Dining Rooms with a Coastal Touch

The great thing about beach-house style is that your rooms can be as casual and relaxed as you are on the coast. Feast your eyes on these dining rooms, then invite their easygoing looks into your home.

large banana leaves arranged in large glass vases sit on top of a white dining room table with a pile of brown gourds sprinkled in between them

Tria Giovan

Fresh Approach

Rustic and modern styles blend easily when painted the same bright shade of white.

Idea Spotlight
Less is more. Use a few carefully chosen accessories with large proportions to make an instant impression.

Chandelier covered in shells and turquoise dishware on the dining room table with glass-paned built-in creamy cabinets set behind the table

Lisa Romerein

Natural Ornamentation

To bring the beach into your dining room, hang a shell-crusted chandelier. Keep the sand-and-sea theme going with neutral table linens and blue dishes. At dinner parties, forgo matched settings for ones that look thrown together on a whim.

Idea Spotlight
Scatter several small items, instead of one large centerpiece, down the length of your table. Keep conversation flowing by choosing shorter arrangements that guests can easily see over.

a white dining room with wood chairs and turquoise dishware with a pair of boat paddles set into the corner of the room

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Vision in White

There’s something serene about a white-on-white dining room. When you feel like adding color, try a splash of turquoise, such as this pair of paddles propped just so in the corner.

Idea Spotlight 
Transform everyday objects into accents that become eye-catching works of art.

a roll up wall makes it possible that this indoor dining room can extend to the patio beyond

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Ready for a Party

There’s no doubt a beach house draws a crowd. Prepare for an influx of friends and family by doubling your tables―one for inside, one for outside. Connect the two spaces with a glass garage-style door or a pair of French doors. On fair-weather days, your party guests can easily mix and mingle.

Idea Spotlight 
Use vintage or reproduction lighting to lend a sense of history to a new space. If you find an antique fixture at a flea market, take it to a lighting store and have it rewired. For new fixtures that look old, shop at circalighting.com and rejuvenation.com.

bright dining room with pendant lights

Stretching Your Decorating Dollar

Illuminate a large table with pendants rather than a single chandelier. They’ll not only cut costs, but also evenly distribute light. Hang fixtures 28 to 36 inches above your table.

Idea Spotlight
For a feminine look, let your wardrobe inspire your design details. Tailor the look of the slipcover by adding buttons, contrasting piping, pleated trim, or ribbon ties. Or add a monogram for a personal touch. The result is flirty and fun, but every bit as functional as a standard slipcover.

A whimsical painting with a dog hangs behind the dining room bar area. Also light acqua slipcovers with oversize buttons stitched into the back decorate each chair.

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Personal Style

Look closely at this dining area and you’ll find several ideas worth stealing. First, slipcovers in two colors fit over the chair backs. (The big buttons are just for show.) Mixed seating looks like it was collected over time―one chair has barley-twist legs, and a dark wood bench sits along one side of the table. Distressed wood and weathered paint finishes impart a subtle coastal look.

Idea Spotlight
Trade in your chandelier for an oversize lantern to keep a pattern-heavy dining area from looking fussy. For unexpected flair, customize it with a splash of color. Look for spray paint specifically made to adhere to metal.

light blue, white and red bistro chairs surround a turquoise distressed dining room table

Alec Hemer

Play with Color

Give your eating area a laid-back look with bistro chairs in different colors.

Idea Spotlight 
And who says a china hutch has to contain china? At the beach, use it to store games, kids’ artwork, and seaside collections.

royal navy blue fabric is used to upholster white, formal dining room chairs for indoor as well as outdoor use

Robert W. Mauer

Smart Fabrics

Double sets of French doors provide a breezy alternative to al fresco dining when opened to the outdoors.

Idea Spotlight
When upholstering dining chairs, choose textiles in darker hues that will disguise spills. Or better yet, select indoor-outdoor fabric. Search for options at sunbrella.com, clarencehouse.com, seacloth.com, and kravet.com (look for KravetSoleil).

Pink and purple striped curtains surround a dining room table with pink slipcovered chairs

Tria Giovan

Invite Drama

Create a colorful backdrop by repeating the same pattern on fabric wall panels and draperies. The uninterrupted print allows the eye to take in the space as a whole, rather than drawing attention to individual pieces. Try stripes or simple motifs to prevent the look from becoming overbearing.

Idea Spotlight
Set off a room’s entry. Use tie-back draperies in lieu of doors for a softer, more romantic effect. To double your style, select two different fabrics, one for each side.

dining room chairs with brown wicker mesh backing surround a dining room table decorated with white candles, glassware and sea shells

Colleen Duffley

Easy Elegance

Enlist your dining room to serve double duty. Select a table and chairs that are casual enough for everyday activities―breakfast, shell sorting, or putting together puzzles―but can be easily dressed up for entertaining.

Idea Spotlight 
Keep it simple. A linen table runner, tall glass pillars, and treasures from the sea are all you’ll need to transition from family dinner to fabulous fete.

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