The Complete Guide to Beach Décor

Beachfront property

The main objective of creating a beach-themed room is to mimic those cool and carefree vibes you would typically experience during vacations on a beach. The trick is to make use of as many softer, lighter tones as possible because they evoke the natural aesthetics of the beach.

To mimic the beach theme, interior décor experts have come up with a coterie of rules – the ceilings must be blue, the furniture must be nautical-inspired, the list goes on – and on.

But if you take a look at some of the most stunning beach-themed spaces, what becomes apparent is that many – if not all – of these so-called ‘décor rules’ are scuttled in favor of a more hands-free approach.

In other words, how you approach this project is entirely up to you.

So what is the beach décor all about and how do you bring it into your home with ease?

A cursory look at the nautical theme reveals the following core features:

  • Use of blue stripes (whenever or wherever possible)
  • Organic decorating textures like jute, rattan, driftwood, and sisal
  • Sandy neutrals
  • Linen upholstery
  • Lots of natural light (if possible)

Strategically arranging natural shades will help you get one step closer to a nautical-themed room. Next, throw in some marine-themed décor pieces – such as 3D globes, beach chandeliers, nautical lamps, and coastal lanterns – to tie everything together.

Pro tip: Tinker around with coastal-themed items to refresh your room. This essentially gives you endless decoration options (but if you’re not careful, you may end up adding too much clutter to the space).

In this guide, we’ll cover the essential ‘rules’ of mimicking the beach (but remember, rules are meant to be broken!).

Taking Advantage of Natural Light

Natural lighting in living spaces.

If there is one thing you need inside a beach room, it’s abundant natural light. Beach-themed decor should never feel cramped or dim, but rather, light, airy, and open. You want to seamlessly blend the indoors with the outdoors.

So you’ll want to go with large glass doors, skylights, and generously sized windows. You can either take a minimalist approach to window treatments, or lean into coastal-themed motifs (you know, with pictures of anchors, boats, and seashells on them).

Our recommendation is to maximize the presence of natural light in your room – so try not to go overboard with busy motifs.

Install Beach Themed Light Fixtures

While it’s not always possible to bring a beautiful view of an oceanside sunrise or sunset into your home, it is still possible to recreate the beautiful lighting with its peaceful glow.

With beach-themed décor, opt for light fixtures fashioned out of natural materials such as rope, netting, and other loosely woven textures.

This will add to an undeniably beachy spirit. Common lighting placements for beach hanging lights include chandeliers over kitchen islands, chandeliers over dining tables, and lanterns in hallways and foyers.

Other common beach lighting options include shell ceiling chandeliers and blue glass pendant lights that recreate a casual look while evoking images of gentle ocean breezes.

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Deep blue lights, in particular, can conjure up images of soft lapping waves – a sure-fire way of creating a space that is both soothing and styling.

You can also pick more portable options (such as floor lamps) because they brighten up your space without bothering you with permanent installations.

Like beach-themed chandeliers, floor lamps can also incorporate woven textures such as rope and shells to spruce up space and add that trendy, boho appeal that is so important in beach-themed decor.

For the bathroom, you can opt for beach-themed vanity lights that illuminate when you’re doing important tasks such as styling your hair or apply sunscreen.

Pro tip: Don’t forget the outdoor area. You can add coastal touches to improve the cohesion of beach home aesthetics. Beach wall lights are a perfect solution for exterior spaces since they require task lighting for visibility.

Layering with Natural Textures

Straw roof with exposed beams.

To create a relaxed beach vibe, it’s best to take advantage of natural textures. This comes in the form of furniture that is made out of sisal, driftwood, rope, wicker, and weathered wood. It’s always a good idea to buy rugs woven out of straw, jute, or seagrass as a layering option.

Make sure the upholstery is muted and devoid of any flashy colors. Try to steer clear of metallic textures, and instead, get as many natural materials as you can.

Natural wood works best for beach-themed rooms. Most interior designers recommend cane furniture. Cane furniture is woven from naturally weatherproof material and best mimics the coastal vibes.

Pro tip: You can easily invite all spectrums of blue in your room with affordable throw rugs and throw pillows.

Remember, it’s not so much about matching your hues as it is about filling the room up with all kinds of blues – from tidal blue to deep green and everything in between. Just make sure to avoid clutter at all costs. Clutter is bad, but some of the chicest rooms are chock full of stuff.

Caution: Don’t Carpet the Floor

We don’t often see carpeted floors in beach interior designs. Instead, it’s best to layer bare wood floors with area rugs. This will create an excellent care-free environment that does not stain and is easy to clean.

Leveraging Splashes of White for Serenity

White themed room with plant

It’s easy to picture a bold blue palette when you think of the beach, but a white interior is usually better. White is more closer to neutral colors, which do not overwhelm an occupant and make the space feel airier.

As we mentioned earlier, you should take advantage of natural light if possible – and a white palette would go a long way in complementing that.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t pair white with an accent color. But it’s best to keep it soft (the walls shouldn’t feature bold colors).  Examples of accent colors include all spectrums of neutrals, such as blue light greens, blues, and greys.

