The goal in decorating a beach house is to make it look relaxed and peaceful, like a lounge chair waiting in the warm sand. Let your natural surroundings inspire the colors of your beach house, and layer in plenty of natural elements like wood, glass, woven sea grass and organic fabrics for texture. Your color scheme, furniture, window treatments, and accessories will all impact the look of your beach house.
The colors of a beach house should reflect the colors of the beach. That’s why grays, whites and cloudy blues are often used in Cape Cod style homes and hot corals and shades of turquoise are common in tropical beach homes. But unless you are going for a specific regional design, stick with colors that are serene and natural.
Take in your beach view for inspiration. Light blues, sea foam green, sandy tones of beige, a light blush of coral and crisp shades of white will bring the outdoors into your home. Choose one main color for a room and accent it with two other colors. For example if you prefer color on the walls, paint them in light sky blue with the ceiling and trim in white. Incorporate several pieces of whitewashed furniture into the room and scatter in some sandy brown rugs and pillows. If you prefer a more neutral palate, use three shades of one neutral color, such as sandy white, light sand and beige.
The furniture in your beach house should be comfortable above all else. This is not the place for stiff chairs or spindly legged antique pieces people are afraid to sit on. It should also be easy to care for. There will be the occasionally wet, sandy swimsuit sitting on your couch – upholstery that’s water- and stain-resistant is a must.
Choose wicker, light-toned woods like pine, or furniture painted in shades of white to keep the room light and airy. Pickled and weathered finishes - things that look as though they might have withstood the salt spray before being placed in your home – will complement your casual beach décor.
Avoid heavy fabrics or formal drapes. Curtains that are sheer and move in the breeze are best. If privacy is an issue, consider using wooden shutters that can be adjusted to let in the light during the day and provide security when it’s needed.
Floors that are easy to clean are ideal for a beach house. Hard woods that are either painted or stained in light colors, bamboo or tile provide the casual style and durability you want and are easy to sweep sand from. If you prefer carpet, choose pattern-free, short pile or Berber-style carpets in a single, neutral color tone.
Accessorizing is your opportunity to put a final layer of personality into your beach house décor, but remember to skip the clutter and highlight only the best of your beach combing treasures. Keep collections together for greatest impact and group them in odd-numbered clusters. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unique items as artwork for your beach house walls, but avoid clichés. Fishing nets filled with sand dollars may make your living room look more like the lobby of a seafood restaurant than the chic getaway you want it to be. Instead, hang a vintage life preserver or a single, weathered boat oar on the wall. Items like these add color, texture and a graphic art quality to a room.