Waterfront homes almost always end up with an overall neutral color palette that incorporates touches of blues and greens. It feels very natural and because the age-old architectural concept urges us to “bring the outside in,” it’s the most common style for beach front homes everywhere.
A stylish beach home always hints at nautical motifs without representing them too literally. In lieu of seagull sculptures and fish covered shower curtains, how does one create a home on the coast that’s modern, lively, and in harmony with the landscape?
The Classic “Beach Chic”
I advise DIYers to stick with the neutral palette when outfitting their first beach home, especially if their taste is on the conservative side. Do your best to incorporate touches of blues and greens, and focus on textures. Textural elements like woven basket-like finishes and a whitewashed look will create a seaside feel that’s not over the top. This is the typical style you expect to see near water, and there’s nothing wrong with using what’s tried and true.
Go for this “beach chic” approach for a simple, classic look. Nautical stripes will always be on trend, and cool colors create tranquil environments. Just be sure to stay away from overtly representational items like sailboats and palm trees for a sophisticated look.
After the overall furniture layout and design direction is worked out, it’s time to S-T-Y-L-E. This is where the magic happens. I always advise my clients to add pieces that tell your story. Don’t be afraid to incorporate pieces that are not coastal-looking into the mix. Things that represent you and your family’s interests create character for the home. Blend pieces that might be unexpected and have been brought back from trips or art pieces that inspire you.
When items that tell a story are alongside the typical beach palette, your space will begin to develop an authentic story of its own. One of my favorite things to do for my client’s vacation homes is to blow up a few of their best family photos and rework them into black and whites. Then, I finish them with a white or driftwood looking frame. See that? It’s a great example of how to have your home reflect you and your family.
Colorfully Coastal Living
I enjoy incorporating wood tones and mixed metal finishes in the beach homes I design for clients. It’s nice to offset the overall pallet of white and blue with an additional color. Blue is a cool color, which is complemented by warm tones. A warm/cool contrast is always a good approach for a more energetic feel. Pop in some contrasting elements like different shades of orange, hot pink, or warm earth tones. Gold and yellow are naturally complementary for the traditional coastal palette and add a summery glow. If you enjoy colorful, energetic spaces, then color will be the key for your approach to coastal living.
The main consideration when bringing in colors to add interest for your beach home is to keep an eye on the proportions for a tasteful look. Try to incorporate these complementary elements with home accessories like poufs, throw pillows, vases, and candles. These elements can easily be changed when you decide to modernize a few years down the road.
Furniture pieces for summer homes are best kept in fresh light finishes to prevent a heavy feeling that can throw interior spaces out of balance. There’s no better modernizing element for a beach home than a fresh white gloss finish. When in doubt, choose white. Don’t forget that you can layer whites as long as there is some variety in texture. There’s an art to layering and it’s a great way to add interest in a very sophisticated way. Having furniture pieces play as a clean slate allows for a quick refresh of surrounding décor when it’s time to update down the road for the latest interior design trends.
Having your home’s interior reflect who you are as well as the outside watery views is a specific design goal that requires some serious thought. In order to create a space that’s less likely to date over time and remain tasteful, selections have to be made with intention. Whether you want your waterfront home to be classic or bold in its design, stick to these coastal decor principles and your seaside space will be both memorable and meaningful.
Designing for you,
Christina Henck, Henck Design