Looking for coastal decor and coastal design ideas? A coastal look can easily be achieved by incorporating a sandy palette, gentle hues of blues and greens with whitewashed accents. Nothing says “coastal living” quite like an open living room, oversized sofas, nautical stripes and sea-inspired accents and coastal decor such as ropes, sailboats, and sea-side prints.

Rich polished wood reminds us of the hull of a mighty ship, and thickly woven jute, high luster finishes and crisp linen pair well with a range of oceanic hues and stormy greys. Navy and white are the backbone of a sailing-inspired look. You can tone down the nautical theme by incorporating pillows in modern prints and creamy neutrals instead of stark whites as shown in the featured image above (designed by Muskoka Living Interiors designer Cory DeFrancisco). Create your own breezy and effortless chic space with these coastal-inspired finds. Shop by design style: Bohemian, Farmhouse, Modern Glam, French Country, Modern Rustic, Scandinavian, Tonal Chic or Urban Earthy.

Directly below the following images find a step-by-step guide on how to decorate with Coastal style in your own home including:

1. How to choose the right Coastal color scheme to match your style
2. Tips on how to include organic textures in your home
3. How to take advantage of ocean views
4. Details that matter in a Coastal style home
5. A comprehensive list of design elements to include in a Coastal style home
Article by Interior Designer Tracy Svendsen


Be Inspired by Sea!

It’s easy to be inspired by the natural beauty of the coast. Whether you prefer a little polish with your surf and sand and coastal decor with traditional furnishings and ocean motifs, or you are drawn to California breeziness and comfortable coastal elegance, this article will bring the serene style of the beach to your home. Get ready to set sail!

There have been many misconceptions that exist with what the Coastal style of design is. It’s been viewed as being overdone, busy and synonymous with rooms packed full of seaside motifs and coastal decor such as life preservers, anchors and bright shades of blue and red.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Coastal style done well is airy, simplistic and elegant with a subtle palette drawn from the sea and sky.

It evokes memories of sandy beaches and warm sunny days with its laid-back vibe and gentle colors. It’s a haven from the hectic pace of day-to-day life, and gently whispers ‘Summer’ all year around.

It embraces a minimalistic approach that can effortlessly combine modern elements. Coastal spaces are casual, relaxing, warm and inviting – often designed with a personal touch.

Coastal Interior Design Ideas
Coastal Cottage Decorating Ideas
Beach Home Decorating Ideas
How to Decorate Coastal Style
Coastal Kitchen Ideas
Coastal Dining Room Ideas

The gorgeous interiors above were designed by Sarah Richardson and are a great example of Coastal style design done well. Sarah was expecting their second child and wanted to renovate their remote island getaway in a TV series entitled Sarah’s Cottage. They used inspiration from the natural surroundings out every window and infused the home with authentic island style design by blending vintage treasures with Sar favorite cheerful summery hues. If you’d like to view the entire Coastal cottage, I’ve provided a link that will take you directly to the page the images are featured on.  It’s stunning and shows how to integrate coastal decor in a subtle and effortless manner.  Images courtesy of: Sarah Richardson

Coastal Decorating Ideas

1.  Choose the right Coastal color scheme to match your style

Let yourself be inspired by the ocean, sand, and sky to determine your Coastal color scheme. There is a wide range of color choices that can be incorporated into a Coastal style home, from warm and sandy neutrals, to crisp whites and blues, muted greens in soft beachy tones, deep shades of navy and modern steel grays.

Regardless of your preference, it’s best to choose soothing tones if you want to create a home that is relaxing and instantly makes you feel like you are on a vacation at the beach. Accent shades also tend to be more subdued in a Coastal style home.

It’s also important to consider the amount of light you have in various rooms in your home, as lighting can have a dramatic impact on color. Hanging paint samples on the wall in several places, and viewing how the light affects the color at various times during the day is a great way to determine what the final result will be.

