Interior Designer Emily Stafford advises on how to achieve relaxed coastal living all year round
Coastal living appeals to many people as it reminds them of childhood holidays on the beach with sea breezes and sunny days filled with fun. The beach is a very relaxing place and can blow away any stresses you may have – it’s also seasonal, so recreating this timeless environment within your house can make home feel like a return to your holiday every time you walk through the door. With so many stresses in our daily lives creating tranquil spaces to recharge at home is essential for our well-being.
Coast style is fresh and relaxed with nothing grand or imposing. The chic seaside look is created with an inviting décor, filling rooms with light and airy spaces. Coastal living is a simple, uncluttered style which can be emulated in most spaces.
The omnipresent sea dictates the tones of these living spaces and this is best achieved through an abundance of glass. Using vast windows is preferable in a quest for absolute light, however, mirrors, vases and other glass touches can help to build this effect.
Beautiful light coloured shutters reminiscent of plantation homes help to recreate the ‘coastal’ effect however, long sheer curtains in natural fabrics like unbleached cotton or linen are also very effective.
Flooring should be kept neutral with painted or natural wood or reclaimed floor boards, with sisal area rugs or neutral coloured carpets. Bold, dark patterns should be kept out of this design. When choosing colours think of the sky, sea and beach with soft whites, greys, cool calm blues, as well as natural tones like sand. Subtle use of nautical stripes and patterns can inject the theme to a neutral room without it becoming overpowering. Using cool soothing colours creates a sophisticated contemporary décor, which adds freshness to particularly simple and airy spaces.
Using light tones helps increase the sense of space with the natural light bouncing off the pale surfaces, however, the subtle colours need texture to provide depth and variety to the design.
Layering different textures and materials such as natural elements, wood, wicker, sisal and linen as well as introducing reflective elements such as chrome, glass and mirrors brings life to the space.
Try to maximise the natural light into your space, include simple lamps and consider glass or wood or add fisherman style drop lighting for a nautical touch. Storm lanterns are also great either with candles or fairy lights inside and can be used on tables or the floor, inside or out.
Comfort comes in textured fabric and layering different levels of light such as lanterns and candle light. Collect sea-inspired accessories – seashells, coral, driftwood carved coastal birds, fish, pebbles, candles in vases surrounded by sand. Well-chosen accessories provide the finishing touches to this style of home.
Art should be considered with seascapes/sail boat prints or photos as well as sculptures of coastal birds and/or fish and a large model sail boat for the mantel piece or sideboard is ideal
Mix different pieces of furniture to reduce uniformity and formality, ideally a chunky wood dining table with wicker seating, loose covers made of cotton or linen are perfect for sofas, a weathered wooden blanket box used as a side table. Wicker baskets can store magazines or extra blankets made of soft wool or chunky knit. By mixing all these elements you can create a design scheme which provides a welcoming atmosphere of harmony and laid back chic
Having plenty of storage is essential when designing simple styles. The space should look
uncluttered with discreet built-in solutions. Don’t put too many things on display.
By opening up the back of the house with multiple bi-fold doors the interior is flooded with beautiful natural light creating a continuous space from the inside through to the outside. Thus the design theme should flow from the interior to the exterior. Seek inspiration from Nantucket, Hampton or Californian style homes.