Over the last several weeks I’ve explored, explained and illustrated many design styles. If you’re new to the site, you can subscribe over on the right sidebar so you don’t miss future installments. And, you can catch up on the past articles here: Country/Shabby Chic, Modern/Contemporary, Traditional, Eclectic/Transitional, Mission/Antique.
Breezy Coastal Rooms
Many of us wish we lived on the coast, near a beach and water. We fantasize about the cool breezes, the sand between our toes and the sunny days and pleasant evenings. But the reality is that we live in the city, in a style-challenged suburb or in the baked southwest (me!). Even if you don’t live near the water, you can capture the casual, fresh appeal of the coastal style very easily.
- Color schemes use lots of white and blue – either crisp navy or the lighter spa colors
- Casual and comfortable furniture styles
- Touches of rattan
- Accessories are often nautical or relate to the sea in some way
- Simple window treatments to let the light and breeze in
- Wood side tables painted in soft sea colors
- Light wood tones, especially if bleached or pickled
Choosing the restful spa colors of shades of light blue, green and sand, this room is restful and casual. The rattan coffee table, bamboo shades and natural area rug add texture and increases the feeling of summer. (Love the wide stripes on those extra long drapes!)
Don’t be afraid to be bold! Bright turquoise really stands out in this room and just look at that big expanse of naked windows. A nod to the sea is evident in the battered oar and vase filled with seashells. A couple of weathered chests/tables and this room feels like it belongs right next to the dock.
A softer interpretation of a seaside room uses the expected blues and whites but the wall color appears to be a light aqua. To me what sets this room apart is the excellent mix of texture: woven bench, basket on the coffee table, ceramic side table, wire balls, brick and area rug, etc.
The coastal look is established in this room with the extensive collection of seashells. The fact that they painted the back of the shelves a light blue enhances the shells and reinforces the color scheme.
Relying on the tried and true blue/white color scheme, this room embraces the coastal theme with some overt accessories (the large model boat, the light hearted lobster pillow, ship plates) but stops short of going over the top by anchoring it with large expanses of white, a textural sand colored area rug, a distressed chest (in a different shade of blue!) and the use of simple woven shades.
A softer version of a seaside room uses the 2 oars to draw your attention to this seating nook. Light colored striped chairs feel nautical and again the play of texture enhances the room: woven blinds, baskets, nubby pillows, polished wood floor, even the large rope knot on the floor.
This soothing bedroom might not feel overtly coastal, but it fits the feeling….light, bright, comfortable and casual. I love the use of strung sea glass behind the bed (see other headboard ideas in this recent post) and the horizontal boards on the walls and ceiling is charming too. I like the mix of teal (lampshades, pillows) with the cobalt/navy throw as well as all the dark wood trim to keep the room from feeling too ethereal.
Use Caution With Themed Rooms
Themed rooms are fun and easy to decorate. Once you establish the theme it helps focus your attention on the details and you keep finding more and more to add. There’s the problem….knowing when to stop. Whether your theme is tropical: palm trees, shells, bright tropical colors; or 50′s diner: vintage art, chunky white crockery dishes, red/black/white color scheme; or an animal theme: horses, dogs, cows, roosters, etc., you run the risk of letting your theme dominate the room. Use restraint, be subtle, be tasteful and add just the best of accessories to reinforce and build your theme.
The best place to see themes in action is in model homes. Designers often use a theme to showcase a home and you can borrow and adapt their ideas to your home. However, remember that model homes aren’t designed as real people live, so pick and choose carefully.
With the art or wallpaper panel behind the bed imitating a view out the window, you can really imagine yourself at the beach.
Bright citrus colors make a statement in this tropical room and the wallpaper really sets the tone. Fresh and not overdone, this themed room would be in style for a long time.
I pulled a few model home pictures from my portfolio to illustrate how themes can go too far – in a model home it’s fun, in your home it would be “over the top”.
There are so many themed elements here: rattan chair and chest coffee table, palm patterned cushions, palm tree/beach art & lamps and even candle holders.
In a model home every detail is often themed, even the dishes and table setting decor.
The tropical theme was carried into the child’s room with this whimsical beach hut, 3-D fish on the wall and fabric for the valance.
This bold condo model was designed with the idea of appealing to a younger, single person. Apart from the striking color scheme, the theme of circles was carried throughout the unit from the drapery fabric to the wine glasses on display in the dining room. This design actually started from the large painting behind the sofa and grew once I decided on the circles for the drapery fabric. Suddenly I started seeing red/black/gray circles everywhere!
I SO enjoyed my little work-vacation with Cindy! We had a chance to talk face to face (for hours and hours) about life in general but also lots of planning for YDH and how we want it to grow. We have lots of exciting ideas, so we hope you’ll keep reading and enjoy what we’ve got planned for our 2nd year. Cindy, thanks again for opening the door to your lovely casita for me and all the great conversation. We’ll have to do it again sooner rather than later!