Coastal Wall Paint Ideas

Sea Fare
Bring on a relaxed beachy vibe with these cool, calm shades of the ocean.

Paint Colors: Listed from largest lid to smallest. Where two lids of the same size are shown, the top one will be provided first.

  1. Seastar: This grayish blue is a striking wall color, especially when paired with darker blues as accents.
  2. Lovebird 27-22: Bring this beachy blue into a white bath.  Blue towels with white subway tile and a white pedestal sink make a striking combo.
  3. Feelin’ Blue C54-3: A small dose of this dusty blue on pillows or in a patterned rug brightens a space.
  4. Serious Gray SW6256: Warmed by brown undertones, this liveable gray can be dressed up or down and pairs well with creamy-neutrals.
  5. Stiffkey Blue 281: Contrast this shade against white – try the back of a cabinet – for instant drama.
    Image courtesy of:
How to Decorate Coastal Style

Watercolor Blues
These hues have a pull that’s hard to resist, just like the ocean shores and vibrant skies that inspired them.

Paint Colors: Listed from largest lid to smallest. Where two lids of the same size are shown, the top one will be provided first.

  1. Tropical Surf GLB13: A touch of gray makes this blue eminently livable – and it’s smashing with medium wood tones.
  2. Poolside B56-3: Pair this watery hue with a classic partner – pale yellow – or try a new spin with caramel.
  3. High Tide 27b7: Go ahead. Wade in and try this deep color on something small, like a side table.
  4. Meander Blue: Pale aqua on the wall sets of silver accents.
  5. Soar 510A-1: On the ceiling, this color gives an open-air-quality to any room.
    Image courtesy of:
Coastal Colors for Home Decorating

If blue is your signature hue, here is a new take.  A hint of green is of-the-moment, yet completely livable.

Paint Colors: Listed from largest lid to smallest. Where two lids of the same size are shown, the top one will be provided first.

  1. Balmy Seas 490C-3: This is robin’s-egg blue turned down a bit.  It goes with virtually any neutral, so use freely.
  2. Surfboard 25B2: It’s the color of the Hawaiian sky – consider it in place of blue-gray for a soothing bedroom hue.
  3. Corner Brook A37-1: Whispery blue looks fresh with tomato-orange accents.
  4. Schooner A58-5: This aqua gets moody – it’s perfect for a dining room or any other space where you linger.
  5. Nautical 50007-9C: Coat the interiors of dress drawers for a surprise burst of color.
    Image courtesy of:
Coastal Color Schemes for Homes

Driftwood Grays
There’s a new gray in town, and it’s not the cold, steely hue you’re used to.  These go-with-everything shades, inspired by weathered wood, radiate warmth.

Paint Colors: Listed from largest lid to smallest. Where two lids of the same size are shown, the top one will be provided first.

  1. Winter Gates AC-30: This almost-taupe hue has cozy written all over it.  It’s as rich on a wall as it is on a velvet sofa or chair.
  2. Silver Drop 790C-2: Use this super versatile hue wherever you’d use white. For a hot combo, just add yellow.
  3. Coastal Pleasure 5048: This is a perfect neutral- great for walls, beautiful with dark colors, fresh with white.
  4. Seal Grey GLN46: Roam into dramatic territory and go dark. Pale gray trim is an elegant pairing.
  5. Promotion 10D3: Step away from the beige! This midtone gray is a sophisticated and modern substitute.
    Image courtesy of:
Coastal Wall Paint Colors

Eggshell Blues
Refresh your nest with tranquil, nurturing hues inspired by some of Mother Nature’s favorites.

Paint Colors: Listed from largest lid to smallest. Where two lids of the same size are shown, the top one will be provided first.

