Heading to the coast........for many of us, these four words conjure up wonderful images of warm weather, time out from work, nostalgic memories, congregating with family and friends, exploring or getting away from it all entirely. Whichever guise it takes, the overriding impression of being ‘by the sea’ is of a time to relax and have fun. It’s no wonder then, that coastal styling is such a popular choice for our homes.
In this blog post I’d like to think outside of the (cool) box and offer 5 tips for achieving a coastal look and feel in your home without referencing a single boat or fish motif:
1. COLOUR PALETTE
When choosing the colour palette for your coastal scheme, there's no need to limit yourself to shades of blue and beige. Spencer Finch’s piece, The Colour of Water, for the 2011 Folkestone Triennial, cleverly demonstrates the sea’s myriad spectrum, ranging through brooding blue blacks, bruised purples, dusky pinks, dirty greens, zingy aquas and, of course, 50 (or thereabouts) shades of grey.
To help pinpoint a palette that appeals to you and reflects your location, I’d recommend a search of ‘Coastal Colour Palettes’ on Pinterest for an abundance of beautiful colour compositions informed by the sea, sky and associated surroundings; restful, sophisticated, pretty, fun.
2. WALL & FLOOR FINISHES
Set the scene by choosing floor and wall finishes that echo the nearby coastline.........damp and uneven? Hopefully not!! Boardwalk like painted or bare wooden floorboards, rock like flagstones, naval feeling dark polished boards and dune like woven seagrass rugs all sit comfortably in a coastal setting. Combine these simple floor finishes with walls of painted shiplap or tongue and groove panelling, bare stone, rough plaster or textured seagrass wallpaper to achieve a relaxed beachy feel or a more sophisticated nautical tone.
Introduce a coastal inspired wallpaper to add interest and an element of fun. One design could be used in the hallway to create a visual link as you move from room to room and provide tempting glimpses in your viewline from the main living areas. I particularly like Cole & Son’s The Great Wave. It's graphic and powerful, rather than twee and, being a 19th Century design, works as well in a Victorian seaside villa as it does in a modern modular beach house. I also really like Mini Moderns Whitby Wallpaper but, as it features a boat in the design, I absolutely cannot mention it in this particular blog post, hey ho!!
Anyone who has been lucky enough to spend time living by the sea in the UK will be unlucky enough to know how that salty sea air can ravage, so whether you’re aiming for a relaxed or sophisticated scheme, incorporate the odd piece of chippy paint and rusting furniture. Let’s face it, it will be adding a dose of authenticity to a coastal pad in this country, and a level of depth and soul to your scheme as a result.
Another subtle or striking touch is a shell inspired occasional chair, such as this one, incorporated into a Cornish project by designer Marion Lichtig. Soane Britain’s Venus Chair is a stunning example, but sadly not all of us have the budget to stretch to such a beaut. Luckily the high street and internet offer a plethora of alternative shell inspired seats, suiting all budgets, such as the Vesper Cocktail Chair by Arlo and Jacob and the Alana Velvet Shell Back Chair by Argos.
In the same way the sea air weathers furniture, all that sea water and sunshine fades and softens fabrics. Pre-washed linens in natural and bleached pastel shades therefore work really well in all coastal schemes and can be easily combined with printed linens and cottons. Stripes are classically nautical and look good but why not introduce a twist on this classic theme with geometric prints in a striped pattern such as this Slade Stripe design in Inky Sky from Zoe Glencross.
For this coastal scheme I opted for a sofa in bleached white linen, teamed with textured suede reminiscent of sand and contrast piping in rippling aqua silk, plus a pink striped linen for a fun nod to deckchair chic!
With your subtle and restrained layering of coastal inspired colours and finishes it’s now time to let rip and add a bit of personality and humour with the finishing details. Rather than opting for lots of mass produced coastal knick knacks and pictures, go for larger pieces that will have real impact and are more personal to you and the location. A large original artwork of the area will make a real statement and add relevance. For those on the Kent coast great options are Leigh Mulley’s bold and nostalgic seaside compositions and Shane Record’s beautifully evocative scenes.
Depending on your preferred style, other coastal touches could be to use a run of beach hats instead of artwork hung on a wall, box framed beach shorts or flip flops in a child’s room, an old favourite sarong made up into gathered fabric lampshades, a string of shells as a curtain tieback or even a giant clam shell to glamorously hold all your loo rolls. We've established that being by the sea is a time to enjoy ourselves so it's only right that the details in a coastal home pay tribute to some fun.
I hope you've enjoyed these tips. If you have a coastal interiors project and would like to discuss ideas for achieving the look and feel but avoiding the cliche please do get in touch.
All images from Juliette Moon Interiors, Pinterest, Google and Instagram