Beach Chic

Looking for a style that's both elegant and beach friendly? Check out these decorating tips and bring shoreside sophistication into your home.
Text by Elizabeth Raines Beeler and Abigail B. Millwood

Add Wood
For old beach shacks, wood was the building material of choice. It remains popular in shoreside homes today because of its easy maintenance and warm appearance. Show off your home's original wood or create the same effect by applying V-groove or beaded board to existing wallboard. Coat walls, ceilings, doors, and trim in the same white hue to create a uniform backdrop for furniture and accessories. As the daylight changes, so will the space's color and feel. Shake things up with a few unexpected accents. Mirrored and modern pieces blend seamlessly yet keep the look from becoming predictable.

Victoria Ghost Side Chair from Design Within Reach; dwr.com. Mirrored console, side table, and slipcovered furnishings (similar to those shown) from BeachDwelling; beachdwelling.com.

Cover Up
For a natural look, pair weathered wood furniture with fine or coarse linen fabrics. The salvaged or reclaimed wood lends a sense of history, while the fabrics provide subtle sophistication. For practicality, consider slipcovers. Whether tailored or loose-fitting, slipcovers are salt-, sand-, and family-friendly, and can easily be washed or replaced. And don't forget to accent with treasures from the sea. Nothing shouts "beach" louder than shells!

Slipcovered dining chairs (similar to those shown) from Lee Industries; leeindustries.com for stores.

Accessorize
Turn up the contrast with graphic art and punchy accessories. Whether you choose bold or muted hues, pillows and framed art pop when placed against neutral walls. Accessories are among the easiest and the least expensive ways to change the overall tone of a room. Swap them out according to season or mood. Complement the look with natural floor coverings, such as sisal, sea grass, jute, or bamboo. The materials make great area rugs, and sea grass and sisal can also be applied wall-to-wall or used as stair runners.

Natural Area Rugs; naturalarearugs.com.

Paint It
Choose wall and floor paint formulas with tints of blue, gray, or pink to prevent rooms from looking washed out. You can also soften a room by introducing billowy fabrics. They lend an airy feel to cozy quarters and create interest overhead.