Life’s a Beach, Why Not Live Like It?

From a sophisticated nautical style to a whimsical beachfront theme, coastal designs are as popular as ever. In fact, they seem to stand the test of time.

William W. Stubbs, RID, ASID, IIDA with William W. Stubbs & Associates says, “The coast—in some way—reminds most people of vacation, recreation and relaxation. Whether it’s the balmy breeze of Florida or the seafaring tradition of Maine, it’s a place of fond memories for many and a place, even more, people aspire to.”

Regardless of what calls people to the water, there are a number of things to consider when designing a coastal home—some of which are fun and exciting, others which are all too often overlooked.

Award-winning creative director for The Design Firm, Kara Wuellner, ASID, shares, “Furnishing a home in the salt air is completely different, and choices can be very limiting. You often have to start with the pieces that have minimal options and then design around those elements.”

What Kara is referring to is the salt-driven rust and corrosion that can destroy typical furniture and furnishings. Effectively, this eliminates the use of metal— both inside and outside—completely. In addition, she advises that if you are lucky enough to own a vacation home on the water, friends and family will come often and in large numbers. Planning your spaces with ample areas to entertain is critical.

Coastal design can be fun, inspiring and as dramatic as any. However, creating both a high impact and functional design for the coast requires some additional forethought. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

The Hard Truth

Given the harshness of the salt air, make sure to stay away from metal. Since you’ll likely have windows and doors open quite often, this goes for the inside too. Stick to wood—and even plastics—to ensure the longevity of your furnishings.

Keep It Real

Make a statement by finding that authentic focal piece that is reminiscent of the geography. Perhaps a genuine, vintage porthole or an oversized piece of coral can become the centerpiece of inspiration for the design.

Cheers to That

Get ready to entertain! Who doesn’t want to visit a beach house? Plan on multiple areas for seating, outdoor dishware and flatware, and even extra spaces dedicated to serving and catering.

Fifty Shades of Blue

Coastal design is inspired by water. So, no surprise—blue plays a critical role. The good news is that there are countless blues to choose from, some that have green and yellow undertones and others that lean toward the pink and purple side of the color wheel. Even if it isn’t the primary color, blue can be brought into almost any palette.

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