48 Living Rooms with Coastal Style
These Living Rooms Have Bright, Coastal Style
Don’t automatically relegate wicker furniture to the porch—bring it inside to create the perfect coastal vibe. “Its curved design elevates it and makes it very right for a tropical living room,” says designer Amanda Lindroth.
Idea Spotlight: Dark wood, such as the mahogany flooring used here, allows classic beach house staples like wicker and white paint to really pop.
Bright & Beachy
Take a cue from this Lake Michigan home and embrace color. Vibrant citrus seating livens up the living room and pairs well with the whitewashed pine wall paneling.
Allow prominent pieces to set the stage for your room’s design. In this Bahamas living room, the focus is the rounded rattan sofa. “When I found it, I knew the living room would have a lot of joy,” says designer Amanda Lindroth. “Along with the vibrant tropical patterns, it would invite conversation.”
Idea Spotlight: Try painting trim a dark color to temper the busyness of surrounding patterns.
Feeling the Blues
Blue’s calming effect makes it a natural fit for beach houses—but it’s not one hue fits all. Pick a shade that really complements the details that are unique to your particular space (the views, the ceiling height, the size, etc.). “It’s best to make color decisions onsite to avoid picking one that comes off as either too weak or out of place altogether,” says designer Meg Braff.
Idea Spotlight: Yes, you can make a bright, statement-making pattern work in a sophisticated and soothing space. Here, the vibrancy of the sofas is balanced with dialed-down, solid expressions of the bold blue hue.
Pastel throw pillows bring the vintage sectional up to coastal code for a past-meets-present vibe that’s anything but outdated. The subtle metal finishes on the coffee and console tables add just the right touch of glam.
Idea Spotlight: Make every seat the best in the house. The turquoise club chairs from vanCollier swivel to face the incredible ocean views afforded by the oversized windows.
With living room ceilings that reach 25 feet, the owner of this Baja beach home had to find pieces that live up to the considerable height. Homeowner and designer Charlene Petersen enlisted a tall armoire with elevated Guatemalan pottery, an extra-high valance, and a fireplace extending skyward to help fill in the extra space.
Idea Spotlight: Let the local way of life influence your design. “As much as I needed it to look like a beach house, the palette had to reflect [Mexico’s] culture,” Petersen says.
Vaulted and beamed ceilings open up the great room of this Long Beach Island, New Jersey, home, while layered rugs help delineate the living from the dining area. A towering fiddle-leaf fig emphasizes the room’s sky-high ceilings.
Idea Spotlight: Incorporate a wild card. While the palette and touches of wicker are traditionally beachy, the vintage coffee table pictured here is covered in snakeskin. “We were drawn to it because it’s so unexpected in a beach house,” says designer Anne Maxwell Foster.
Cozy and Collected
Bring together eclectic pieces to cultivate a living room that feels extra homey. Homeowner Tiffany Caliva found the coffee table at a flea market and recovered the lounge chair with an African indigo mudcloth.
Idea Spotlight: Swap out textiles regularly to keep your living room feeling fresh. “Rotating things like textiles and pillows gives them longevity,” Caliva says. “Plus it keeps me excited about the house day in and day out.”
Make Clean-up Easy
This laidback living room is the definition of classic beach cottage style. As one of the main hangouts in a tiny Tybee Island, Georgia, bungalow, it’s an uncomplicated space that favors comfort over fuss.
Take a cue from designer Jane Coslick, who outfitted this home, and try slipcovers in high-trafficked hangouts. Slipcovering furnishings means that clean up is a breeze: just throw them in the wash! White slipcovers are especially versatile, as evidenced by the bevvy of colorful throw pillows here.
Lofty Living Room
Throw pillows are a perfect way to add pattern to a beach house living room, but also consider unexpected treatments. In this Seagrove, Florida, home, the coffee table is covered in Schumacher’s Bohemian Rhapsody fabric, and the border patterned window treatments show off the high ceilings.
Add an element of shimmer by incorporating mirrored pieces, like the console and mercury glass vases that top it.
Keep it Simple
Horizontal shiplap wainscot wraps the walls in this Provincetown, Massachusetts living room, where the homeowners brightened the space by whitewashing the floors and ceiling beams. A tight-back sofa upholstered in a linen-cotton blend anchors the space. "I've always loved this sofa because it's beautiful, but so comfortable I can take a nap on it," says the homeowner.
The designers (Herbert Acevedo and Kevin Miller of Shor Home) kept the fabric patterns in the living room minimal, and put a greater focus on varied textures "so that your eye doesn't bounce all over the place," says Acevedo. Their go-to materials: sisal, linen, and leather.
Go Mid-Century Mod
In this Peter Dunham-designed living room, medium-toned neutrals mix pleasantly with deep tones like pomegranate and teal. The condo’s kitchen island anchors the right side of the room, which Dunham smartly outfitted with built-in shelves for a smooth transition from room to room.
