Photo: Marla and Shane Photographers

Erika Powell of Urban Grace Interiors in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, gets you started with color tips and table tricks.

By Stephanie Gibson

"Salty air and sand beneath your feet have a funny way of keeping life in perspective. I hope that trickles down to my work."
—Erika Powell

If I buy only one new piece for my beach home this season, what should it be?
EP: A porch swing or a hammock! We always had Pawley's Island hammocks growing up. I just bought one, and I love it—there is nothing more relaxing, and quilted fabric ones don't dig into your backside like the rope ones.

How can I include a punch of color and pattern in a noteworthy way in my living room?
EP: Ceilings are always an unexpected place to introduce a color. A painted ceiling won't compete with a peaceful living room, but when you look up, it's an element of surprise that guests won't forget. It's sort of like falling more in love with a purse or a jacket when you discover the beautiful inside lining!

I'm throwing a dinner party at the beach. How do I make it elegant but fresh?
EP: A burlap tablecloth and rattan chargers are understated and pretty. I'd add doses of color with blue or green plates, or patterned dish towels for napkins, and then fill a long platter in the center of the table with something unusual, such as shiny silver bocce balls—I love that they double as an after-dinner game.

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