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Think muslin, voile or soft linen for your window treatments. Old sheets, whether linen or cotton, can make great curtains. Add a DIY shell trim for a more defined coastal look.
Muslin is really cheap, so use loads of it to get the soft, opulent look that works so well in a vintage coastal home.
Colors need to stay soft for this vintage look — white, cream, soft corals, aquas and soft blues all work beautifully with this style. Consider keeping everything one color for a clean, airy feel. Or go for more of an eclectic look by accessorizing with occasional bright bursts.
Adding color with striped bed linens, cushions and a throw creates a different vintage feel. In this case, the look is more fisherman's cottage than beach shack.
A big part of the vintage coastal look is about making things look like they've been there forever. Using architectural moldings and paneling, such as tongue and groove, board and batten or just wide boards, you can create interesting features in an otherwise characterless room.
Tip: Fix 2-by-4 foot lengths of timber to your ceiling at intervals. To make them look aged, I like to have the edges chamfered, or you can fix a rounded bead molding (available at many hardwood or craft stores) to the edges. Line the remaining ceiling with tongue and groove or wide boards. Paint all of it, including the walls, in soft whites.
Weather-worn signs really embrace the vintage coastal look. Keep a look out at auctions or secondhand shops, or make your own using bits of old wood.
Vintage coastal is all about an eclectic mix of items and styles. These old ice cream–making buckets have been made into lamps — a perfect example of upcycling.