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12 Coastal Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures)

white and black table with chairs

Carefree and casual, a coastal interior is a simple way to lighten the mood around your home. An easy-to-follow concept that blends with countless styles, coastal design can delight anyone, and pulling off the look is almost as stress-free as the atmosphere it creates. Get started on your laidback indoor paradise with these 12 coastal interior design ideas.

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The 12 Coastal Interior Design Ideas

1. Lots of Natural Light

The warmth and brightness of natural light play a central role in a workable coastal interior. Tall, broad windows offer sweeping vistas and tons of space for natural sunlight to flood the room. Keep the blinds open to let the light fill the area at all times.

Limited window space shouldn’t strip you of coastal interior design opportunities. If you don’t have a wall-filling picture window, enhance incoming light with well-placed accessories and an eye toward open design.

Light wall colors that attract and bounce light are a foundation for a breezy coastal interior. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting that traps light in its fibers. Instead, use subtle yet reflective hard flooring to scatter light without creating sharp glares. And, of course, placing a large mirror on an opposite wall is a foolproof way to bounce light around the room and deepen the room’s visual space.

Furniture choice is crucial in allowing light to move through the room, as is tactful supplemental lighting. The room should be lit from every angle. Open, low-sitting, and light-colored furniture allow light to move unobstructed.

For those unavoidable pockets of deep shadows, well-placed accent lighting will fill the gaps. Opt for warm natural light LED bulbs that best mimic sunlight. Here is an excellent chance to accessorize with a seaside-themed chandelier or pendant light: two classic considerations for a coastal interior.

2. Weathered Wood

Coastal interiors are soothing spaces that may hold a few bold accents but otherwise focus on subdued features. It isn’t the time for sharp-hued dark woods or shiny surfaces. Sun-bleached and weathered wood brings the rough textures of a natural seaside scene to the home.

A piece of driftwood for the mantle or cocktail table might be a little too on-the-nose. Instead, look to your floors, furniture, picture frames, or ceiling for chances to incorporate natural, worn wood. Resist the urge to use a smooth, glossy finish. Gentle finishing diffuses light to spread evenly about the room in a soft blanket.

3. Hard Floors

Coastal interiors are versatile, but they’re also relatively straightforward, thanks to some distinct design rules. Flooring is one place where the direction is clear—hard floors with natural textures you’d find at the seashore.

Light hardwoods are essential elements of coastal living rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms. Sun-battered woods in bright browns and grays are ideal, especially with twisting, coursing lines and color variations of driftwood. It’s all about the look. While you can choose real or engineered hardwoods like white oak, birch, or beech, you can also find many authentic-looking vinyl and laminate options.

If wood isn’t your style (and you have an extremely flat floor), feel free to explore with tile. Large-format, matte tiles in light beige, cream, or peach tones are a delightful and classy way to bring an abstract, water-lapped beach pattern into the home. In coastal interiors, tiles are as welcome in the bedroom and living room as in the kitchen and bathroom.

4. Natural, Neutral Color Palette

Keep the design light and layered, and you’ll see you don’t need striking colors to stir the emotions. Create a refreshing interior with eggshell walls as a base and varied neutrals added on top. 

It’s okay to transition between grays and browns to create a weathered look. Weighty pieces of furniture can be light shades of beige, brown, and taupe, and dark wood accents in end tables, frames, and accessories will add hints of contrast and visual intrigue.

5. Light Touches of Blue and Sea-Themed Colors

Sandy colors and textures are vital to a coastal theme, but a beach wouldn’t be a beach without water. Coastal interiors are a blend of land and sea, and you invite the latter in with splashes of blue, turquoise, seafoam green, and coral. Add color through rug patterns, throw pillows, blankets, and wall art, or use sea-themed hues for cabinets or accent walls.

6. Plush Cloth Furniture

A coastal interior should be rejuvenating in brightness and relaxing in comfort. Your furniture should be warm and inviting. It’s the kind you want to flop down on after a long day, sinking you into a state of leisurely tranquility.

Soft cloth furniture shines in coastal designs. Seek out a cushy, deep couch, preferably in light linens and cotton, for a casual yet plush feel. If you already have a couch, you can toss on a light, floor-scraping slipcover as a convenient way to change up to an airy coastal feel.

