You don’t have to live by the sea to enjoy the calming qualities of a coastal living rooms. And a good place to start is by playing with the colours of the sky, sea and sand to form a dreamy theme.
Bring the themes of the seaside into your living room and channel coastal chic with soft furnishings in calming whites, washed-out denim and cool shades of blue. A weathered, faded look is the essence of coastal interiors.
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Choose a living room with a whitewashed colour scheme for a room filled with space and light. White or neutral-toned wall panelling creates a great beach-hut vibe – coordinate with sand-coloured sisal flooring or carpet. Team this decor with white linen furnishings and a wicker chest-style coffee table. Add a seascape canvas on the wall and accessorise with beach ornaments such as seashells, coral and beach pebbles.
Driftwood is a wonderful material to add a feeling of relaxed coastal charm. Choose furniture crafted from driftwood such as a coffee table or open shelving. Position a sailing boat on your mantelpiece, arrange pebbles and wood in a corner of the room for relaxed coastal chic.
1. Choose contemporary cool for your coastal living room
Create an understated, contemporary coastal look by layering key design features. Nothing says coastal quite like while-washed clapboard walls. Striped loose linen covered soft furnishings and coastal-inspired wooden furniture are a nod to coastal living. Seascape artwork and driftwood accessories help to stamp a further seaside vibe onto the decor without making it ‘too’ themed.
2. Build up a rustic coastal living room with natural textures
For a softer take on coastal styling, take inspiration from the natural elements of chalky cliffs and shingle beaches. The key to emulating this more off the beaten track beach look is embracing all its imperfections. From hewn wood to jagged edges of broken seashells, the not-so-perfect finishes are the unsung heroes. The feel is textural and relaxed, with slubby linen upholstery and bleached wood tones. Check out our guides to the best sofas and best sofa beds to find similar seating in natural fabrics.
3. Create a laid-back scheme with sun-bleached hues
Set sail for a rural seaside escape! Be inspired by nature and coastal walks for a relaxed look in earthy neutrals. To keep it light and bright, pick delicate floral wallpapers of fabrics with a subtle inky blue silhouette. Team with ticking stripe fabrics and pops of rusty orange. ‘Hot oranges are a great twist on the traditional red, white and blue coastal colour scheme,’ says our Style Editor Nicky Phillips.
Reference the seaside with a display of beach-themed accessories, along with seaweed and shell fabric and art prints. Choose distressed-style furniture in pale shades of wood for a nod to the driftwood look. Then pile high with patterned cushions. An easy-clean floor, such as a wooden laminate in a light grain, is perfect for beachside living.
4. Settle down in an urban lakeside retreat
Bring a boathouse vibe to your living space by mixing bold stripes and whitewashed walls with reclaimed wood and metal. Wide stripes in white and navy have a strong nautical identity – don’t be afarid to mix up scales and fabric design. Panelling on walls creates a lodge-like backdrop with plenty of character. get the look for less using faux-effect wallpaper. Choose accessories with an industrial edge, like an exposed bulb lamp or metal shelf.
5. Fashion a modern coastal living room with contemporary furniture
Subtle and sophisticated is the key here. This coastal scheme is a fine example of how a grown-up take on the look helps to keep it elegant. In this living space the minimal presence of coastal is what makes it work. An injection of inky blue accessories alongside natural seagrass textures is just enough of a nod to maritime style.
Don’t think coastal decor means you have to be traditional with furniture and colour choices either. As the trends evolve we see more and more how new furniture shapes can help to breath new life into existing themes.
Want more seaside inspiration? Read: Nautical decorating ideas
6. Be bold with marine blue and aqua coastal living room
Wash the room with a mix of blue hues, to create a modern coastal scheme. Paint the walls blue to really bring the space to life.
A deep blue sofa may be bold but it can be timeless, in the right environment. The shade sits happily with other shades of the colour for a harmonious, layered look and is beautifully offset with pale tones and warm neutrals – this oatmeal flooring being a case in point. Together, these soothing tones are just the thing to turn your living room into a relaxing hideaway.
7. Introduce global pattern to a coastal living room
Merely introducing a mix of blue tones invites the nautical look without being too overstated. Coastal living doesn’t have to mean all things seashells and deckchair stripes. As shown in this elegant living room above, classic nautical stripes have been replaced by tie-dye, batik and block-print patterns in rich indigo blues.
Teamed with a chic denim fabric sofa, this alternative look oozes carefree coastal dwelling.
8. Embrace real wood-panelling in a coastal living room
So what if you are totally land-locked and thousands of miles from the New England coast? Tongue-and-groove panelling will instantly transport your living room to Maine or Massachusetts, decoratively speaking.
Here, a bold dresser adds a pop of country colour, alongside evocative artwork and a range of knits that pay tribute to the rolling waves, sailor’s knots, and other aspects of ocean life through their stitch design.
9. Bring the Brighton beach hut look back home
Style a year-round coastal getaway that reflects classic English seaside resorts – then you’ll always feel like you’re on holiday. Use airy shades and modern takes on traditional prints. In smaller spaces, decorate with pale hues and simple, paired back furniture. A coffee table with woven storage baskets saves space and works with the marine mood. Use sky blues and dove greys with hints of red and white for traditional coastal style. Add accessories featuring cute seaside motifs such as anchors, boats and sea birds.
