Oh, we do love to be beside the seaside
From Hamptons chic to Cornish character, the coastal look is the ultimate way to achieve the most relaxing interiors. Here’s how to create a breezy beach feel for your home.
A palette of navy, red and white is a classic nautical combination. Boat motifs and nods to a naval sensibility – such as the gorgeous Porthole Mirrors at Coastal Home – will also channel a sea-faring vibe.
Adding a touch of flair are the jaunty ‘Admiral’ anchor-print cushions and ‘Catamaran’ stripe Indoor-Outdoor rugs from Dash & Albert. “Combine blues and reds with stripes and nautical references – it’s a look that’s relaxed and easy to achieve,” says Genoveva Alfaro, director of Dash & Albert Europe.
Chunky storage trunks – such as those available at Swoon Editions – have echoes of sailors’ chests and are characterful substitutes for coffee or side tables. While nautical lanterns, available at Besselink & Jones, give a lighthouse feel.
To feminise and soften the scheme, look for subtle shell references – seen in the shape of the glamorous velvet Trapezium Chair and Ariel Bed at Sweetpea & Willow.
“I would suggest just giving a nod to the theme – you don’t want your house to look too clichéd,” says David Reed owner of homewares store Angela Reed, based in Saffron Waldon. “Our modern rattan garden set, for instance, has a beachy look but is also sophisticated and modern.”
lma Malik at Furniture Village gives her top three tips on coastal cool
Rich cobalt shades and navy tones take centre stage. Contrast with notes of aqua to keep it tranquil and fresh.
The lighthouse effect
Keep lighting natural, with the main source coming from outdoors.
Unusually shaped glass pieces will refract light around the room and imitate the surface of the moving sea.
Rustic, understated furniture go hand-in-hand with a summery beach-house aesthetic. Opt for scrubbed, bare wooden tables, contrasting textures and a white-on-white palette.
“Cosy coastal style is all about creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that works all year round,” says Claire Hornby, creative stylist at Barker and Stonehouse. “Pale wood flooring and off-white walls create a neutral backdrop for darker tones such as weak tea and pale coffee colours. Introduce these with linen curtains and shaggy rugs.”
Shimu’s distressed blue-painted cabinets and PIB Home’s rough-hewn console tables give the exact weather-worn, salt-washed look required. For those wanting a more polished version, opt for sleeker, painted furniture in seaside hues of blue, cream and muted duck-egg blue.
“Painted furniture gives the trend a more grown up twist. If you’d rather avoid the obvious nautical motifs, think about using texture and colour to create a slightly more subtle seaside feel,” says Adam Brown, director, The Painted Furniture Company.
“For example, use a combination of natural wood, soft whites and crisp blues. We can paint our furniture in a huge selection of shades, so you can choose the colour that suits your room scheme the best.”
Straight from the beach
Our top three buys to give a naturally rustic feel
*Driftwood Chandelier, POA, made from a large piece of New Zealand wood, by Fritz Fryer
*Driftwood Lamps, from £179, made from wood washed up on the shorelines of the Indian Ocean, by Banbayu
*Shore Driftwood Tables, from £225, made from wood naturally washed up on a beach, by Alexander & Pearl
Heart the Hamptons
When it comes to the ultimate in seaside-chic, the Hamptons style – think the perfect marriage of casual and elegant – is the dream. This is all about relaxed living – but in a sophisticated, curated way. Blue, white and taupe is the palette with nods to a bare-foot way of living. Showcase pretty collections of coral or display shells in tall glass vases, pile glossy art books on bare-wood tables and adorn linen sofas with china-blue cushions in clashing prints.
A one-stop shop for sourcing accessories is interior designer Joanna Wood’s store.
“Use materials with a hardwearing texture – such as linen and hessian,” she says. “Unbleached varieties look wonderfully authentic. Vintage fishing ropes can be ingenuously fashioned into door stops or incorporated into wooden coffee tables to create something wholly unique. If you favour pattern then wallpaper, such as Lewis & Wood’s Maritime, is a great way to incorporate subtle colour and will give any room a crisp, salty, seaside feel.”
In an all-white room, add in colour with a deep sofa upholstered in soft blue or stripy textiles – like those available at Sofa Workshop. Dress windows with billowing curtains in the same hues.
Gareth Derbridge, creative director at Curtains.com, agrees: “Interpret this look in a modern way by pairing sky-blue linen curtains with traditional seaside ticking stripes and checked cushions. Add whitewashed wooden furniture to complete the look.”
Finally, known for its collaborations with independent designers, West Elm is one of the most innovative homewares brands of the moment. Ben Hanley, home stylist manager, gives his advice: “Mix up different textures and combine warm blue and yellow hues, which play nicely off sandy and grey colours, too. It’s good to steer away from the traditional nautical look – although blue is a natural core colour. Try to keep it subtle and allow the other colours to shine through. It’s the modern-day beach style.”
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*The coastal look doesn’t need to be just deckchair stripes, for a fresh twist use floral or ikat patterns, which have subtle coastal influences.
*In the Hamptons, walls and floors are mainly white – simply add accessories to get the look.
* Be inspired by water – think soft blues, greys and green – just like the reflections from water in a pool.
EDITOR’S TOP TEN
My pick of the best coastal accessories around
Bulkhead Light, £89.99, dowsingandreynolds.com
Blue Rattan Chair, £189.50, hutsly.com
Natural Rope Knot Weighted Doorstop – £16, tch.net
Lobster Clock, £26, batela-giftware.co.uk
What A Catch! Cushion, £26, sophieallport.com
Octopus Bone China Plate, £24, creamcornwall.co.uk
Sainsbury’s Home Shore Grey Knitted Throw, £25, sainsburys.com
Nautical Glass Fishing Float, £10.95, coastalhome.co.uk
Dash & Albert Denim Samode Pouffe, £292, dashandalberteurope.com
Pebble Lamp, £59, barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
This article can also be read in the June 2017 issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine