Looking for a style that's both elegant and beach friendly? Check out these decorating tips and bring shoreside sophistication into your home.

By Elizabeth Raines Beeler and Abigail B. Millwood
December 11, 2007
Add Wood
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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

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

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

Slipcovered dining chairs (similar to those shown) from LeeIndustries; leeindustries.com forstores.

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

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 canalso soften a room by introducing billowy fabrics. They lend anairy feel to cozy quarters and create interest overhead.