This is one of those “how long is a piece of string” or, more specifically “how enormous is your bank account” type of subjects. Suffice to say that if you are reading this and you are actually Joe Rogan or Joe Biden, you could probably furnish your beach mansion to a slightly higher spec, so we’ll address this article to Joe Average.
A typical three-bedroom beach house will cost anywhere from $25,000 – $80,000 to furnish to a decent specification. If your beach house is smaller or larger than that, you should budget to spend from $5,000 to $10,000 per room. The kitchen and recreation areas, however, may cost significantly more.
When you are going through the process of furnishing a vacation home, or a second home, there are often items that you will overlook or costs for items that you may not have initially budgeted for. We’re going to look at what it takes to make that house comfortable and liveable.
Do’s and Don’ts of Furnishing a Beach House
Before we get into the actual inventory there are a few tips that we would recommend following to make your holiday home a place which you look forward to going to.
- Do not decorate with a nautical theme
All your neighbors will have done the nautical theme to death with the flock of ceramic seagulls adorning a wall in the living room, pictures of ships and harbors jostling for attention in the bedrooms, and a jaunty Captains cap left artfully hanging on a hook in the hallway. Seashells belong on the beach outside the house, not carefully arranged in a cascade alongside the bath. Scale models of ships and yachts are dust collectors.
- Choose a neutral color theme
A blue and white color palette is fine but do not channel your inner Mykonos into every room. A neutral palette allows you to liven up your living spaces with dashes of color. Decorations and soft furnishings are also easy and relatively inexpensive to replace when you get tired of them or you just want a change.
- Furnish with natural materials
Do not be tempted to opt for man-made materials just because they are easy to clean. Vinyl and faux leather may be cheaper to purchase initially but they are not as hard-wearing or comfortable as natural materials such as leather, sisal, or cotton. The exception to this rule is wicker. Wicker furniture is dated and invariably uncomfortable. And it looks awful.
- Do not lay down carpets
Beach houses are, not surprisingly, very near to, or even right on the beach. Beach sand will invariably be blown into your house and you will track sand into your house after a morning at the beach. A fitted carpet and beach sand are a marriage made in heaven. They really love each other. Rather lay down area rugs in the living room and the bedrooms. Hardwood floors are perfect in every other area.
- Find some decent art
As we mentioned earlier, artwork around a nautical theme has had its time. On the plus side, because art is so very subjective, you have the opportunity, when furnishing your beach house, to express that very subjectivity. Its sole function is to please you and the people you will be spending time with. Each piece should stand alone; expressing itself on its own merits, not necessarily relying on a theme to bring your home together.
What You Will Need To Furnish Your Beach House
The Kitchen and Dining Room
This will be one of the most used areas of your beach house. When purchasing all the appliances and utensils for your kitchen and dining area, do not be tempted to go cheap. These items will get a lot of use because you will normally only have one set of everything. Buy quality items that will last and withstand daily use. The inventories that follow will contain only items that are necessary to ensure a comfortable stay at your beach house:
- Durable and dishwasher-safe crockery for adults and children
- A full set of cups and glasses; wine, highball, and tumblers
- Plain, high-quality stainless steel cutlery
- A dishwasher
- A toaster
- A kettle and a coffee machine, mugs and cups
- A good-sized fridge that you can stock for several days
- Pots, pans, and cooking utensils
- Sharp kitchen knives and a chopping board
- A garbage can
- Cloth towels and cleaning solutions
Unlike the sometimes rushed experience mealtimes can be when you are living your busy home life, the dining area at your beach house will be a place where you not only enjoy leisurely meals but will be a place where the family will congregate to enjoy games, drinks, conversation, and puzzles.
- A dining table and chairs. Preferably expandable. Steer clear of wicker.
- A sideboard to store crockery, cutlery, and games.
- Adequate lighting.
The Living Room
Alongside the kitchen and dining area, you will spend more time in your living room than anywhere else in your beach house. You will need:
- Couches and chairs. Make one of the couches a sleeper couch.
- A coffee table and side tables
- A rug
- Cushions for the chairs
- A TV and an integrated entertainment system
- Lamps for ambiance
- The artwork for this room is particularly important as it is the focal point for the house
Getting a decent night’s sleep while on holiday is very important. And while not much time will be spent in the bedrooms of a beach house during the day (the beach is just outside, after all), you will want to feel comfortable here after a long active day and waking up with a cup of coffee to the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore.
- A comfortable bed with a good mattress.
- Quality bed linen, duvet, and pillows
- Extra blankets
- Side tables and lamps
- A rug for the floor on either side of the bed
- Thick curtains to block out the morning sun
- A fan or wall mounted AC unit
The bathrooms will usually be fitted with all the necessary plumbing accessories such as a bath, toilet, and basin, these items will make your experience in that room a lot more comfortable:
- Toilet paper. Although not an item of furniture, this is not something to be forgotten
- Enough and, body, and face towels for everyone
- While we are on the subject, beach towels are quite important at the beach
- All the soaps, conditioners, and moisturizers
- A small trash can
Children and pets
You will make your beach home a lot more tranquil place if you don’t forget about these life forms. If you have them, provide them with:
- A high chair
- A stroller
- A crib, changing table, and a baby monitor
- Water bowls
- A dog bed
As we mentioned in our opening paragraph, the size and quality of your beach home will invariably reflect the size and quality of your wallet. The items we have mentioned in this article though, are things you will need to make your stay a comfortable and satisfying one. We leave it to you whether you purchase your furnishings from a thrift store or a master craftsman.