Although you don’t want to go too traditional with the look, coastal interiors can work with vintage furniture forms as easily as modern, clean-lined pieces. Whether it’s a down-filled, shabby chic sectional or a skirted denim farmhouse sofa, you can make it fit with the right color and texture.

7. Use Green Plants

Greenery makes the ultimate accent in the home. The lush colors add essential highlights against a neutral palette. Plus, plants are arguably the best bridges to the great outdoors, another critical concern of coastal interiors.

Look for opportunities to add plants from the floor to the ceiling. Planters with tall fiddle leaf figs or kentia palms are excellent coastal interior ideas, as are hanging vines and tabletop flower arrangements. With the right placement, you can even get flowering succulents to bring in seasonal contrasts of orange, pink, and yellow colors.

8. Texture and Pattern in Accent Chairs

The grand, cushy couch is the centerpiece of the common area, so it’s often best to keep them light, neutral, and functional. Accent chairs, on the other hand, are where you can stretch and tie together your coastal elements.

Don’t be afraid to celebrate and explore classic coastal themes with your accent chairs through texture and pattern.

Drop in a touch of Boho chic with hyacinth stools for the bar or in low-sitting varieties to place around the living room cocktail table. Add a pair of wood or rattan armchairs with plush cushions for diverse natural textures or a patterned, slipcovered swivel chair for tactful flair. Unite your accent chairs with balanced decor like matching patterned throw pillows for the couch or tabletop accessories with similar materials.

9. Natural Fibers

Wood floors and furniture aren’t the only ways to create an outdoor vibe inside the home. Raw, natural fibers supply the organic textures and neutral tones that define coastal interior design.

Natural fibers can pop up anywhere. Start with your area rug by choosing a woven material like jute, seagrass, or sisal. Don’t be afraid to layer another rug on top for comfort and pattern variations. Then, look for chances to use natural fiber ottomans, tabletop ornaments, or chandeliers. 

Soft sitting furniture can bring in these rougher textures as well. While a coarse, natural fiber sofa may be unreasonable, throw pillows with wool or ropey patterns in rustic, BoHo, and even Southwest styles can blend into a coastal theme. You can also look for offbeat yet functional case goods like raffia-covered cocktail tables or wicker headboards.

10. Open Spaces

A coastal interior centers on a concept of breeziness, where the layout allows for unhindered air movement to keep the home feeling fresh and healthy. 

Taking down walls, opening up window space, and generally remodeling your home is the most effective way to create an open atmosphere. But it can also be expensive and extreme, especially if you aren’t sure that coastal themes factor into your 10-year plan.

Instead, you can create the illusion of openness with a few simple standards that align with coastal tastes. Mirrors and minimal decoration make the room feel larger, light wall colors fade corners and open the space, and running the same wood flooring between your rooms creates a sense of unity.

11. Wall Texture

Adding texture to a wall can effectively flip them inside-out to make for a more interesting outdoor-inspired look. There are several ways to create your room’s backdrop, which speaks to the flexibility of coastal interior design.

It’s often effortless to fuse diverse styles like modern, cottage, rustic, Scandi, mid-century, vintage, and even a few touches of Old World looks with the seaside theme for a cohesive, inconspicuously eclectic array of styles. 

Inject form and intrigue into a crisp white wall with board-and-batten strips or colorful wainscoting. If you’re feeling bold, go ultra-beachy with white-washed shiplap to frame your sea-themed wall art and accessories.

12. Airy Window Treatments

Light and air are welcome guests in the coastal home. Invite them in with thin, wispy window curtains rather than heavy drapes that would block out the sun and wind. Window treatments should provide the form to the natural elements. Air should effortlessly pass through, with your curtains flowing over the incoming breeze to give it structure and sound for a wondrous sensory experience.

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Final Thoughts

A coastal interior is cool and atmospheric without being obvious or kitschy. It’s subtle, organic, and adaptable to nearly any personal taste or setting, whether you live in the middle of Oklahoma or a New York City loft. The coastal style combines unpretentious decor with effortless class, a surprisingly timeless approach that can bring calm to any space or personality.

Featured Image Credit: steven-ungermann, Unsplash


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