10. Make texture the style of the show
Bring the beach home by mixing weathered coastal colours, unfussy reclaimed wood furniture and characterful seaside motifs for a look that will relax you as soon as you walk through the door. Celebrate natural materials by choosing furniture with prominent wood grains and pairing with a woven jute rug.
Arrange accessories in loose groups, rather than tight grids or clusters to create a more informal, relaxed look.
11. Dip into a island-style boho coastal living room
If you want your living space to be a space where you can truly kick back and relax, this look, inspired by Ibiza’s laid-back Bohemian attitude, sets the perfect mood.
White walls, flooring and upholstery will give you a bleached-out, Mediterranean villa look. Layer on lots of colour with Blues of different depths, using a combination of plain, tie-dye, batik and ikat fabrics. Beachcombed finds such as shells, hurricane lanterns filed with pebbles and driftwood-look pieces will fill the room with natural style – these can be displayed in repurposed crates, to enhance the rustic feel.
12. Chic Hamptons-style coastal living room
This look is pure, American-style smart nautical chic and will give your room simple effortless elegance.
Fitted covers would look too casual, so go for fitted upholstery with smart piping or a strip in a trim navy blue. Use dark wood furniture to give the scheme definition and a traditional look and finish things off with statement accessories. An oversized lamp, bold artwork or even a salvaged ship’s wheel can all add wow.
13. Go for a brilliant all-white coastal living room
Bring some coastal personality to a neutral living room and enjoy a holiday mood all year round. Plain white walls can look quite stark, so choose a barely-there shade of misty grey to add the subtlest hint of colour.
Introduce patterns and texture into your scheme with stripes and checks and cheery seaside-print fabrics. Fill the empty space above your sofa with a gallery of coastal artwork, from scenic prints and ocean vistas to holiday postcards and nautical typography.
14. Create a striking look with panelled-effect wallpaper
Keep to a fail-safe coastal colour scheme of breezy blue and white, teamed with weathered wood furniture and rustic woven matting. Mimic the look of sun-bleached wood panelling with a clever faux-effect plank-look wallpaper.
Incorporate a bookcase or shelving unit into your room so you can create a display of coastal finds, from storm lanterns and sea birds to pebbles, shells and driftwood.
15. Uniform shelving in bold blue for a coastal-inspired living room
Mid blues softened with warm neutrals and natural textures create a laid-back boathouse look. Give the room structure with furniture that has simple new to define the space – it’s a trick that’s especially effective in a multifunctional room.
Finish the scheme with hard-wearing materials such as broad-weave linen upholstery, heavy-gauge cottons, worn saddle leather and deep-dyed denims for no-nonsense comfort. Little pops of red on fabrics and accessories bring the low-key scheme to life.
16. Add Miami-inspired glamour to your coastal living room
Beat grey-weather days with tropical-ocean colours and plush textures for a living space that oozes modern elegance. Mid-century style goes super-sleek with this mix of lagoon blues, geo patterns and chic shapes. It’s a smart look, so go for tuxedo-style sofas and cube shelving. Round or urged occasional tables will soften all the sharp corners.
With deep blue-green tones on the walls, you’ll need some hits of bright white for light relief, but go luxe on finishes. Ramp up the glam factor with silky velvet on upholstery and cushions, high-gloss surfaces and glossy blue glassware.
17. Opt for sophisticated chic Mediterranean-style
If you want your decorating schemes to feel relaxed and confident, you can’t beat a simple combination of blue and white with a bold mix of Mediterranean-chic pattern. An oatmeal-coloured sofa, washed-oak furniture and weathered wood picture frames soften the fresh look of white walls.
Arranging storage and artwork symmetrically gives the room a more upscale look. Add another layer of rustic texture with hammered metal accent pieces in the form of lights, small tables and trays.
18. Choose laid-back beach style for a coastal living room
Mix fresh blues with warm neutrals to give your living room a calm, contemporary look that oozes laid-back charm – synonymous with coastal style. Keeping the walls neutral allows the blue accents, however subtle, to really shine. Natural woven textures help to add a rustic beachcomber feel, without making the look feel too contrived.
19. Incorporate maritime pattern for Seaside style
Be inspired by holiday cottages and days at the beach to create a fresh and relaxed look in your sitting room. Set the tone with nautical-themed sketchbook prints and crisp deckchair stripes.
Bright whites, faded denim blues and a few bold pops for scarlet create an easygoing but quintessentially British seaside feel.
20. Keep calm with a cool blue coastal living room
It’s impossible not to love blue – it’s fresh, versatile and mood-lifting. The colour of the sea, blue offers an easy way to create a coastal look. But don’t go overboard – work in warm neutral tones on upholstery, flooring and wood trims to take the chill off soft blue tones. Complete the look with a seascape painting that will leave you in no doubt to the coastal theme.
Even if you live miles from the coast, we hope these coastal living room ideas help you capture a little bit of the magic of time spent next to the sea.