Styling a Coastal Interior

Coastal style will always be one of the most popular looks in Australia.  Other styles come and go, but this one is enduring.  Styling a coastal interior though needs updating from time to time, so I thought I would write about how to achieve a modern coastal look by simply adding some updated styling items.

My most important piece of advice to convey is that you shouldn't fill your home with all traditional coastal accessories.  If you go overboard with coral, seashells, driftwood and pebbles, the look becomes contrived and just simply too much.

Carefully consider the pieces that you really love and then introduce them with other accessories.  I have some tips below to guide you.

This post may contain some affiliate links.  If you click on these and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.  This in no way impacts the price that you will pay.

How to convey a coastal interior mood

Coastal homes are synonymous with holidays and relaxation.  Therefore you should consider what you love about a coastal hotel or Air BnB?  My guess is that it would include comfortable sofas and chairs with layers of cushions and throws.  Think about comfort, not just in the height of summer, but also in the winter months when you want to curl up by a fire.

Styling a coastal interior

Varying textures and layers provide this look.  So ensure that you have comfortable throws in chunky weaves with tactile cushions to convey a relaxed and comfortable vibe.

Add some books

A coastal home shouldn't be too sterile.  Remember, that a holiday vibe calls for interesting things to read, close to hand.  Therefore decorate with interesting coffee table books to add to the holiday feel.  Add to the styling with some book toppers.

Styling for coastal interiors
Harlowe James

Related:  Styling with books

Introduce some natural coral

Coral has to be my favourite traditional coastal accessory.  I love it because it is so textural and each piece is different.  Pieces of coral are great as part of a coastal vignette for a coffee table, or used as a topper for a pile of coffee table books.

Texture is very important in a coastal scheme as the colours are often fairly neutral with lots of fresh white.  This can become bland and one dimensional, so accessories that bring lots of lovely texture to the look are crucial to its success.

The vignette below is perfect with a great mix of textures.  Natural coral with glass and metal atop a rattan coffee table.  The sofa with a chunky throw and lots of lovely cushions adds to the level of comfort and appeal in the space.


Styling for coastal interiors
Mayflower House

Add some greenery

Without some greenery, I feel a space is lacking.  Indoor plants and natural greenery are not only fabulous to look at, they are good for you too.  Look for containers that are tactile and earthy to introduce another dimension to a coastal scheme.  Not everything in this look has to be white and light!

Styling coastal interiors
Jonas Hurricane Lamp

Related: How to incorporate the greenery trend

Take time to lay the table

I love to set the dining table when I am entertaining.  It immediately evokes a feeling of bonhomie and relaxation as there is little better than a long lunch with friends.  With a coastal style in mind, use accents of rattan with hurricane lamps and lots of greenery.

Styling a Coastal Interior


Styling a Coastal Interior

Related: The Rattan trend – how to incorporate it into your home

Use lots of baskets

Whether you are off to the beach, having a picnic or visiting the local farmer's market, a basket is always handy.  The benefit of them too is that as they are so synonymous with holidays they are perfect for a coastal style home.

Styling a coastal interior

Related: How to style with baskets

Use layers of lighting

This piece of advice applies to every room in any given style you can imagine.  If you get the lighting wrong, then nothing can save the room.  Don't rely on just overhead lighting, even if you can dim these.  You should also include some table lamps and floor lamps for accent lighting, if you have the space.

Styling a Coastal Interior
Bronte white lamp

Fresh white is great for a coastal style, either with a white background or a soft grey.

Related: How to choose table lamps

Feature pendants can change the look of the room and can easily be updated.  Rattan pendants evoke a sense of laid back style and are perfect for a coastal look.

Styling a coastal interior
Pure Salt Interiors

Related: How to choose kitchen pendants

Finally, don't forget to consider your colour palette when you are styling a coastal scheme.  As coastal interiors rely heavily on layers of texture, you can't go wrong with a classic neutral palette.

Styling a Coastal Interior

Even with texture in the scheme, it is always a good idea to include some tonal contrast.  Just a couple of dark accents with fresh whites and neutrals can prevent the colour scheme from being too one dimensional.  Remember too, that most interior schemes are complete with a touch of natural greenery.

Related: Tonal contrasts in interiors

Styling a Coastal Interior


I have lots of other posts about coastal style.  If you love this look, then you should start with Australian Coastal Style – 7 steps to achieve this look.

I can't stress enough how important it is to put together a mood board when you are planning a decorating scheme.  I have a free e-book in my Free Resource Library showing you how to create one.  You can download it here.

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