To help maintain uninterrupted beach and ocean views, he chose low-profile pieces like a pair of 1960s-inspired armchairs (upholstered in a muted leaf-pattern linen), along with custom linen sofas, both by Lee Jofa, and a woven wicker ottoman with a leather cushion.
Design your living space to feel the ocean around you. Use mosaic glass in seaside colors to frame the fireplace, and a row of paintings depicting palm fronds against cloud-strewn skies brings the breeze indoors.
Turn flea market finds into treasures. Revamped or completely repurposed, bargain purchases keep the look casual (at left, the rough-hewn oak table was originally a railway pallet used for unloading cargo).
Fire it Up
Make your indoor spaces flow seamlessly with the outdoors. In this modern Malibu, California, escape, the designers used a similar color palette in the living room and porch, and left the soaring sliding doors unencumbered by window treatments to maximize the view.
Go bold with color. This couple had a coral collection that became the basis for the home’s fire-hued scheme.
Make it Easy
It may go against your instinct, but decking your living room seating in light fabric is a great way to keep clean. This Anna Maria Island, Florida, family, just throws their white cotton duck slipcovers in the wash whenever needed.
Add personality by bringing in old architectural elements to your space. Here, a reclaimed sea foam shutter becomes the basis for the throw pillow color palette.
Start with a Two-Tone Base
This Harbour Island, Bahamas, home was in a state of total disrepair when homeowner and local jewelry designer Trish Becker and her husband purchased it in 2008. The couple lovingly restored it with the help of Kiko Sanchez of FGS Design, as well as a team of dedicated local builders.
Homeowner Trish Becker laid a neutral foundation in the living room with white cypress walls, a seagrass rug, and white and natural furnishings. This allows her to bring in color as she pleases, in pillows, throws, and wall art.
Try an Unexpected Color Combo
A cool mint blue lights up the walls of this Montecito, California, living room designed by Massucco Warner Miller. The artful, coral-hued chandelier (it’s made with painted twigs!) and patterned chairs and pillows add whimsy and interest to the traditional tudor space.
Upholstered coffee tables or large ottomans are excellent options for rooms that can benefit from a casual element.
Use Watery Hues
Sea glass-inspired lamps and decorative accessories bring the color of the ocean into this airy, cottage-style living room on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. The pastel greens are echoed in the artwork and throw pillows.
Lighten up interiors with white paint. Designer and homeowner Tiffany McWhorter transformed the previously dark Ponderosa pine walls of her cottage with a glossy white paint, which instantly brightened the rooms. To make the interiors even more beach-friendly, Tiffany’s husband Fred replaced wall-to-wall carpeting with oak floors washed in a weathered gray.
Open Door Policy
To make this Nantucket cottage’s small footprint (1,000 square feet) feel larger and the ceilings seem higher, designer Stephen Theroux brightened the walls, ceiling beams, and trusses with linen-white paint. "Painting the interior, including the architectural elements, made a huge impact," he says. "It was like a night-and-day difference. It now feels clean, airy, and beachy."
Theroux replaced the home’s old, cloudy sliding glass doors with French doors that offer unobstructed views, open the room to the broad waterfront deck, and add cottage charm.
Let your home’s architecture speak for itself. Exposed-board walls and rafters play up this family room’s original charm and unique characteristics. But you can achieve the look in new construction, as well. Consider installing beaded board or wooden planks in lieu of drywall. The quirks and imperfections of natural wood lend texture and interest, even if applied to only one wall or ceiling.
Updated with a fresh coat of paint, salvaged attic vents serve as unexpected art when suspended from the rafters.
Infuse a Nautical Spirit
Every surface in golfer Gred Norman’s Hobe Sound, Florida, beach house, from the floors to the shiplap-paneled walls, is painted white. All that white makes the ocean, which is visible from three sides of the open living space, look even bluer. Navy elements amplify the watery shades and add depth to the airy scheme. "I love blue and white, especially at the beach," says the home’s designer—and Greg’s wife—Kristen. "It's fresh and crisp." Plus, the colors are an ideal complement to the many nautical details throughout the house, which were implemented to reflect the seaside setting and Greg's passion for boating and yacht design.
To make a room feel taller, hang curtains above the windows. The nautical white-and-navy striped curtains in this living room also draw the eye toward the beautiful beach view beyond.
Tie it Together
Let the true character of your home shine through, whether it’s a modern escape or rustic retreat. The bones of this nautical Cape Cod cottage are revealed in its exposed white-washed walls and simple brick fireplace. Sea-worthy elements like a telescope and sea grass accents root the space in its ocean-going heritage.
Make mixed seating look cohesive by incorporating colors among your pieces. Here, alternate piping was used on the glider and sofa, and the wicker accent chair’s blue hue picks up the theme as well.
