Can Black Be Used In Coastal Decor?

When you think about coastal décor, many people picture the same traditional ‘beachy’ color combinations, usually involving shades of blues and sandy whites. Paging through décor magazines or scrolling through interior design websites can sometimes feel like all you see are variations on the same. But what if you want a beach house that stands out and reflects you and is modern, glamorous, and elegant – are you wondering if black can be used in coastal décor?

Modern coastal décor has moved away from the nautical feel of traditional blue and white and switched to a more modern, sleek look. Black is a powerful neutral tone that lends an air of minimalism to coastal decor. Pair black with softer neutrals and lighten it with white elements.

It’s time to update the coastal look – gone are the days when you decorated a beach house with blue and white rugs and sofas, decorated with stripes, anchors, and buoys, and made your beach house look like a coastal theme park. Today’s take on coastal décor offers a far more nuanced approach and brings a fresh breath of elegance to a sometimes tired look. If you’ve wondered how to decorate your beach house while still having a luxurious and refined décor, then let’s talk about using black in your color scheme.

Can Black be Used in Coastal Décor?

The answer to this is definitely yes, and if you’re eager for a more refined beach look, I’d recommend looking at the different ways you can incorporate black into your coastal aesthetic.

Black is a compelling, grounding shade, and the biggest worry most people have when using it is that the darkness will be too heavy and give their rooms a drab, miserable feeling.

Worrying about how to use black is a valid concern. What you pair black with and how much of your furnishing is black are essential factors to consider. We’ll look at how to introduce black into your color scheme and ways to keep it light and elegant while conveying breezy, casual beach house calm.

Traditionally, monochrome décor has exuded a feeling of sophistication and glamour. Black and white are often used to give a room a sense of clean, crisp harmony and are associated with a more minimalist look. These striking elements are used in a coastal home when repainting and decorating a beach house to give it a modern, refined appearance.

How To Use Black in Coastal Décor

You’re keen on using black in your coastal décor, but perhaps you’re wondering how to use it without letting it overwhelm your décor and leave a room feeling drab and lifeless. The easiest way to balance black is by pairing it with a lot of white. White is a fantastic color for a beach house as it naturally gives you that open, crisp feeling.

Using white or other pale neutrals, and adding black in smaller focal areas will help keep the aesthetic balanced and inviting. Generally, most people prefer to keep a beach house looking soft, casual, and relaxed – the perfect place to retreat from the world. Usually, we use soft and inviting colors, like greens, blues, and beachy, sandy neutrals.

Adding black to your palette introduces some modern sophistication to the look. Easy ways to do this include adding strong focal elements in black and building the room’s colors around this in softer tones.

For example, you could ground your decor using a large black and white striped rug and pair this with a white sofa and pale wicker furniture. Add a few focal elements like scatter cushions in a black and white print, keep your walls off-white, and create a modern take on the coastal look.

If you prefer a breezy, uncluttered look for your beach house, I recommend a lot of white to balance the black and to keep black for a few significant décor elements.

Modern Coastal Décor Using Black Accents

Every room and house is different, so you must consider the focal element that would work best in black. I’ve seen beach houses that utilized elements like a dark floor and balanced that by using white rugs, walls and curtains, but tied it together with a black sofa and black and white nautical prints.

Black touches can be as small as picture frame trims, a few stripes, curtain rails, handles, and decorative knick-knacks, or more impressive such as sofas, tables, and bookcases. If you’re uncertain about making a significant change like a black coffee table or sofa, start with some subtle touches and see how they change the feel of your room.

One easy and relatively inexpensive way to update a tired nautical look is to change the slipcovers on your cushions. Swap out the old prints for some fresh monochrome looks. Go for a subtle touch with these striped and textured covers, a modern, punchy look with these faux leather covers, or keep it beachy and whimsical with some delicate starfish prints.

Whatever look you choose, tie it together with a few small decorative items that echo those themes. This black wooden chain link adds a good textural touch if your décor is softer and more bohemian. A more modern look pairs well with this black glass knot, while this quirky starfish print in a black wood frame differs from the usual coastal prints.

Black and White Coastal Wall Paint

If you’re more interested in a significant change, you might want to repaint your walls. Consider the shape of your room and windows and how to keep it feeling light. For most people, keeping the walls and ceiling in pale neutral shades, whites, or off-whites, will help balance more prominent black décor elements.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t go big with a charcoal focal wall and a large geometric grey print to offset the white like this stunning coastal bedroom. Black doesn’t have to be a harsh color. Black paint, like white, comes in softer, warmer tones that can give you the punch of black but still make a room feel cozy rather than oppressive. Black is excellent for making dramatic, bold statements, and a focal wall is a fantastic way to bring some black into your coastal décor.

