Have you noticed that interiors are very neutral now? I'm sure there is no way that you couldn't have done. White and Grey are the neutrals of the moment and of course they are very stylish. Scroll through Pinterest and you will see that so many coastal schemes are also now very neutral, but what if you really want to incorporate the colours of the ocean into your decorating scheme? I call this the classic coastal look – one that endures through the vagaries of popular trends.
I have 7 tips for how to achieve a classic coastal scheme below – let me show you how.
1) Keep it relaxed
There is an art to the shabby look that really suits a classic coastal style. The key is to keep it simple with nothing that is too precious or perfect but without it looking cheap and uncared for.
Related: The Art of Shabby
2) The right colour palette
Without doubt white or a soft pale grey are the best choices to use for walls in a coastal look, whilst bringing in colour and warmth with soft furnishings and accessories. Carefully consider which white to use though as you need to create a look that is light and airy but it must be comfortable. If your room has little light and a cool aspect you will need to find a warm soft chalky white. However if you have an abundance of light and warmth you will need a cooler, fresher white. Or you could afford to use a soft grey.
Remember that the trim that you use with grey walls can make a big impact. A fresh white makes the grey look cleaner and fresher, while a trim in the same colour gives a more urban feel to the room.
My view on the classic coastal scheme is that in addition to using the beautiful neutrals of the beach you also should include the colours of the ocean. This sets it apart from a more neutral coastal scheme. There is something about the inclusion of beautiful blues from dark navy through to pale aqua that really says Classic Coastal style.
Related: How to find the right white
3) Use natural fabrics for upholstery, cushions and bedlinen
When it comes to selecting the right fabrics, opt for soft linens and washable cottons. White slip covers are perfect for this type of scheme as they can easily be laundered, maintaining a fresh, clean look. Vintage linens work well as the older they get, the softer they become. You can also consider using a linen mix fabric that has some polyester to stand up to wear and tear. The fabrics to avoid for the coastal look are velvets, satins and man-made fabrics that have a shiny appearance.
4) Keep it Natural
Timber is a great addition to a coastal scheme, in fact it really should be included in at least one guise, ideally in a few. Weathered finishes, limewashed timbers, reclaimed timbers and natural stone are ideal for a coastal look. Even white painted timber or bricks look great as you still have that natural look.
Related: Painting bricks white
5) Employ layers of different textures
Use plenty of rugs to zone areas and to introduce layers over stone and timber floors. Rugs made from wool, hemp and sisal are ideal in this setting with designs that are textured rather than plain suiting the look best. Avoid the traditional three piece seating solutions and use rattan chairs partnered with soft, squidgy sofas. Remember that pieces don’t have to match, they just need to comfortably sit alongside each other. The last thing you want in a classic coastal scheme is formality!
Related: How to select the right rug
Finishing touches will really help to complete the story of a scheme. Without these the room is not complete. Employ hurricane lamps and groups of candles to set the scene and remember that groupings of odd numbers work the best. Oversized rattan trays that conjure up long lunches and afternoon teas with piles of interesting magazines and books to help while away the hours. Soft, comfortable cushions to curl up against and tactile throws to add warmth and interest will complete the picture.
Remember that a classic coastal look shouldn't look too perfect – you can also have a bit of fun with a look like this, so if you want to introduce a classic coastal piece – a pair of oars, a surfboard or a lifesaving ring – feel free to.
Related: A Coastal Style Vignette
7) Finally, the ambient temperature
Don’t forget to plan for all seasons so that your coastal home is comfortable all year round. I actually love being by the coast in the middle of winter, so open fires are a must to create a really inviting look, whilst large doors that can be opened up for the summer months are crucial. Don't forget to set the mood outside too – a fire pit is a great way to make use of the outdoors all year round.
I have lots of ideas and inspiration on my Pinterest page and it would be great to hear your decorating problems in the comments section below and whether you are planning a coastal style look for your home. Do you love using the classic blues in your coastal scheme or do you prefer a more pared back neutral look?
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