Dining Rooms with a Coastal Touch
Light wood walls, painted gray floors, and windowed French doors keep the focus on the view in this lake-front dining room, while shipshape accent and vibrant textiles deliver colorful character.
Choose a variety of chairs for a dining room set that feels collected and curated over time. All the better if you bring in a wild-card end chair, like the cobalt blue wicker number in this storied Michigan cottage.
Even a stone wall feels warm and beach house-appropriate when it’s whitewashed. The texture of the stone roots the space in warmth and a feeling of age, while off-white linen slipcovers, blond woods, and light floors contribute to the room’s bright, airy look.
Shop locally to find pieces that will give your house a sense of place. In this Los Cabos, Mexico, dining room, the designer brought in a colorful host chair and a vibrant painting from local shops to reflect a Mexican sensibility.
Crisp white walls and light floors create a clean backdrop that nicely contrasts the warm wooden table and a band of chairs in varying materials and colors.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match. A collection of mismatched chairs and benches (enough to seat 22!) in this dining room makes for a come one, come all atmosphere.
One Hue Wonder
This retro-fresh room is convincing evidence that a monochrome palette makes a super bold statement. Go all out in various shades of one color; then choose a grounding piece, like a rug, to tie them all together in perfect harmony.
Let a piece of art be your guide. This Palm Beach dining room takes its color cues from a painting of a lifeguard stand that the owners scooped up in Manhattan.
Rustic and modern styles blend easily when painted the same bright shade of white.
Less is more. Use a few carefully chosen accessories with large proportions to make an instant impression.
Easygoing Meets Contemporary
Geometric elements like a striated orb chandelier and angular pedestal-base table convey a strong contemporary vibe. But paired with raffia-upholstered ottomans and curvy sea urchin table lamps, the mod elements strike a more easygoing chord.
Frame up your views with knockout-pretty window treatments. In our Hamptons Showhouse dining room, designer Meg Braff used a turquoise-and-white bamboo pattern to draw your eye outside. Plus, the vertical nature of the pattern makes the ceilings feel higher.
Keep It Neutral
A low-profile table, armless chairs with clean lines, and a glass-float chandelier keep all eyes on the view, while sturdy upholstered end chairs with acrylic arms add gravitas to the space.
Bring the outside in by choosing pieces that highlight the natural landscape through their color or form, like this driftwood-inspired table.
Shades of the Sea
Blue always works in a beach house because it relates well to the ocean. Seascapes, a striped rug, and upholstered side chairs highlight those classic seafaring blues, while the contemporary pattern on the window treatments introduces a complementary zippy green to the mix.
Antique-inspired furniture is great for giving a little patina and soul to a space. In this East Hampton dining room, a reproduction sawhorse table with hand-hewn planks and a dusty blue Orkney host chair do the trick.
Bold patterns in striking blues and vivid corals pack a colorful punch in this dining room, which seamlessly blends super traditional pieces, like the stately table and mirrored console, with groovier pieces, like the Chippendale chairs and an artfully marbled lamp.
Bring the beach inside. In this Cohasset, Massachusetts, dining room, a mother-of-pearl shell chandelier dresses down the room’s more formal elements and connects the space to the Atlantic Ocean just steps from the house.
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.
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.
Midcentury modern style rules this roost, where wooden barrel-back chairs and a textured bar cart warm up a sleek marble-top table with a tulip base. Blue surfboard wall art and the subtlest shade of blue paint on the wall are sweet salutes to the ocean just steps away.
Bring down the house with glam lighting. A bold silver and mother-of-pearl chandelier contributes to the groovy vibes of the Malibu mobile home dining room, without straying too far from the space’s organic elements.
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.
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.
Creamy shiplap walls, mod white pendant lights, and ivory draperies channel bright seaside light, while reclaimed wood floors and a long wooden dining table give the crisp, just-built space a well-worn, well-loved feel.
Customize furniture to make it your own. Homeowners Erika Klein and Andrea Alexander spray-painted wooden side chairs from Restoration Hardware in varying shades of blue and green for a cheerful, ultra-casual vibe in their Watersound, Florida dining room.
Classic Color Duo
A predominantly white color palette gets its kicks from ebony chairs with cushions upholstered in jewel-tone florals. A sculptural glass-float chandelier by Lindsey Adelman brings in depth and texture without adding competing colors or patterns.
Maintain a low profile. In this Figure Eight Island, North Carolina, dining room, vintage splat-back chairs and a leggy, modern table keep all eyes on the ocean views.
Serenity was the aim in this dining room, so designer and owner Pam Robertson kept it simple. She paired a classic glass-top table with sturdy wooden legs with easygoing slipcovered chairs and deep-seated side chairs, which are perfect for sitting back and enjoying the view.
Show your stripes. White walls are warmed up with wide bands of pearly gray in the subdued dining room of this 1960s cottage in Belvedere, California.
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.
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.
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.
Transform everyday objects into accents that become eye-catching works of art.
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.
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.
Play with Color
Give your eating area a laid-back look with bistro chairs in different colors.
And who says a china hutch has to contain china? At the beach, use it to store games, kids’ artwork, and seaside collections.
Double sets of French doors provide a breezy alternative to al fresco dining when opened to the outdoors.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Simplicity is the name of the game in this rustic dining room. A table crafted from reclaimed barnwood, a collection of wooden chairs, and layered woven throws used as tablecloths bring warmth to the white walls and floors.
Treat your floors to a fresh coat of white paint: It will make the space feel larger, brighter, and airier.