7 ways to get the coastal retreat look

July 19, 2022

On hot summer days, evoking an oasis of relaxation and calm at home is key, and there’s no better way to do that than with a carefree coastal decor scheme. Whether you’re after a barefoot Ibiza chill out vibe with flowing fabrics, New England chic with classic stripes or the coastal textures of Cornwall, here’s seven ways to get the look…

1. Upgrade your stripes

Once the uniform of sailors, stripes have always been a mainstay in coastal style. However, it can be easy to go overboard with them, so try sticking to soft fine stripes on a sofa or armchair and use them more as an accent than a feature.

A subtle way of incorporating a stripe, is a ticking stripe. Ticking stripes are a utility fabric that have been around for over 1, 000 years and are usually made from cotton or a blend of cotton and linen, so they’re hard-wearing. Instead of a bold stripe, they have a broad stripe and a thinner stripe either side. Perfect for understated coastal decor.

Smart stripes to create a coastal look at home

Photo: Vanessa Arbuthnott

2. Choose a warm white in your coastal decor

Choose a warm-toned shade of white to balance out the cold light of a north-facing or dark space. If you’re choosing paint for a south-facing or naturally bright room, cooler whites that contain hints of blue or grey will counteract the yellowness of bright sunshine.

If your coastal decorating ideas include a predominately white or neutral colour scheme, then it’s a good idea to bring in lots of different textures to add depth. Try whitewashed wood, tiles or brick or soft furnishings, like cotton, linen and wool blankets and cushions.

Mix up your shades of white

Photo: Arada

3. Drape lengths of fabric

Billowing fabrics spell Ibizan summer chic, although you don’t have to be on the White Isle to recreate it.  A simple length of fabric suspended on wooden poles – or even branches above a bed – makes a relaxed focal point.

Choose muslin or linen to match your drapes, or opt for patterned fabric to create a standout piece. To really up your coastal decorating ideas, use curtain poles and lined fabric and create a cosy canopy bed.

coastal decorating ideas: Try adding lengths of fabric for texture that blows in the breeze

Photo: George Home

4. Add wicker for coastal vibes

Texture is the key to creating the perfect coastal decor scheme and a great way to do that is with wicker. Wicker is the collective word for woven furniture, usually made from natural materials like seagrass, reed, bamboo and cane. For flooring think sisal and jute or this super cool two-tier raffia pendant lighting (pictured).

Rattan and wicker are often used interchangeably, but wicker is the style and method of weaving dating back thousands of years and rattan is a type of vine that grows naturally in tropical forests.

Try rattan to evoke the coastal feel

Photo: Habitat

5. Introduce subtle coastal touches

A lovely way to add coastal decor touches is to source from artists living and working on the coast. Molesworth and Bird on the British South-West coast make the most beautiful hand-pressed prints of seaweeds, everything from Irish Moss to Sugar Kelp, which are gathered near their homes and come in a range of sizes from A4 to A1.

coastal decorating ideas: Introduce summery motifs and blue tones into your living room

Photo: Next

6. Create soft wood coastal tones

Soft wood tones will have a big impact on your coastal decor, and light woods are the go-to. Think sun-bleached timber and whitewashed walls, either on your flooring or in tongue and groove.

Tongue and groove panelling in a pale colour will instantly add texture, give a rustic touch and make you feel like you’re on the seafront. Vertical panelling will draw your eye upwards and add height, or you could add a back wall panel (pictured) and use it to create a practical bathroom shelf.

coastal decorating ideas for the bathroom: Freestanding tub and whitewash woodwork with blue door

Photo: Waters Baths of Ashbourne

7. Add Ibiza vibes to your outdoor space

Could there be anything better come evening than sinking in low slung comfy seating in your garden reminiscent of a relaxed beach bar? Make sure there’s copious amounts of plump cushions, a low table for drinks and soft lighting. A bamboo cane roof will really make you feel like you’re on holiday.

In a similar way to your interiors, you can make your outdoor spaces feel bigger and brighter by using large mirrors to reflect the light, especially in dark corners. Simply choose weatherproof exterior designs for more exposed areas.

Bring Ibiza to your outdoor space

Photo: Garden Trading