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All You Need To Know About Coastal Design


If the term “coastal design” immediately brings to mind images of anchors, blue and white in abundance, and a collection of seashells, your association is understood. However, though you might assume this is precisely what coastal design is about, that imagery is more emblematic of nautical décor.

Surprisingly, coastal design is a distinct category, sharing some aspects with nautical but often more understated and elegant. So, what sets them apart? Allow us to elucidate.

Table of Contents

Coastal Design: Different from Nautical

Coastal design isn’t about Mediterranean or tropical themes. It’s about the beach vibe. Using natural light, soft tones, and clean aesthetics, it brings the breeziness of the beach into your home. It feels like summer all year round.

The space relies on natural cues, with core features like jute textures, earth tones, blues, crisp whites, stripes, and linen upholstery. This isn’t just a design; it’s a serene way of living that goes beyond the usual nautical decor, offering a unique connection to nature and effortless charm.

Coastal Design Requires Tons of Natural Light

natural light

In a coastal home, light plays a pivotal role. It must be abundant and radiant, creating an environment that feels open, airy, and unconfined.

The design emphasizes the seamless integration of the indoors and outdoors through large windows, transparent doors, and generous skylights, all allowing the natural beauty of the outside world to permeate the living space.

Window treatments in such settings are minimalistic and restrained, existing solely to complement the natural light without overshadowing it.

The key to coastal design is a space where light doesn’t just illuminate; it defines the character of the home.

Keeping It Natural with Coastal Design

Coastal design finds its soul in nature, fostering a relaxed and effortless atmosphere. This connection with nature manifests in the choice of furniture and accessories. Often, you’ll find furnishings crafted from wicker, rattan, or light and weathered woods.

Floor coverings, such as rugs made of straw, seagrass, or jute, add texture without complexity. Fabrics are typically simple and free from unnecessary shine or luster, focusing on natural materials or light and soft textiles, like sheer curtain panels.

The emphasis on the organic extends to the color palette, with wood often appearing white-washed, or in natural hues like blond maple or ash. Far from metallics or flashy textures, coastal design celebrates the authentic and unpretentious, allowing the space to breathe with a calm and inviting ambiance.

keep it natural

White Is a Key Element in Coastal Design

In coastal design, one may instinctively imagine a vivid blue and white scheme, yet the reality is subtler with a focus on a crisp white interior. This design approach aligns with minimalism, embracing the “less is more” philosophy and a preference for neutral tones. The white interior acts as a canvas, reflecting natural light and creating an airy ambiance.

That said, the use of color is not entirely off-limits. Accent shades are to be soft and restrained, steering clear of anything bold. The typical palette includes neutrals like warm beige or khaki, complemented by gentle blues, greys, and greens. Depending on individual preference, the color scheme can be tailored: true blues and bright whites for a Mediterranean touch, a blend of warm whites and soft blue-greens for a country coastal feel, or a lively pairing of bright coral and sky blue for a more exotic coastal style.

modern coastal design

Choose Slip-Covered Furniture for a Relaxed Feel

Within the realm of coastal design, furniture should embody a sense of casual comfort. Commonly crafted from natural materials such as rattan and wicker, the style maintains an unpretentious, breezy feel. However, an overuse of these elements may lead to a monotonous and overly coordinated appearance.

To avoid this pitfall and enhance the space’s airy ambiance, slip-covered furniture emerges as an essential feature. Employing light cottons and linen, slipcovers not only add visual dimension but also harmonize with the coastal theme’s emphasis on ease and informality.

Open Space is Encouraged in Coastal Design

A hallmark of coastal design is the encouragement of open space, resonating with its emphasis on light and airy aesthetics. The preference for an open floor plan is not merely a stylistic choice but a functional one that seeks to foster a seamless flow throughout the dwelling. It avoids clutter, both in furniture and décor, and celebrates simplicity.

Even if architectural constraints limit the ability to fully embrace an open floor plan, the coastal design’s principles can still be realized. By reducing unnecessary elements and embracing a minimalist approach, the sensation of spaciousness and fluidity can be cultivated, aligning with the very essence of coastal living.


Embrace Seaside Elements with Grace and Control

In coastal décor, it’s natural to infuse some seaside touches such as shells, glass bottles, or woven baskets. However, the watchword is restraint. An overabundance can quickly turn the sophisticated coastal style into something kitschy and overdone, thus the importance of avoiding clutter and clichés.

Consider maintaining a balance that echoes the gentle subtlety of the coastal environment. Eschew obvious elements like anchor prints and trite signs such as “beach this way.” Rather, let the authentic coastal atmosphere guide your design choices.

Perhaps a collection of blue glass vases and bottles artfully displayed on a fireplace hearth, or a classic blue and white stripe wallpaper carefully selected for a stairway or hallway will provide the right touch. These elements can accentuate the space without overwhelming it, allowing your coastal design to breathe and flourish with elegance and understated charm.

Coastal Tile Options

Aqua Blue Ceramic Tile

Carefree, cool, and classic: these rectangular coastal ceramic tiles are a phenomenal way to bring the simplistic coastal vibe indoors. These bright subway tiles can be used on the kitchen backsplash, bathroom shower area, as well as accent wall cladding.


Blue Brick Porcelain Tile

The timeless, industrial, and rustic look of this brick in a modern color such as coastal blue is definitely something that would turn the heads of your guests. The textured surface of these brick porcelain tiles further adds a sense of dimension to the walls or the floors.


Blue-Green Floral Porcelain Tile

If you prefer the feminine floral motifs in your coastal home – this blue-green accent tile has the potential to make a wonderful statement on the kitchen backsplash as well as the bathroom walls. However, remember to ONLY style with these coastal-inspired floral tiles as an accent!

Blue-Green Floral Porcelain Tile

Patterned Coastal Tile

To bring the ultimate beach house style, introduce the patterned coastal tiles that feature a dominant blue and sandy hue. This specific palette may include various shades of blue mixed with beige, off-white, and sometimes gentle green, reflecting the colors found in coastal landscapes.

Not only will these coastal floor tiles make your space feel visually interesting but also add ample dimension and depth.


Shades of Blue Glossy Tile

Why just restrict to blue or green hue for the coastal wall tiles when you can blend and play with them all? The set of coastal blue glossy tiles in various shades creates a sense of contrast and further adds a sense of movement to your bathroom shower area or accent wall.


Blue Herringbone Ceramic Tile

Major coastal colors are blue, green, sand, beige, off-white, and white. To make your walls look unique and distinctive, add a dual-toned tile surface to the accent walls of your bathroom or foyer – in a notable herringbone or chevron pattern.


Blue Star Patterned Tile

This blue and white patterned tile can beautifully make a statement on the kitchen backsplash without making the space feel overwhelming. Especially if you like the idea of a fun-loving and quirky vibe – this coastal-inspired tile is a win-win solution.

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