  1. Arctic Blue GLB14: A drop of aqua in pale blue evokes cool waters.  Use it to make an ordinary bathroom feel like a spa.
  2. Quench Blue SW6785: Plunge into this refreshing hue.  Splash it on large surfaces, such as the walls of a great-room.
  3. The Good Life B38-3: For a no-fail combo, meld this green-blue with an organic neutral like bark brown.
  4. Sea Breath 5006-7A: A blue with a verve that holds its own in contrast with butter, cantaloupe, or peony pink.
  5. Serene Sky 540C-2: Pulled from above, an ethereal hue that suits ceilings.  Paint crown molding gray-white.
    Image courtesy of:
Palette for Beach Home

For the Love of Gray
What was once an infatuation with gray, is not a long-term commitment.  Warm or cool, pure or tinged with color – nothing adds sophistication quite the same way. 

Paint Colors: Listed from largest lid to smallest. Where two lids of the same size are shown, the top one will be provided first.

  1. Haven of Coziness N-C1: They gray undertones in this beige warm up a room – and pairs beautifully with blues and greens.
    clark + kensington
  2. Gravelstone MQ2-50: Ground a bold-color room with a sofa in this gray-tan shade, or try it on built-ins for a little color boost.
  3. Grizzle Gray: Pump up the drama with this deep, pure gray.  Surprisingly, it seems to recede, making a room look bigger.
  4. Grey Stone: This goes-with-anything gray works great for walls, a headboard or accessories.
    ralph lauren
  5. Full Moon: Fear not! This transitional shade will ease you past classic white into grayish neutrals. Mix in rich woods for a sophisticated look
    pratt & lambert
    Image courtesy of:

2. Make sure to include plenty of organic texture

Textural design elements play an important role in a Coastal style home. It’s not only important how these design elements look, but how they feel as well.

When you think of the beach, it draws to mind a tactile experience derived from the sensation of touching stones and pebbles, driftwood, water, and sand.

Try to incorporate this into your own home by layering several textures together. Combine soft elements such as a multitude of throw pillows and cozy blankets with woven area rugs, textural linen fabrics, light and airy sheers, wood furniture, sand-inspired finishes and seagrass baskets.

This style of design embraces an ocean-inspired palette, natural fibers with a touch of sparkle provided from mirrors and glass.

3. Choose furniture that is oversized, casual and comfortable

The furniture in a Coastal style home is generally larger in scale and is never ostentatious. From slipcovered sofas to seagrass chairs, the look is elegant, casual and understated. Keep fabric choices light, crisp and clean.

4. Take full advantage of ocean views

If you are lucky enough to have a gorgeous view of the ocean, make full use of the stunning range of color that exists out your windows and reflect that throughout your home.

The beach acts as a breathtaking focal point, and it’s important that the décor doesn’t compete, but rather enhances this natural environment.

If you don’t have an ocean view, it’s easy to create this feel simply by adding coastal photography and paintings of the sea.

Muskoka Coastal Living Room
Muskoka Coastal Dining Room

Images courtesy of: Muskoka Living

5. Details that matter

Nothing conveys the feeling of coastal living quite like an open living room concept with oversized sofas, nautical stripes, coastal decor and sea-inspired accents such as ropes, sailboats, and sea-side prints.

Here are a few other Coastal decorating elements that go hand-in-hand with Coastal style homes:

  • Create a balance between narrow and wide stripes. It’s very common to see wide blue and white or blue and tan stripes in a Coastal living room. The stripes can range from the palest blue to navy, as well as make use of shades of gray or tan. Narrow stripes can be incorporated in throw pillows, blankets, window coverings and area rugs.
  • Not a fan of stripes? There are many other options that add both color and pattern that work well in a Coastal style home. They can be incorporated through the choice of artwork, window treatments, accessories, and upholstery.
  • Natural fibers such as baskets and rugs instantly add natural texture to the space. The perfect mix of materials includes wicker, natural woven shades, bamboo, and seagrass.
  • Layering is essential to provide an inviting warmth to almost any style of design, so be sure to add plenty of throw cushions and blankets wherever possible. Slipcovers on furniture, such as sofas, or living room and dining room chairs are commonly used in shades of white, beige or taupe.
  • Woodwork detail and wood flooring bring the Coastal style to life. From painted board and batten to whitewashed panel walls and wainscoting, these elements transition your home to a coastal cottage retreat. Wood flooring looks best if kept light and has a weathered appearance in tones of driftwood, whitewashed finishes or natural maples. Use accessories with treasures from the sea and shore, such as driftwood, shells, sand, and coral.

