Stripes, Shells, Palms, and More: The Prints and Patterns Designers Love Most For Beach Houses
1. Cabana Stripes
Create a resort-style retreat with this cheery nautical staple.
Choose Your Spot: If the clean lines and pronounced hues of cabana stripes float your boat, transform a simple headboard into a fresh focal point. Pick a bold or muted hue to anchor the room's palette. Complementary pillows and floral curtains work well with the punchy coral stripes.
2. Palm Prints
Feel the sway with this breezy motif that always lends an island vibe.
Climb the Walls: This stunning hand-painted wallpaper (Amazonia by de Gournay) elevates an otherwise ordinary foyer to elegance. Pair a timeless tropical print like this—filled with flora and fauna—with all-white furniture and accessories to keep it center stage.
Go (Really) Big: "So many people have a tricky room like this—maybe over the garage or formerly an attic, with an odd shape and angled ceilings," says designer Meg Braff of this game room in the Hamptons. She spun challenge into gold with an overscale palm-print wallpaper (Rain Forest by Meg Braff Designs) that celebrates the angled walls. The rush floor coverings add additional texture and warmth.
3. Global Patterns
Add a handcrafted feel to any room with bold ikat, batik, and block prints.
Pile on the Pattern: Help contrasting prints play nice with a few simple tricks. Place the largest-scale pattern on the biggest item (here, a Ballard Designs headboard upholstered in New Batik by China Seas). Then, layer smaller-scale prints on items like pillows and throws. White walls and linens help balance the eye and allow the room to breathe.
Rethink Neutral: Neutrals don't have to be, well, beige. Designer Jenny Keenan chose colorful, tribal-inspired fabrics in soft shades of pink, blue, yellow, and gray for this South Carolina cottage. "There's a muted, almost dusky romance to the marsh—the colors change so often, from day to day and season to season, and we wanted to reflect that in our color scheme," she says.
4. Wild Touches
Wallpaper with animal motifs brings the sea and shore seamlessly indoors.
Flamingos: "It's not too busy," says designer Mary McGee about the wallpaper (Flamingos by Cole & Son) she used in this preppy Palm Beach kitchen. The amount of space between the birds keeps the pattern from overwhelming the space.
Fish: In a Florida Gulf-front home, gilded puffer fish swim past brassy sconces and an antiqued bronze mirror for a sophisticated take on underwater style.
Turtles: In South Florida, this turtle-print wallpaper (Turtle Bay by Katie Ridder) in a powder room adds a big dose of personality—no additional artwork needed.
Try a fresh take on this classic—and sometimes overused—motif.
Double the Impact: In this Hamptons guest room, designer Meg Braff paired embroidered scallop bedding with a graphic, reverse-color wallpaper (Nassau by Meg Braff Designs) to shake things up and have some fun with this beach house mainstay pattern. The differences in scale keep serenity at the center of things.
6. Nautical Maps
Channel journeys and exploration by using these coastal icons in a new way.
Make it Timeless: In children's rooms, playful yet sophisticated patterns age well. Designer Jill Johnson chose a nautical chart wallpaper in watery hues for her son's cozy room in Manhattan Beach. A subtle cream-colored heirloom spool bed allows the walls to tell the story.