You can fine-tune this palette based on your taste: crisp whites and light blues for a coastal-like vibe, green and warm whites for an exotic coastal style, or a sky blue with bright white for a French coastal style.

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Two-Tone Walls

Two-toned walls are the quintessential palette in beach-themed interior decorations. Light blue and white, turquoise and seafoam are just a few shades you can use.

You can skimp out on the blue altogether if you’re not a big fan. Instead, a pale shade of sand, pink, and white can get the job done just as easily.

With that said, there are many ways of creating a stylish two-tone wall.

For starters, you can paint the walls in two distinct colors that are clearly contrasting each other. Or, you could wallpaper the upper half and paint the lower half. Alternatively, you can add nautical wall panels to the lower half of the wall. The choice is entirely up to you.

Pro tip: if you decide to paint the walls, use painter’s tape to establish a distinct boundary line to distinguish the two.

Beach Designs Encourage Open Layouts

Living room with open layout.

It should come as no surprise that the beach-themed decor prioritizes natural light, which favors an open plan layout with free airflow.

The goal is to mimic the breezy and airy atmosphere of the beach room. To this end, you may have to restructure or remove borders. This will ensure that one room seamlessly blends in with another, especially in an open-plan dining and living room.

Here is a quick guide on open floor layouts that work just as well for beach-themed décor.

Invite Florals and Foliage

Interior of a bedroom with ceiling plants.

There’s nothing more beachy than channeling botanical vibes into your room. All you need are a few plants to do the trick. The best plants that play up the beach look are:

  • Thatch palm
  • Fiddle leaf fig
  • Little Gem Magnolia
  • Rosemary

For a beachy look, it is best to style plants in clusters of four or more, ranging in sizes and heights. Keep smaller pots at the front and the large ones at the back.

The reason why we use fiddle leaf fig trees is because they spruce up the dullest looking corners and entryways.

Try hanging baskets of plants from the ceiling while the larger pots inject the beachy jungle vibes into your space.

Pro tip: Pick botanicals that have a similar spectrum of colors. For example, green goes best with green, and grey goes best with grey.

Beach Interior Design Ideas By Room

i) Bathroom

Smaller spaces, such as bathrooms, require a bit more restraint since they get cluttered too quickly. Avoid going overboard with too many beach-themed accessories, but choose more seaside elements such as shells and rustic ship wheels.

A key advantage of decorating the bathroom is that you can utilize the wall as part of the design more easily than with a larger room.

Pro tip: Use loose curtains and blinds in the same room to add the finishing touches to a harmonious beach-themed room.

When creating the beach aesthetic, it’s important to consider what will work best for the position and shape of each window, rather than to ensure your entire room has matching window treatments. For best results use the same shade of window treatment to create a more uniform look.

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ii) Bedroom

The bedroom is your refuge from the world: it’s a calm place where you can rest to relax and rejuvenate. This is why cool beachy colors are a perfect match for bedrooms.

You want to avoid busy motifs and bright tones – instead, stick with whites and pastel neutrals that add plenty of color without overwhelming your eyes too much.

You can also use darker accents such as hunter green and deep blue as well, but for the most serene vibes, you should mostly in soft neutrals and white.

Choose white-colored linens with high thread count sheets and accent the bedding with white or blue patterned throw pillows. If you do decide to go with white-colored bedding, layer it up with a headboard that features striped colors for more balance.

If you want to add more colors, opt for angled rugs to add a sense of play and style. To complete the bedroom, select a rattan chair and place it by a window to create the ideal reading corner with lots of natural lighting.

Dining Room

Dining room with enormous view of the ocean.

A rattan wood table is a chic addition to any beach-themed kitchen or dining room. A beach-themed look beckons driftwood. But if your kitchen already has a wooden table, you can try sanding off the existing paint job for a rougher finish. Next, pair your table with white upholstered slip chairs.

White, blue, or grey cabinets with silverware look stunning in beach-themed kitchens, especially when they are paired with white tiles. If you opt for white cabinets, invite more color with blue backsplash pulls and handles.

Pro tip: Tie everything together with a hanging light fixture, something like a chandelier should do the trick.

Living Room

The living room will be a busy place with a lot of foot traffic. This is also where you’ll be spending the bulk of your time. So if there’s a room that needs the most ‘serene vibes’, it’s the living room.

The best colors for the living room are sand tones, soothing blues, and ultra-bright whites.

It’s best to paint the floors white because they will make the room appear larger and brighter. To break up the monotony of the all-white palette, simply add more rattan chairs. These chairs will provide your room with all the texture you need.

You can also opt for blue accents (such as blue-colored throw pillows and cushions).

For the curtains, choose bright white shades. However, if you must block outside light, consider opting for white wooden blinds. To finish things off, opt for a coffee table fashioned out of driftwood. This will complete the living room: it’s both functional and artistic.

Wrapping Up

Layering is an essential component of the beach décor, but don’t layer them to the point of kitsch. Keep the patterns to a minimum. Find your decorating style and give it enough time to evolve into one that reflects your true personality.