Create an ideabook for your next remodeling project!
Browse more than 1,500,000 photos from top designers and save your favorites
Style Secret: Pale Neutrals
Did we mention that white is key to the coastal palette? When they're done right, crisp white rooms are arresting in their purity and simplicity. But if they feel too austere or one-dimensional to suit you, branch out a bit. Layers of cream, beige and khaki evoke the subtlety of shifting dunes. Matte and honed finishes, rather than shine and glimmer, give the colors a soft, chalky spin.
Barely-there blue is a close runner-up as an iconic coastal color, calling to mind the essence of ocean and sky. It's a classic choice for bathroom tile and bedroom walls, but it can function as a neutral anywhere, especially when you keep it tone on tone.
Something different: Does this mean you can't have brights in a beachy interior? Nope. While a high-octane mix of persimmon, turquoise and lime might seem more like the Caribbean than the Eastern seaboard, you could certainly go in that direction if you don't mind sacrificing the serene feel. Another strategy: Bring in varying shades of a single color, such as coral. Or add hints of classic nautical hues — navy and white, for example, looks as fresh as a sailor's just-pressed uniform. The key is to stay consistent; too many color schemes in different rooms add up to too many personalities for a single house.
Style Secret: Natural Fibers
Organic materials such as sea grass, straw and jute, in the guise of rugs, furnishings and accessories, bring a natural warmth and texture to coastal interiors. A few touches of rope — nautical balls, cabinet and drawer pulls, even stairway spindles — add lighthearted appeal yet stay true to the theme.
Something different: Break up organic surfaces with contrast. A wicker coffee table next to a rattan chaise on top of a sisal rug might be a bit much. This dining area juxtaposes a sleek table with woven, cushioned armchairs to streamline the space.
Style Secret: Light, Weathered Woods
While exotic hardwoods may jibe with tropical interiors, American coastal style dictates a lighter touch. Picture driftwood: worn smooth and bleached out, with a salt-kissed patina. That's the look you're after. Whitewashed or pickled woods, blond maple and ash, or bamboo — on flooring as well as furniture — feel pitch perfect. Painted planks and beadboard are coastal classics as well.
Something different: Darker woods have a place in this style, but they're generally the exception rather than the rule. A walnut chest or teak armoire can look stunning against a room full of light colors, as long as the deeper tones don't overtake the space.