How to Get the Modern Classic Coastal Look for Your Home

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Updated November 16, 2023

What is Coastal Style?

Coastal style is an interior design approach that aims to evoke the serene style and feeling of being near the coast. This design concept relies on three key elements: a curated color palette, the use of specific materials, and the incorporation of subtle details

When we remodeled, I knew I wanted to incorporate more of a modern coastal home. My eye always gravitates to casual spaces that feel serene and calming, just like the feeling you get when you’re lying on the beach. With our busy lives, we need our home to feel like a sanctuary. I have learned some tricks to incorporating this feel into our everyday spaces to give off the same vibe. This is not the bright, beach house themed type of space. That vibe certainly has its place in decor, but for our family, we long for that feeling of calm, laid back coastal decor in order to make our home a place to escape the busyness of life.

Modern coastal style is about creating an atmosphere that transports you to the coast without overtly resorting to beach clichés, and this modern interpretation of coastal style offers a timeless and tranquil aesthetic that can transform any home into a coastal haven.

modern coastal home style

How to Make the Style Timeless

When looking to achieve a timeless and classic coastal style, maintaining a neutral color palette with accents of color is important. This palette, which often includes crisp whites, soft blues, sandy beiges, and subtle grays, serves as a timeless backdrop resembling coastal landscapes. As you can see here, bright colors are kept to a minimum. While these neutral hues form the foundation, using accent colors sparingly can infuse freshness into the design.

Clean lines are another way to incorporate classic coastal aesthetic. Be sure to avoid overly ornate or intricate designs, and focus on clean and simple. Go for furniture and decor pieces with sleek, streamlined profiles to create an enduring and elegant look.

Incorporate natural textures subtly to achieve that timeless coastal style. Don’t overwhelm the space with an abundance of wicker furniture, but instead consider using a woven accent piece or natural fiber rug. These subtle touches of texture can add depth and warmth to the overall decor without overshadowing the modern coastal interior design.

When creating a classic and timeless coastal style, adhering to a neutral color palette with well-placed accent colors, emphasizing clean lines in your design choices, and subtly integrating natural textures is the way to go. If you are looking for some ideas, here are some more on how to create a timeless coastal home.

coastal design styling

Keep it Light

One of the things that distinguishes coastal decor from more traditional is the use of light-colored woods throughout. For example, more natural finishes or whitewashed finishes for main furniture pieces will certainly give off a more coastal style than more dark-stained wood. Throwing in a pop of white or lightly-washed wood floors really accentuates the coastal vibe. You can still have flexibility in going for more gray, driftwood type stains, or keeping with more warm, natural finishes.

Maximize natural light in your modern coastal home by using large windows, glass doors, and strategically placed mirrors to reflect sunlight. Light, airy spaces helps to enhance the coastal ambiance, creating a welcoming and refreshing atmosphere.

Consider pendant lights as these fixtures add a touch of charm while maintaining a contemporary aesthetic. Soft, diffuse lighting complements the coastal ambiance, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere in your living spaces.

For floors, white oak is certainly on trend and is very coastal. Another option is to go with darker flooring with some gray undertones. The contrast of light wood and bright whites works well with this flooring, and it can be reminiscent of driftwood. Even if you have darker flooring, using a lot of lighter colors and wood tones with it can capture coastal style beautifully.

natural light windows with curtains

Use Blues & Neutrals

It goes without saying that seeing the color blue definitely gives off a coastal vibe. Whiter it be a baby blue or utilizing deep blues, combining blue and white is a classic color combination that has been used in home decor for decades. When you think of the ocean, you can immediately envision coastal colors. Keeping with that scheme of blues and greens in home decor helps to recreate the serene feeling that you feel when you are at the beach. There is still a lot of flexibility with this color palette. You can add more tans and creams to create a warmer space . Gray is also a great neutral color that feels serene if you prefer to keep a cooler-toned palette.

Adding white is a great way to just keep the space bright and open. It can be a great color choice for walls, furniture, decorative objects, lighting and trims. Bright white shiplap is a coastal decor staple that has been on trend for a while now and it immediately adds a coastal feeling to any space. Using neutral tones and whites are great for furniture and walls, and adding color in smaller pieces like pillows, coffee table decor, or shelf decor will give you long term flexibility if you decide to go a different direction. Changing the smaller pieces can also be a way to make your space feel coastal on a budget.

modern coastal kitchen style

Vary Textures

Coastal textures can include wicker, caning, bamboo, etc. Basically, these are natural materials to coastal environments, and using them throughout decor helps to incorporate that being at the beach feeling. You can use these natural elements in different furniture pieces like accent chairs, bookcases and tables. And, you can take this even further in elements like lighting and decorative objects. Think beaded chandeliers, decorative trays, baskets, vases, etc.

Incorporating a variety of these textures will definitely help to capture a coastal vibe. A few pieces of coral or sea fan sprinkled in here and there can also vary texture and create an immediate seaside feeling. The same goes for palm leaves. They add a textural element and automatically makes a space feel coastal.

shelf style for modern coastal design

How to Create Flow from Room to Room

It is essential to prioritize cohesiveness when creating a flow from room to room. This will give your home a modern feel. One fundamental aspect of this is maintaining a unified color palette. Staying within the same color scheme creates a seamless flow between rooms.

Be consistent with your choice of metals as this also plays an important role in crafting a modern coastal home. While it’s acceptable to mix metals, it’s essential to do so with a sense of purpose and uniformity. For example, if you decide on black hinges, be consistent throughout your home. Similarly, if brass light fixtures are your preference, maintain this consistency. This practice reinforces the sense of unity.

Don’t underestimate the significance of infusing interest into smaller spaces like stair landings or corridors. These areas often serve as overlooked transitional zones. However, by applying design principles and creative ideas, they can become focal points within your home.

modern coastal bathroom design

Less is More for Coastal Touches

Achieve an elevated ambiance by incorporating a select few coastal accents with modern classic pieces. For instance, place a single piece of coral atop a stack of coffee table books or use palm branches in a stylish vase. This approach merges coastal aesthetic with timeless modern classic and overall elevates the vibe of your modern coastal home to create a sophisticated and inviting atmosphere.

Using these design principles will help you achieve that laid back feeling that exemplifies life on the coast. With just a few touches your home can feel like a serene retreat, a breath of fresh air at the end of a busy day.

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