Create Instant Island Style

Love that breezy beach house look but not sure how to pull it off? We asked three top designers to share their favorite decorating tips and secret sources.

Take tips from our designers to give your rooms a beachy, island feel.

Create Instant Island Style

Top designers Tom Scheerer, T. Keller Donovan, and Phoebe Price give expert advice on creating a beachy vibe for any space.

The camelback sofa and Chippendale-style chairs are an elegant pairing for the Saarienen table.

Pieter Estersohn

Bahamas Bohemian

New York-based designer Tom Scheerer's signature look is an eclectic mix of simple and sophisticated. Tom filled these rooms--two sun-bleached villas on Harbour Island in the Bahamas--with his essentials for effortless island style: neutral palettes, pickled wood, cabinets made from locally milled cypress, and stunning handmade tiles. From rich, warm wood accent pieces to sleek furnishings, these spaces carry an air of refinement along with a mellow, easy vibe.

The rustic feel of this kitchen fits into Scheerer's bohemian vibe.

Eric Boman

Bohemian Bahamas Kitchen

This kitchen's weathered gray shutters, stone floors, and crisp white cypress cabinetry are a rustic counterpoint to the sculptural table and chairs.

Cafe Daum Side Chair

Courtesy of Manufacturer

Twist on Tradition

When pulled up to a sleek table, bentwood chairs give a kitchen personality.

Michael Thonet Designed Cafe Daum Side Chair

Rattan Ottoman by Franco Albini

Courtesy of Manufacturer

Rattan Ottoman

It's a staple of beachy style, whether brand-new or vintage like this piece.

Franco Albini Ottoman

Hand-poured cement tile by Cluny Tile

Ted Tucker

Cuban Tile

These hand-poured cement tiles lend tropical flair and bold pattern to the kitchen.

Cluny Tile for pricing and showrooms

Mischa Half Crackle Lamp

Courtesy of Manufacturer

Simple Lighting

A glass bottle forms the base of a beachy lamp.

Mischa Half Crackle Lamp
Cottage & Bungalow; 877/441-9222 or

Designer Tom Scheerer

Courtesy of Tom Scheerer

Tom's Bahamas

Favorite Island Find: Woven rugs from the Plait Lady Straw Work (242/363-1416) and a seagrape leaf tray from Jessica's Tileworks (242/324-3533 or, both in Nassau.

Must Do: Check out the selection of great beachwear at the Blue Rooster (242/333-2240).

Best-Kept Island Secret: Hot sauce, homemade jam, and produce at Patricia's Fruits and Vegetables (242/333-2289) and barbecue take-out from Biran's (on Dunmore Street), open weekends only.

The classic Nantucket themes take on a modern flair in this living room.

John Bessler

Nantucket Natural

Designer T. Keller Donovan created a charming shingled cottage for a Nantucket client. His take: a twist on classic New England seaside themes (wicker, blue and white, nautical touches) that feel modern yet welcoming. "The wicker furnishings are contemporary without being slick, and textural without being corny," says Keller. He rejuvenates the traditional seaside color palette by using crisp hues that contrast against dark wicker wood. He plays with scale, choosing giant stripes, oversize checks, enlarged prints, and teensy dots. It looks strikingly modern and suits the wicker furniture's chunky weight.

Wally Lantern

Courtesy of Manufacturer

Nautical Accessories

Lanterns reference Nantucket's whaling history.

Wally Lantern

Federal Style Convex Mirror

Courtesy of Manufacturer

Bull's-Eye Mirror

Leave it as-is, or do as Keller did: Paint it blue and white for a fresh look.

Federal Style Convex Mirror

Dotty fabric in Cadet/Cream

Ted Tucker

Graphic Updates

The curtains are a twist on preppy polka dots.

Dotty fabric in Cadet/Cream for pricing and showrooms

Designer T. Keller Donovan

Michael Price

Keller's Nantucket

Favorite Island Find: Nantucket lightship baskets from Nantucket Basketworks of Cape Cod ('re great accents and serving pieces.

Must Do: Stop in at Nantucket Looms (508/228-1908 or, which started as a textile weaving company but now also carries antiques and accessories.

Best-Kept Island Secret: The time to visit Nantucket is right after Labor Day. And don't miss the amazing chocolate-covered cranberries from Nantucket Chocolatier (888/225-4843)

The pink hues in this Bermuda bedroom were inspired by the island's sandy pink beaches.

J. Savage Gibson/Courtesy of Phoebe Howard

Bermuda Classic

Designer Phoebe Howard, proprietor of the shops Mrs. Howard and Max & Company, decorated a stately Bermuda retreat that's a mix of polished and preppy, with island-inspired dashes and feminine flourishes. In this room, raffia upholstery gives the bed frames a neat and polished look. Phoebe started with an antique bamboo desk with pink trim. Inspired by Bermuda's pink-sand beaches, she stuck to this one color and varied its intensity. The bold red, magenta, and pink shades in the botanical prints play off the island's brilliant tropical vegetation.

Natural Woven Shade in Classic Malibu

Ted Tucker

Natural Touches

This shade, inspired by nature, adds a calming touch to a beachy room.

Natural Woven Shade in Classic Malibu
From $14 per square foot for retailers

Sari in Fuchsia and Chunari in Fuchsia

Ted Tucker

Batik Prints

Asian-inspired prints can bring an unexpected liveliness to a room.

Sari in Fuchsia (top)
$176 per yard

Chunari in Fuchsia (bottom)
$130 per yard
Raoul Textiles; 805/899-4947 or

Dragonfly Stencil

Ted Tucker

Decorative Painting

Brighten up the walls with these fun and decorative stencils.

Butterfly and Dragonfly Stencils
$15 for a four-piece kit

Designer Phoebe Howard

J. Savage Gibson/Courtesy of Phoebe Howard

Phoebe's Bermuda

Favorite Island Find: Bermuda's surprisingly lush, tropical foliage and brilliantly colored flowers--there's nothing quite like them anywhere.

Must Do: Have lunch at the Breakers Ocean Terrace restaurant overlooking the ocean at Pink Beach Club resort (

Best-Kept Island Secret: Tourists aren't allowed to rent cars, but don't splurge on the notoriously expensive taxis. Rent a scooter to access Bermuda's secluded beaches.

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