Coastal decor is all the rage – here’s how to pull off the beach house style

Whether you own a seaside home or just yearn for it, that laid-back, seaside vibe is a hot trend in home decor. (And you can thank the coastal granny look that’s all over social media for making it headline news.)

When you introduce the beach house style to your home, you can opt for bolder and more exaggerated decorating choices (think navy and white color combinations, lots of anchors and seashells, and maybe a funky surfboard headboard). Or look for ways to incorporate small, subtle touches that give you that beachy vibe without screaming “beach.” The coastal granny style, which uses a softer hand with its take on coastal style, is perfect if you’re not ready to dive into a beach house.


What is Coastal Grandma Style?

While the coastal style has been around since the invention of beach houses, the “coastal granny” is a very specific subset of this style, popularized by TikTok stars and social media. Think beachy colors (sand cream, sky blue, soft green), rich textures (a cable-knit throw, woven baskets, handmade pottery), and a casual, laid-back vibe (hydrangea arrangements , furniture covered with slipcovers and stacks of beach books).


How to Incorporate Coastal Style into Your Home

To add beach house style to your current dig (whether the beach is 100 feet or 100 miles away), try these tips from the interior designers behind Real Simple Home.


keep it subtle

Christophe Testani

Designing with fishing nets and surfboards can be kitsch cool. But if you don’t want to overdo it with your coastal style, think beyond the literal and look for ways to get the vibe without veering into thematic territory.

“I would recommend trying to channel a vibe and feeling into the decor that is consistent with the exterior of the house, as coastal landscapes can differ by geography,” says Carla Jung of Banner Day Interiors, who designed the master suite in 2022. Real Simple Home (pictured here).

That might just mean adding a few touches — like a color palette and a bold accessory or two — rather than doing the whole room in a beach theme.



Think beyond the beach

Christophe Testani

While sand and surf are the big draws of coastal living, there are many other natural elements around coastal areas that can inspire your interior design. “Get a more holistic view of nature as a whole on the coast, not just the ocean,” says Jung.

Perhaps you want to include décor inspired by unexpected natural elements, such as seabirds and coastal flora, such as incorporating the bold green of a local seaweed into your color palette.



Add unexpected colors to your palette

Struck

Soothing blues and creams are great, but you don’t have to stick to sand and surf hues throughout your decor. The designers at Real Simple Home opted for bold pops of hue that aren’t typical of coastal decor – think sunset colors like pink and orange.

Joy Street Design’s Kelly Finley used an unexpected color palette for the Minted artwork that featured in the loft. “The artwork is a photo negative that has been dyed pink, orange, and white, but the image depicts a waterscape.”



Bring in the outside

Christophe Testani

The traditional coastal style often includes seashells, starfish and other elements, but a more modern coastal style may skip those in favor of plant-based elements.

“One of my favorite ways to incorporate coastal decor in a modern way is to use natural textures like woven rattan and seagrass in furniture and decor,” says Erin Wheeler of Sunny Circle Studio, who designed the suite of guests. “The materials embody the spirit of the beach, without making the piece kitsch.”



Modify without mercy

Christophe Testani

A big appeal of coastal decor is that it feels simple, relaxed, and laid back. Cluttering the space with lots of knick-knacks and accessories can work against that. “To keep the room balanced, I like to embrace negative space so it doesn’t feel too cluttered and there’s room to breathe,” says Wheeler.

If you’ve already invested in lots of beach decor, don’t worry, you can choose to stock up on certain elements and change them regularly, so that each accessory is a moment in the spotlight.


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