Whether you live in a condo with a water view or a multi-million-dollar beach house, there is an ever-present temptation to overdo nautical or other beach-related décor.
Wicker, white and blue ― if this describes any element in any room in your waterfront condo, you’re living a cliché, according to Phoebe Howard, with Mrs. Howard and Max & Company.
She tells Coastal Living magazine that there’s nothing wrong with “coastal touches” in your design scheme but keep them subtle.
Place “an antique sailor’s valentine over a bed, a sea star that hides amid the swirled pattern of a throw pillow. The result is a home with . . . trappings that accent, rather than exploit,” the views out the windows.
If you love the coastal look but have grown tired of your home feeling like an airbnb or VRBO tourist rental, consider a more natural, neutral beachy look.
If you’re new to beach living, it’s easy to go overboard in a coastal decorating theme. Remember Howard’s words above and resist the cliché.
Instead, find subtle ways to work the coastal look into the home’s decor and one of the best is through your choice of fabrics.
From bedspreads to sofa and chair upholstery, eschew the bold floral prints for a solid, neutral color and use lightweight or nubby fabrics, such as anything linen-like. Then, go bright and bold on the accent pillows and artwork.
The heavy, dark woods are stunning in Mediterranean and neoclassic design schemes but they don’t offer the breezy feel you should aim for in your coastal décor. Homeowners seem to instinctively understand this and typically opt for bamboo or rattan.
Although lovely choices, they are best suited to furnish patios or sunrooms. Using them in the living areas makes it looks as if you’ve brought your outdoor furniture indoors.
Between the two extremes lies weathered dark wood, or even pine or maple, especially when upholstered with a cotton/linen blend fabric. Yes, it’s subtle, so use your accessories to add in the bolder colors.
An example of this is a sea-glass green for sofa throw pillows or, take a tip from the pros at Coastal Living and “use a color wheel: hues that sit opposite each other on the sphere, like purple and orange and pink and minty green, are guaranteed to look pretty when paired.”
If you decide you must have rattan, cover the upholstery with something nubby, such as burlap or linen. Get ideas for some heavily textured fabrics at etsy.com, perennialsfabrics.com and vintagefashionguild.org.
As with any décor scheme, your aim should be to get the message across without clubbing visitors over the head with it. So, choose your colors carefully.
Tone down the typical coastal décor palette by taking a cue from the view. Consider neutral colors that you can pluck from the scene right outside the window: seaweed, sand, driftwood.
Keep in mind, however that “if not done right this look can seem plain and boring,” warn the experts at JustDecorate. Be mindful of the balance required between the dark and light neutral colors and keep the darkest colors in your accents.
Layer in a variety of textures as well, such as plumes of dune grass in striking vases, a sisal rug and woven roman shades.
Whether you’re decorating your new home or just looking for a fresh approach to the typical coastal decorating scheme, you’ll find all the inspiration you need right outside your window.
Wendy Mundy Realtor
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