After a recent trip to Cornwall the breathtaking scenery, inspired thoughts of coastal and nautical interior design.
So, if you live in a city, or inland, can you buy into coastal interior design? Absolutely. Classic, contemporary, shabby chic or just plain fun, the coastal / nautical interior design scheme has numerous forms!
From subtle, soft shades, to bold navy and white strips, from beach hut shabby chic to cliff top contemporary elegance, how much you indulge your coastal theme is totally up to you!
Your design should be based on the mood you want to create – light, airy, fresh and uplifting.
Most coastal inspired rooms start with a basic neutral backdrop on which to layer colour, patterns, motifs, soft furnishings, flooring and accessories. From clean, crisp white to tonal creams and sands, keeping it simple on the walls gives you options to indulge with more pattern and colour. A feature wall using striped or motif wallpaper can break the backdrop if you don’t want to stay totally neutral.
Blocks of colour introduced to the scheme are traditionally on the blue palette, from pale sky blue to bold indigo, with accents of red, pink, green or grey providing contrast. But although blue may seem the obvious choice as a connection to the sea, you can still design your room with a ‘nod’ to this style with other colours other than blue, such as red or slate grey mixed with dusky pink.
Pattern is key to the coastal look – an area where you can let your imagination fly! Bold, wide stripes, coastal motifs, checks and narrow pinstripes can be introduced on main items of furniture, soft furnishings and accessories.
If you feel bold, striped carpet or sofas are show-stopping ways to bring stripes into the design. Mixed with motifs and patterns on soft furnishings and window dressings, you can layer up the patterns and colours as far as you want to take it!
(Pictures 1 and 2 Clarke & Clarke’s Maritime collection, picture 3 UKTV)
Whether you go full-on coastal or subtly bring the coastal theme into your room, materials need to be based in nature – so think wood, including driftwood, stone, rattan, jute, wicker, stone, sea grass, slate and natural wool. Mix texture (sand) with smooth (sea) – driftwood with stone, textured soft furnishings and accessories with glass, rattan with metal, are all stunning combinations. Keep metal to a minimum, or ensure it is painted metal, as although this look can be bright, it’s not incredibly bling!
Flooring is an easy way to introduce natural materials to the room for example – sanded or lime washed floorboards with a thick, natural wool or patterned rug for living rooms and bedrooms, striped carpet for hallways, stone or slate tiles for kitchen / diners.
Keep the window dressing simple – crisp, white shutters, natural or motif roller or roman blinds add a statement but won’t over-power the design.
Furniture is an investment, so how bold you want to go should be considered wisely. Many designs play safe with neutral large pieces of furniture, keeping the coastal theme to the easy to change soft furnishings and accessories. If you want to be bolder, how about a striped sofa, a statement chair, or an upcycled piece of furniture that could easily be used in another room within another design scheme in the future? Tables and dining chairs are light in colour and texture, keep heavy, dark pieces to a minimum.
Lighting is an easy way to bring touches of this style into the room, and create the airy and fresh atmosphere. Tripod floor lamp, and lanterns are popular – and you could bring in a touch of bling with bronze or brushed silver versions! Table lamps are vital for soft, relaxing accent lighting – there are so many available whose design includes natural coastal inspired elements.
Accessories are an important way to bring your own personal touches into a room – from sea creature artwork, to seagull sculptures to driftwood lamps – the hundreds of products available will insure your completed room will express your style. A few well-placed seashore inspired items will complement each other, rather than a shelf full of shells, but it’s your coastline, decorate it however you want to!
From a subtle design paying homage to the coast with soft tones and gentle soft furnishings to totally setting sail with bold stripes, clean white walls, shells and seagulls, the design world is your oyster (sorry!)