Style File: Coastal Decor

August 11, 2016 Updated: August 15, 2016

Style File explores the breezy, beachy world of coastal interior decor. Coastal is a real feel-good style that finds its anchors (pun very much intended) in nautical elements, along with colours that are reminiscent of sand, water, and sky.

Coastal is a look that loves light. While this is a comment on the colour palette that is typically found, we also mean light in the natural sense. This is a style that demands wide open windows and tons of natural light in order to feel authentic. Even if you’re completely landlocked, you still want your coastal home to feel like it is beachfront property and introducing lots of natural light is the best way to make that happen.

This is a style that demands wide open windows and tons of natural light in order to feel authentic.

If you want to feel like you’ve indulged in a glorious beach vacation every time you walk through the door, then coastal might be the style for you!

The Different Components of Coastal Style


Paint Source: CIL Paint
Paint Source: CIL Paint

The Colours

Differentiating from the saturated primary colours that have come to be associated with classic nautical decor, coastal style is all about crisp whites, sandy tans, vibrant turquoise, and leafy greens. White is definitely the hero here, generally splashed onto walls, slip-covering couches, and fluttering softly from windows.


Coastal style is not fussy. It doesn’t do feminine ruffles or vintage lace. The textiles here are no-nonsense and crisp. You’ll see lots of linen and cotton, used in slipcovers and rugs, table linens, and throw pillows.

Some fans of coastal style enjoy natural fibers like sisal and sea grass, to add texture and a greater interplay with nature into the décor. These fibers can be used in baskets, rugs, and even furniture.

A crisp white cotton sofa with colourful pillows overlooks the ocean.  (mariapogony/iStock)
A crisp white cotton sofa with colourful pillows complements a turquoise ocean view beautifully. (mariapogony/iStock)


The best way to envision coastal décor’s furniture style is by picturing a fat, fluffy Ektorp sofa covered in a charmingly rumpled ecru or bright white slip cover. Now add a snuggly blue throw blanket over one arm and dive in for a nap.

As far as hard surfaces go, tables, storage pieces, and chairs that are white, whitewashed, or natural wood are commonly seen, as are shabby chic items that look like they may have been part of a shipwreck that washed ashore

Wall Textures

If you really love coastal then you might want to go beyond paint if you want to get an authentic look. Plank walls painted white or board and batten can go a long way toward giving you that beachy, seaside vibe.

In a coastal bathroom, try accent tiles that mimic sea glass or a subway tile that incorporates coastal colours.

Blue and white accents provide a nautical theme on an entryway table. (nedjelly/iStock)
Blue and white accents lend a nautical theme to this entryway table. (nedjelly/iStock)

Decor Pieces

As you can imagine, seaside bits are big business here! Anchors, seahorses, starfish and seashells, oars, lifesavers, and sand all make their way into coastal décor. The key to creating a coastal interior that’s more class and less kitsch is to incorporate a strategic smattering of those iconic nautical pieces, rather than an overwhelming homage to all things seashell and sailboat.

Need Professional Help?  

Love the look of coastal décor, but aren’t quite sure how to put it all together? Take a look through our listings of local, professional interior designers, here on They can help you incorporate just the right touch of seaside flair to a room or throughout your home!

Darla Grant-Braid is the Social Media and Content Manager for

Article originally published by EiEi Home Inc. For more information on articles, reviews, and contractors in your area, please see their website at