A lovely soft off-black paint that works well in many color schemes is the classic and beloved Farrow & Ball Off-Black no. 57.

If you prefer a more glossy, modern look like this dramatic beachfront New England home, look for paints like Benjamin Moore’s Jet Black, which has deep indigo tones that create a rich, chic look.

Use black trims like curtain rails, black iron chair legs, or black picture frames to reflect and balance the use of a black focal wall.

Using Black Furniture in Coastal Décor

Another way to bring black into your color scheme is to use black in your larger furniture items. A black sofa with white or geometric print cushions makes a bold statement, while coffee and side tables in black are also good ways to incorporate black.

Remember that overall you want to keep a feeling of calm and balance, so stick to only one or two large pieces in black. If you want a more impactful look, you can use bold furniture choices and offset them with striking black and white art or large black sculptural elements. You will know what style suits your personality, and you will want your coastal home to reflect who you are.

If you prefer to keep the black furniture more subtle, look for natural textures with black accents, like a wooden table or barstools with black cast-iron legs. Black free-standing lamps are an excellent way to add black furniture in a very understated and elegant way, and these can be matched to your light fittings for a better sense of flow.

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Using Black and White Flooring in Coastal Décor

One of the most traditional beach house floorings is wooden floorboards. You can leave wood floors in a natural color state or enhance them with a stain and use black and white rugs over them to add a monochrome effect. Rugs are an excellent way to update a look at a low cost, so look for monochrome rugs that will match your current décor to add black into the color scheme subtly.

Painted wooden floors are a fun way to vamp up old wood flooring, and while painting them white seems like the best idea, black-painted wooden flooring is a bold statement. Using a black floor can give your décor a crisp, modern feel and add a sense of depth and richness to a room.

Using tiles is one way to bring black and white into your coastal flooring, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Look for cool, modern designs that add depth to your chosen style. Tiles can make a room feel contemporary and slick or more natural and welcoming, so choose a print that works with your furniture. You can echo tile elements with small touches like door handles and light fittings.

Balance Black in Coastal Decor with Natural Textures

To keep your black and white décor looking coastal, balance it with natural fabrics and textures that you associate with a beach house. Jute and sisal rugs add soft, natural colors while bringing in some interesting textures, and as we know, different textures bring your décor to life.

Use wicker furniture in pale shades to contrast with darker walls or floor, and bring in other natural elements such as woven pendant lights or raffia-covered footstools.

You can balance the starkness of black and white by adding softer neutral shades like the silvery grays of driftwood and metal. Use unfinished wooden furniture to add to a gentler, more relaxed feel. Woven or linen blinds are another method to add softness to a stark color scheme. Echo these textures with rugs, baskets, or lamp shades.

Don’t forget the importance of plants to add contrast to monochrome looks. Plants are an excellent way of bringing a natural touch to your beach house; green leaves will pop against black and white without feeling chaotic.

Some good choices for plants in your coastal décor are Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia), Rubber Tree (Ficus Elastica), and Fiddle Leaf Tree(Ficus Lyrata Bambino). Place the pots in woven baskets to create more texture and beachy color.

Using Color with Black in Coastal Décor

Not all of us want the quiet, monochrome coastal look. If you prefer a fun, bright feel reminiscent of an island paradise, black works incredibly well to offset and highlight these jewel shades.

Take a large floor rug with chunky black and white stripes, and pair it with furniture or walls in tropical tones of coral, turquoise, and jade. Use stark black elements to create a grounding space for fun elements.

Wallpaper can add a playful touch to a focal wall, and we love this over-the-top black and gold wallpaper with its birds and plants. If your coastal décor is more tropical and vibrant, this will make an excellent art nouveau touch in a hallway. For a more sophisticated coastal island look, consider this wallpaper with its muted banana palm fronds.

Use bright tones like yellow in small doses to pop against a black and white background. Brightly colored chairs are a fabulous way to liven up a coastal kitchen or dining room, especially when offset by a black table or rug.

If you love using color, my advice is to stick to only a few colors rather than add every shade you can think of. Some colors work exceptionally well together, and by using just two colors in a limited amount and pairing them with white and black neutral, you will make them statement pieces.

Too many different colors will make the room feel chaotic. Use your neutrals to create a sense of flow and cohesion, and mirror them in small ways to tie the room together.


Black is an exceptionally versatile shade to use in coastal décor. Whether you keep black pieces to a minimum and use them as subtle touches to modernize your look or go full out with vibrant black focal walls or prominent statement pieces, there’s a way to incorporate black in your beach house décor. Use pale neutrals to balance the black and bring in natural textures and nautical elements to keep the look feeling coastal and effortless.