Wilmington, North Carolina-based designer (and member of our Designer Network!) Hooper Patterson shares her essentials for a beach house that can stand up to sandy feet, sunscreen-covered hands, and your entire brood of beach bums.

By Betsy Cribb
June 09, 2017

“Because I’m based on the North Carolina coast, my clients consistently ask for beautiful spaces that can stand up to sun, sand and water,” says Wilmington-based designer Hooper Patterson. “They want beach houses that are as hardworking as they are pretty: They want their homes to look good, but they also want to be able to host swimmers, sunbathers, barbecues, pets, and everything in between. Living rooms and decks, alike, have to stand up to sunscreen and sandy feet.” Here, Patterson shares her three go-tos for an easy, breezy beach house look.

1. Natural Fiber Rugs

“It’s easy to shake sand off of rugs made from natural fibers, like jute. While rough on bare feet in the past, new jutes are woven to be soft underfoot. I like to use natural fiber rugs in the main living spaces because they create a neutral backdrop for bright colors and patterns that feel right at home on the coast.”

2. Performance-Grade Fabrics

“Outdoor fabrics have come a long way. We love using Sunbrella fabrics indoors, on everything from sofas to headboards. They’re easy to clean, and they won’t fade, even when they’re used in sunlight-filled rooms. We also like to upholster high traffic seating like barstools and dining chairs in colorful, textured vinyl fabrics because they’re easy to wipe clean and can stand up to sunscreen and wet bathing suits.”

3. Outdoor Furniture and Rugs

“Like outdoor fabrics, outdoor furniture and rugs often work really well indoors. In a recent vintage cottage makeover, for instance, we chose an outdoor sofa made from aluminum and rope, then added cushions in Sunbrella fabric. It’s beautiful and virtually indestructible! I’m also a big fan of using outdoor rugs inside. They’re especially great for beach house dining rooms. They add a pop of color, so they feel fun and festive for messy summer dinner parties, but you can take them outside, hose them off, and leave them in the sun to dry.”