Nod to Mod
Take the edge off contemporary decor with bold color. Accenting a neutral space with vibrant hues (on doors, art, or upholstery) puts a playful spin on a streamlined look. Give a ceiling an unexpected twist: Add strips of wood to divide it like a grid, then have fun painting a few of the squares.
Fill bowls and tabletops with souvenirs from the sea. These one-of-a-kind natural accents never go out of style.
Use Local Materials
Add a touch of local personality to your space by incorporating natural elements—from right outside your door. The homeowners of this light-filled Maine cottage sent their kids out to gather beach stones, which were then crafted into an inset that frames the firebox.
When you have a killer view like this one, let the light shine in by forgoing window treatments. Then, echo the colors of nature with rugs, throw pillows, and art work.
Connected with Color
Unify an eclectic furniture mix with color. Dressed in soft shades of blue and white, everything in this open space comes together. With swirls of color on top, the oversize custom coffee table anchors the room.
Painted floors don’t just look good; they mask imperfections and are easy to clean. Use oil-based porch and floor enamel in a high-gloss sheen for best results.
Make it Breezy
Evoke the sea with the colors of nature, like this Jacksonville, Florida, family did in their living room. The space has an airy feel thanks to its light blue and green palette, and the weathered boards on the ceiling are reminiscent of a boardwalk to the beach.
Add interest by painting the backs of bookcases a coordinating hue. The white-wrapped books and coral statues pop against the spring-like color.
A New Attitude
Take an unconventional design approach, even with the most traditional architecture. Tropical fabrics and muted wall paints shift this room from stodgy to hip without erasing its charm. Think twice before removing classic woodwork―a fresh coat of paint may be all you need to update your space.
Choose your favorite bold pattern and limit it to one application. Whether on a sofa, wall panel, or drapery, the graphic motif will make a strong statement where you want to see it most.
Connect your living area to the great outdoors with an oversize cased opening. Whether you opt for a sliding tract door or an overhead pull-down, there’s no better (or bigger) way to take in the view.
Skip patterns entirely and stick with solid fabrics if you really want to simplify. If you find a solid scheme a bit too boring, add a patterned rug.
Cover it Up
When mixed seating strikes, white canvas slipcovers make for a pretty and easy-to-clean solution. This Venice Beach, California, home feels extra breezy thanks to the covers and the coral- and neutral-hued elements of the space.
Don’t be afraid to mix styles, as these homeowners did when they paired their modern coffee table and art with the cottage-leaning slipcovered seating.
Update a wood-paneled room with bold design. Rich colors and strong graphic elements paired with modern furniture and accessories bring pizzazz to even the simplest cabin. Soften the all-wood look by covering floors with a rug that stretches almost from wall to wall. Cover windows with light-color Roman shades.
Keep the look interesting by selecting three distinct fabric patterns. As a general guideline, opt for a stripe, a solid, and a coordinating print. Add subtle texture with nubby linens and soft chenilles.
Display favorite items, from books to beach finds, in prominent places on bookshelves or the mantel, like the homeowners of this Maine cottage did in their family room. The cozy sectional, from Wesley Hall, sports a cream trim that adds personality to the space, as does the Dash & Albert rug.
Think outside the box by repurposing pieces to make them work for you. The ottoman in this space started out as a taller table. The legs were trimmed and stained, and a tray was set into the upholstered top to house a floral arrangement that pops against the blue.
Don’t let wet bathing suits or muddy paws put a damper on design. Choose materials such as cotton rugs and sturdy linen slipcovers that can be simply washed or replaced.
Give the ceiling added interest with pressed tin. Whether using salvaged materials or new, easy-to-install tiles, the metal adds instant appeal overhead.
Add character to your living area by thinking in layers rather than limiting your scheme to a single hue. A palette of sea-glass shades brings the beach indoors―even in a landlocked locale. Look for accent paints and fabrics in colors ranging from aqua to deep blue. Don’t stress about overdoing it: White board walls give the eye a place to rest and keep the look cohesive.
Outline your design. Call attention to a room’s architectural elements, such as trim and molding, by painting them a punchy hue. Give upholstered furniture a similar wake-up call with contrasting welting.
Mix and Match
By opting for furniture with simple silhouettes, you can mix pieces with traditional and modern shapes for a living space with fresh appeal. And here, in our Daniel Island Showhouse in South Carolina, styles aren’t the only things that mix. The happy hues of sea foam and yellow pop against the white shiplap walls.
Add a hint of glamour by trying out a few metallic touches. Here, the gold accents in the art by Thomas Swanston over the mantel bring some sparkle to the space. The gold is echoed in the side table, votives, vase, and modern chair legs.
Keep it Real
A living room should reflect your personal style and read as collected rather than decorated. Proudly display family photos, books, and items with sentimental value. Raid your yard or garden for big, gorgeous greenery you can show off inside.
Dress prominent pieces in neutral tones for a look you’ll never tire of. This allows accessories to pop, and you can change them to suit the season.