Looking for the perfect style of decor to make your home feel like a vacation? Coastal chic may be the answer. If you have looked to Pinterest or social media for inspiration, you may have seen it trending. But with no shells, boats, and other typical nautical elements, what exactly is coastal chic?
The look is relaxed and welcoming, with clean lines, neutral tones, natural materials, and a focus on open living spaces. Coastal chic is a style that embraces the natural beauty of the coast. It’s about simplicity, comfort, and relaxation—the perfect way to escape it all.
Coastal chic is a style that resonates with many people because it provides an opportunity to bring nature into your home. Coastal chic is about making your home feels like a sanctuary, a place where you can be yourself—and what better way to do that than interior design?
What Is Coastal Chic?
Although the coastal style has been popular for decades, it was mostly favored by beach homeowners and resorts. However, it has been trending the last few years, mostly due to a string of lockdowns, the new work-from-home culture, and increased screen time. In today’s overstimulating world, turning our homes into safe havens provides an escape from the chaos.
Coastal chic is a style of decor meant to evoke the feeling of being near the coast. It’s a relaxed and calm look, inspired by the colors and textures of beach life. The goal is to design a place where you can relax and unwind after a busy day by creating an atmosphere that feels calm, serene, and peaceful.
Unlike other beach-inspired styles like nautical style, coastal chic is more abstract and focused on the coastal aesthetic rather than literal references to the beach. The idea behind coastal chic is to create a space that reflects beach elements in a subtle, abstract way. It pays tribute to the shore by invoking the emotions that the coast leaves within us.
The coastal chic look is characterized by muted to neutral shades, lots of natural textures, and abundant clean white space. This interior design style is about relaxing, enjoying life, and letting go of stress.
The furniture is made from natural materials such as wood and stone, and everything looks clean and simple with no unnecessary clutter. You don’t have to be a minimalist by any means, but you do want a room that feels clean and tidy without being overly cluttered or stuffy.
Coastal chic is all about bringing the beach indoors and blurring the boundaries between indoor spaces and the outdoors. Coastal chic is perfect for summer and winter homes alike, as it is both cool and warm.
The Key Elements Of Coastal Chic
Coastal chic is characterized by a distinct mood, color palette, and decorative touches that draw inspiration from nature, particularly the coast. The following elements blend in harmony to create the essence of coastal chic:
Coastal Chic Mood
Coastal chic has a light and breezy feel. The mood is laid back, tranquil and calm – a perfect way to create an atmosphere that can help you relax.
As the emphasis of coastal chic is on mood, it is the dominant element of coastal chic. To create a tranquil, relaxing, and inviting home, it needs to feel serene.
When describing the mood of coastal chic, the following terms come to mind:
- easy vibe
All other elements, décor, and personal touches stem from the mood and should contribute to it.
Coastal Chic Design
The design and layout of a space play a big part in the overall mood. Small, narrow spaces make us feel claustrophobic, while light, open spaces give us breathing space and calm our minds.
Open-plan kitchens and living areas are popular in coastal style, as they create an inviting flow of movement and an “openness.” The overall look is very airy, thanks to large windows that let in lots of natural light. Skylights and cupola add additional light and personal design touch.
There’s no clutter here: everything has its place, so there isn’t any visual clutter making the space appear smaller than it actually is (or, even worse – cluttered). All design elements should be functional and serve a purpose. Less truly is more!
What if your home has no large windows for abundant light or an open-plan living area? You can still create an airy, laid-back feel through the layout of your furniture. Arranging your furniture in a practical, feng shui style does wonders for any room. Not only do rooms generally look better, but it also makes living in them more comfortable.
Coastal Chic Color Palette
Anyone familiar with color phycology will tell you how colors affect our moods and emotions. For this reason, color theory plays a huge role in interior design. As mood is key in coastal chic, color is the most important element in establishing an inviting mood.
Warm colors such as reds, yellows, and oranges energize and excite us, while cool colors like blues, greens, and purples calm, relax and soothe us. Think of fast-food chains that use red and yellow in their branding to appetize their customers compared to spas that often use soft, muted greens.
When it comes to the coastal chic interior design style, you want to go with earthy tones and muted colors. These include natural shades of brown, tan, and gray. The coastal chic design is all about using things found along the coast, which means you’re not going to find any bright or fluorescent colors here!
The coastal style is often characterized by light, airy rooms with white walls and white furniture paired with secondary earthy tones and accents such as blue or seafoam greens. The main focus should be on adding pops of color in small doses so that it doesn’t overpower everything else in your design scheme.
The primary color of coastal chic is crisp white. White is a neutral color that can balance out other colors in a room, making it easy to create an inviting design. It’s also associated with the sea, which is why many coastal living rooms and kitchens feature white cabinets, countertops, and floors.
White can make a space feel roomier and more spacious because it reflects light rather than absorbing it as dark colors do; this makes sense for small apartments or homes with few windows to let in natural light!
The secondary colors are neutral but soft, taking inspiration from natural colors found in the sea, sand, shells, wood, and rocks. The colors are calming, relaxing, warm, inviting, and easy to coordinate and maintain. Colors are often warm but muted or neutral, with natural shades of brown and tan that recall driftwood, beach grass, and sand.