Whether you live on the coastline or dream about ocean breezes and want to bring the beach to your own home through coast decor, I hope these Coastal decorating ideas help you begin your journey!

Written by the Editor & Interior Designer for Buyer Select: Tracy Svendsen


Coastal Decor | Huntington Baskets

Huntington Baskets
More than just colorful catchalls, these are vibrant designs with a purpose – they’re woven entirely by hand to support a women’s collective in India. Substantial and sturdy, this collection is available in 3 sizes, all with cut-out leather handles and each with a slightly different pattern. They work great grouped together or sprinkled wherever extra storage is needed, from the closet to the playroom.

Coastal Decorating Ideas | Camille Medallion Pillow

Camille Diamond Medallion Pillow Cover
A nod to traditional Hmong fabrics, intricate designs have been applied on slubby cotton, opting for a deep indigo ground to give things a modern edge. Screen printing recalls the look of a good batik, creating variations that make each handcrafted pillow truly unique. Try this as a stand-alone coastal décor statement piece, or as part of your very own pattern mix.

Coastal Decorating | Sailboat Racer Model

Sailboat Racer Model
This replica of the legendary 1901 yacht racer Columbia is crafted entirely by hand, from the intricately stitched sails to the delicate rigging to the glossy wooden deck and hull. Built using plank-on-frame construction, just as the original was, it is fitted with antiqued solid brass hardware. The Sailboat Racer model works well in any coastal décor themed room.

Coastal Decor | Ceramic Shells

Ceramic Shells on Crystal Stand
Hand-cast of bone china with remarkable realism, the conch, sand dollar and nautilus decorative objects pay luminous tribute to the beauty of the sea and are the perfect addition to a coastal décor inspired room. Each is mounted on a solid crystal stand that illuminates and showcases its simple, sculptural form.

Herringbone Coastal Decor Pillows

Chunky Herringbone Linen Pillow
A textured twist on the essential solid-color pillow, this version features a herringbone weave and a contrasting flange. The result is a pillow with rich character and endless versatility for mixing and matching with other coastal decor.

Salisbury Pillow Covers | Coastal Decorating

Salisbury Outdoor Pillow
The slightly imperfect geometric circles give this deco-inspired design a handpainted and coastal décor look. It’s a fun way to make your mix more vibrant. Made of weather-resistant materials to withstand fading, stains, and moisture yet stylish enough to be used indoors.

Hanging Rattan Bench | Coastal Style

Hanging Rattan Bench
Inspired by a Scandinavian design from the 60s (and the popularity of our original Hanging Rattan Chair), this scooped-seat bench was created for two. Deck it out with pillows – such a great way to add softness while displaying your own fun mix of pattern and color. Add a basket of cozy throws nearby and you’ve got all the makings of a lazy afternoon…A heavy-duty loop and rope ensures that it’s super sturdy.

Chevron Coastal Riviera Chair

Chevron Riviera Counter Stool – Navy
A classic 1930s European bistro chair, reinterpreted and elevated to new heights. Handcrafted of sustainable rattan and woven plastic seats, it’s great for the kitchen or the patio. Look closely and you’ll notice the wonderfully organic marks created while bending and stretching the rattan into shape – a time-honored technique perfected by the French. The eye-catching palette makes it easy to work with. Try it with the other silhouettes in this collection (a slight variation in how the colors are woven keeps things interesting).

Eva Colored Glass Lamps

Eva Colored Glass Lamp Collection
Subtle bubbles and striations provide beautiful evidence of the Eva Glass Table Lamp’s handcraftsmanship.