Want a home with a cool California coastal vibe? Use beach decor to create that ambiance in your custom built home!
When we talk about beach decor, we’re really talking about classic coastal design.
Our clients are amazing. Most of them come to us by referral, which means they already know that we’re highly design-oriented. They are too. They choose us because they want a beautifully designed space, and they’re invested in creating something extraordinary. We have lots of thoughts and tips on that—particularly if you live in a beach house or just want to pretend you do!
First, Some General Beach Decor Advice…
Go surfing! No, not that kind of surfing (although we also do that as often as we can)…
Surf the web. Pinterest, Houzz, architectural and design blogs, and even Airbnb Luxe and similar sites can provide tons of inspiration. Maybe start a Pinterest site of your own and create boards for every room of your ideal beach house, or simply make a special folder in your Bookmarks bar to keep up with your online finds.
These virtual mood boards will help you collect your thoughts and give your eventual interior designer a starting point.
Now Some Beach Decor Specifics…
Focus On The Ocean View, Even in The Design Phase
We generally put the common areas, such as the living room, entertainment spaces, and kitchen, on the highest floor, so that everyone can enjoy the best views. We use more halls and doorways on the lower floors, where the bedrooms and home office are likely to be, for privacy and function.
Other design features that are especially amazing at the beach? Plush window seats, sunny breakfast nooks, outdoor kitchens, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and big elevated patios.
Beach Decor Means Thinking Tropical
Lots of houseplants and particularly large or unique statement plants will give your home a treehouse-in-the-tropics vibe.
Tropical wallpaper, such as ferns, flowers, flamingos, jungle scenes, etc. is always fun at the beach. This kind of quirkiness works well for a bold take on a small powder room, a statement wall in a larger room, or a kid’s bedroom.
Beach Decor Is About Natural Materials
Earthy materials and natural accent pieces are a hallmark of beach decor. Grasscloth wall covering and sisal or jute rugs are great choices. Have kids or pets? Consider durable, easy to clean options, such as vinyl grasscloth.
Accessorize with giant conch shells, driftwood, starfish, woven baskets, and other natural finds.
Pick Beach Furniture
No frills furniture works best at the beach. You can mix in a few antique pieces, but the elaborately curved legs of Chippendales or Queen Annes can feel too fussy in a beach house.
Wicker furniture (also called rattan) works indoors and outdoors, as do hammocks and retro swinging chairs. Furniture made of painted or reclaimed wood is great for adding a dash of color or creating a rustic ocean vibe. Seagrass, teak wood, and other natural materials help create a breezy, sunny sensation.
If you want something a little more industrial and modern, temper your earthy choices with steel or other metallic pieces. Custom made furniture with nautical flair, made from things like old crab traps, sailing ropes, or even parts of vintage canoes, are fantastic picks.
Choose Nautical Themes
White shiplap walls, built in storage, brass fixtures, and captain’s wheel chandeliers all add to your nautical decor. Create a gallery of boat or sea creature art in the kids’ powder room, or use throw pillows printed with a whale in your family room or bedroom.
Stripes, porthole mirrors, vintage paddles, framed maps, flags, or vintage bathing suits, and creative use of netting and high-end model ships can all create a tasteful nostalgia for the seven seas.
The Colors of Coastal Design
Choose whites, creams, and soft grays, greens and blues for your linens, rugs, walls, and furniture.
Beach decor is really about creating a calming and inspiring space. But sometimes you need a quick jolt of energy. That’s where pops of color, such as greens, yellows, or coral, come in. Use them on rugs, vases, curtains, or pillows.
Beach Decor Needs To Be High-Function
You live at the beach, so you’ll definitely track in sand and beach tar. Stain resistant rugs have come a long way. These days, many of them are so luxurious, you’d never guess they were techy.
Painted wood floors are a fantastic beach look, but you need a protective coat of polyurethane to keep the sand from scratching the wood.
Let The Beach Decor Professionals Take It From Here
Every time I say “beach decor,” what I’m really talking about is design. Design makes our homes attractive and efficient.
In a perfect situation, we hammer out the design details first and build around that. That means the decision-making becomes deliberate and not reactive. If you start building on a property before you’ve figured out design, then you’re forced into decisions that react to the job site. Instead, you want to create the job site that will yield the desired end result.
Decor is the final stage of design, but for decor to work, the design has to work. Before we break ground on White Sands projects, we have extensive conversations with you to understand your specific dream of beach living. Then we distill each room down to its design essence, choose materials, and create a detailed set of design plans. Because we’re both a design and build firm, everyone at White Sands is on the same page. Great design is at the root of all our construction decisions, which works out swimmingly for you and your custom beach house.
Get in touch today, and I’ll happily be your tour guide on your beach decor journey.
Thanks for reading,
Hawlie Ohe heads White Sands Interiors, and she and her husband are raising two boys along the South Bay coast. Hawlie brings the curiosity that fueled her first career, as a journalist, to her interior design approach: Who are you, who do want to be, and how can this space get you there? Great design makes you feel present and engaged, and Hawlie is here for it. Because she wants you to help you be “here” (in this space, in this moment), too.