Coastal Chic: A New Take on Beach Style

Jan 16, 2017 | Anoushka's Blog, Interior design and decoration

If you’re looking for Hamptons style but without the traditional feel that comes with it think more coastal-chic. It’s perfect for a summer feel and will take you through into winter with this warmer climate we have in Australia.

So as the heatwave continues, here are my Decorating top tips for a modern Coastal look:

  • Use natural materials – wood, stone, wicker, linens and cottons in their most natural state. Nothing is polished or too processed but there is a fine line to going overboard with this look, keep it subtle and avoid pots of sand and shells everywhere!
  • Mismatched décor, while avoiding shabby-chic. Try different chairs, cushions, fabrics and homewares. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, colours and styles to create a relaxed boho* look.
  • Try vintage. Vintage fabrics are awesome for the beach house look. Think cushions, curtains or bedding, with palm prints in olive greens, faded florals, even more out there prints like pineapples on a cushion. Try to pick a consistent colour pallet and mix bold prints with lots of whites to tone down the look a little.
  • Don’t over think it. Beach homes are relaxed so don’t over style. For example, white bed linen with a vintage surf print above the bed or a palm leaf or two in a vase, in other words keep it simple!

*What is boho? Boho is an abbreviation of “Bohemian” and relates to a style of fashion drawing on various bohemian, hippie and hipster features. It became popular in the late 1960s, although some date back much further, and has been up and down in popularity from the 90s to date.

Modern twist on a beach style lounge

Beach style colours

No shock here; aim for whites or neutral tones. Milky off whites or vanilla tones, plus blue, light green and greys work perfectly.  Add pops of colour in a subtle way, utilising fabrics, one-off pieces of furniture and accessories, but let the neutrals be the constant.

If you want a touch more elegance, make the blues and greys darker, even a navy blue will work!!!


Consider large light lounges which are relaxed and complement the palette.  Tip: removable covers makes having light furnishings less of a nightmare and slip covers work well in this style. Natural materials (coffee tables, side boards, cabinets etc.) with a washed aged feel, making them feel lived in and comfortable, also work well.

Mix furniture pieces but try to tie them into the room, and avoid mixing too many woods.  This is where distressing and colour washing helps.


Don’t overdo the shells, boats, maps or driftwood, or you’ll be in kitsch territory.  A subtle nod to this will have more impact, maybe even a just one hero piece. Remember… boho is relaxed.

Also include washed picture frames, large glass bottles or bowls and vases. And of course, if you have wooden floors, try open-weave rugs in natural fibres rugs that will introduce colour and texture.

One or two large or oversized indoor plants, opposed to lots of small plants, are perfect for the coastal vibe as they help to blur the lines between inside and outside. Pick plants with glossy wide leaves and deep greens which will feel natural against whites, neutrals, blues and washed greys.

The colourful and tropical flowers often in abundance in Australia, can also add a lush, vibrant look and feel.  They’re dramatic but also easy to change depending on your mood, the weather, guests or whatever.

Beach home with tropical greens and navy

Light it up!

Light is essential in a beach style.  So, ditch heavy curtains and replace them with soft sheers, which will create movement and defused light.

And if you have the cash, plantation shutters complete the look.  If, however, the budget can’t cope, consider wide-blade venetian blinds, which is a cheaper option.


Whilst Coastal-Chic is an easier, more comfortable and sometime less expensive look to achieve than a classic Hamptons beach style, it’s even easier to overdo it or make the space look kitsch.  So, forget shell motifs and fish feature tiles, this new take on beach style isn’t quite so cliché! The coastal style has as boho relaxed look but uses classic or vintage styles to keep it timeless and very relaxed.

To find out more about SmartSpace Interiors and my take on the coastal style, get in touch via the contact us page.

NOTE: Images used under Fair Use, and the above commentary is a personal view and not commercial in nature, and were sourced from a variety of online sources and personal archives.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This