possible through breezy curtains, sliding doors, or sheltered patios reinforcing laidback entertaining

• Embrace eclectic vintage accents and collected keepsakes that personally celebrate coastal memories

• Have fun and get inspired scanning InteriorxDesign, boutique home decor shops, or coastal focused social media accounts brimming with endless inspiration on this ever-evolving style

The Takeaway

Coastal decor promises to infuse interiors with breezy seaside spirit through a relaxed yet thoughtful infusion of weathered woods, neutral backdrops brought to life by bursts of oceanic blues and beachy accents. This style strikes an alluring balance suitable for primary spaces or weekend retreats.

Decorating should spark joy and nostalgia. Curate coastal hideaways reflecting cherished vacation memories meaningful to you. Don’t be afraid to make this breezy style your own through personalized vintage finds and collected seashell display accents conveying laidback allure promising to age beautifully as styles continue evolving for seaside-inspired living!

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Mr. BS Parasher, Founder @ Interior x Design & UrbanDAC, For more than 20 years in the industry, He is the Top Interior Designer in Gurgaon & India's Premier Home Theater and Home Entertainment Designer, A Hi-end AV Expert with a deep passion, vision and knowledge about Interior Design.

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