Accent colors are used strategically to draw attention and add depth. For example, blue hues like turquoise add another layer to your design scheme along with white trimming throughout all surfaces, especially on furniture pieces like chairs and tables, which gives them an elegant appeal without being too overwhelming when placed together.
- Crisp white
- Soft grays, stone
- Earth tones
- Shades of light wood, driftwood, faded teak
- Light browns, sand, tan
- Off-whites, cream, beige, shell
- Sunset colors: light pinks and coral shades
- Blue, from light sky-blue to aquas
- Seaside colors that include seafoam green, beach glass
- Colors of coastal vegetation
Coastal Chic Fittings
Bring in lots of texture! Nothing is more welcoming than a room that looks cozy and inviting, so bring in heaps of texture to create warmth. Add character to your space with natural materials like wood, stone, and metal. You can also use texture in paint colors, wallpaper patterns, or fabrics.
Emphasize natural materials in your coastal chic design. Wood furniture is timeless, elegant, and looks great in a coastal interior design.
If possible, try to incorporate driftwood into your design elements as well; this will give your room a beachy feel. You can also add adventurous pieces such as rattan furniture for a bohemian look.
Natural organic fibers like jute, cotton, and linen-blend fabrics are cool, comfortable, and easy to clean. The best part about organic materials is that they’re more durable, more comfortable, and better for the environment than synthetic materials.
Choose Furniture Pieces In Natural Materials:
- Light wood
- Rattan – striking accent chairs
- Weathered wood
Add Texture With Natural Textiles:
- Linen – perfect for curtains
- Rattan – baskets, lamp shades
- Jute – area rugs
- Sisal – great for rugs or scatter cushions
- Seagrass – placemats, coasters, baskets
- Bamboo – decorative elements, photo frames, coasters
Different Coastal Styles
Since coastal chic is abstract and mostly neutral, blending with other design styles is easy. Coastal chic can be anything from a beach cottage-style home to an apartment in an urban area that looks out onto the ocean. The most popular coastal styles include:
Also called classic coastal, this style is the typical beach-resort coastal style most people think of. While the colors are light and airy and white is the dominant color, the secondary colors are slightly different from modern coastal chic.
Light sand and blues in various shades are popular in traditional coastal décor, and stripes are frequently used.
The farmhouse design style shares many elements with coastal chic, making this merger inevitable. Farmhouse décor has a relaxed, laid-back mood just like coastal, and wood and other natural materials are also popular.
To blend farmhouse with coastal chic, stick to whites, neutrals, and lots of wood. Emphasize functionality and an inviting vibe, with less use of blues and other coastal accent colors.
furniture pieces from weathered wood or a distressed look and rustic décor pieces add warmth and create a “lived-in” vibe.
In contrast to the traditional bohemian style, the modern boho style is not as bright and colorful. Instead, the color palette is neutral, with earthy tones, much like coastal chic. With boho, the accent is placed on texture while the colors are kept to a minimum.
A coastal boho-chic look can easily be created by sticking to a warm, light, earthy color palette and using lots of textures in throws and scatter cushions. Large round jute rugs and rattan pendants are stylish.
Choose furniture made from distressed woods, combined with rattan accent chairs.
Coastal luxe has an airy, breezy vibe with a touch of luxury. Think of high-end coastal homes in the Hamptons.
Coastal luxe includes bolder shades of blues, abstract patterns, and less muted earth tones. Copper, gold, or brass finishings add a glamourous element while keeping to the natural theme.
Coastal Chic: How To Get The Look
If you’re looking to incorporate coastal chic elements into your home or vacation rental, here are some tips:
Coastal chic furniture tends to be white or light-colored wood with clean lines; think simple tables and chairs instead of heavy dining room sets.
Opt for furniture pieces that are functional, casual, and comfortable. In other words, furniture that you can live in! You’ll want to make sure your furniture has some weight and substance so it doesn’t look cheap or hollow (which happens too often when you look at coastal chic interiors).
White sofas with slip-covers are laid-back and practical. The slip-covers are easy to remove and clean and can be changed as desired.
Inspired by the colors and forms of nature, coastal-chic interiors are often decorated with layers of textures and splashes of accent colors.
Use coastal décor to add texture and accent colors:
- Woven rugs made from seagrass, jute, or rope
- Seafoam-green glass vases on tables
- Throws and pillows in accent colors
- Bamboo photo frames
- Wicker baskets
- Seagrass placemats
- Rattan lighting fixtures
Lastly, bring in plants. They’ll provide oxygen while also creating an earthy feel to the room!
Coastal chic is perfect for any home that wants to feel inviting, peaceful and comfortable. With the right furniture and decor pieces, you can create an atmosphere that matches your personal style. If you want to live in a space where everything feels relaxed and welcoming, then this style may be just what you need!
- Skip The Seashells: Here’s How To Design A Sophisticated Coastal Chic Home | Forbes
- Everything You Need To Know About Coastal Design | House Beautiful
- Coastal Chic Styling 101 | YouTube
- Coastal Chic | Tidbits & Twine
- Coastal Design Style 101 | HGTV