We culled through 15 years of photographs to find the rooms that put the biggest smiles on our faces. From bright palettes to nautical nods, these ideas add cheer to any space.
Writer: Steele Thomas Marcoux
1 of 10Photographer: Jeff McNamara
Layer stripes, polka dots, and plaids in similar hues to create a lively look. For a cozy seat with a view, bring a butterfly chair inside to create an outdoor classic aesthetic.
Bedroom from our March 2004 issue
2 of 10Photographer: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Who says flooring must be neutral? We're swooning over this candy-colored rug. Turn a water view out one window into a panorama by adding in a mirrored wall.
Living Room from our March 2011 issue
3 of 10Photographer: Annie Schlechter
These bunks require less space so you can sleep extra long guests. The more the merrier! The porthole windows between bunks are perfect for sharing secrets after lights out. Cheerful pops of yellow cast a sunny spell over any room so mix it with other high-octane colors for an energetic vibe, and plenty of white to keep the intensity level in check.
Kids' Room from our June 2008 issue
4 of 10Photographer: Tria Giovan
Cozy, casual, and crowd-accommodating, booth-like seating sets the stage for quiet morning meals or raucous late-night snacks. And nothing says "kick your feet up" like a collection of brightly colored flip-flops mounted in Lucite boxes.
Breakfast Nook from our October 2011 issue
5 of 10Photographer: Richard Leo Johnson
At the beach, gathering for meals is rarely a formal event—so dining spaces and kitchens are the perfect spots to embrace whimsical decor. Turquoise tile? Swivel barstools? Bring it on.
Kitchen from our June 2009 issue
6 of 10Photographer: Richard Leo Johnson
Blue + Green
Polka dots and contrasting welts give these sea and sky shades a lighthearted twist. For an added whimsical effect, find a painted table sized for board games.
Porch from our June 2009 issue
7 of 10Photographer: Jean-Phillipe Piter
Spirits soar just as high in this easy-breezy, pavilion-style space. A connection to the outdoors—where you can feel breezes blowing and look out at seemingly endless water views—is a true mood enhancer. Keep those indoor/outdoor spaces casual with cushy seating, no-fuss accessories, and easy come, easy go style.
Dining Room from our February 2010 issue
8 of 10Photographer: Rick Lew
Bold Color Pairing
Just like when you're on vacation, there's a certain "no-rules" approach to decorating a beach house that has a refreshing effect. Try colors, artwork, and patterns you wouldn't dare choose for your year-round home.
Den from our December/January 2012 issue
9 of 10Photographer: Annie Schlechter
With a beach wardrobe as joyfully colorful as this, why not put it on display? Use clear organizational cubbies to let your clothes create a wall of color.
Closet from our March 2011 issue
10 of 10Photographer: Richard Leo Johnson
A pair of turtles and a giant butterfly add a splash of color and a playful attitude.