So what if you are totally land-locked and thousands of miles from the nearest shoreline? Our coastal living room ideas will instantly transport you to a waterfront retreat in the Hamptons, decoratively speaking.
Whether you live by the beach or just dream about ocean breezes, you can enhance the beauty of your living room by borrowing from the coastal decorating style. Inspired by the organic colors and textures of nature, it majors on casual furnishings, relaxed furniture, timber accents, and easy-care textiles like cotton and linen fabric.
But coastal interior design isn’t just about achieving a certain look; it’s also about evoking a certain feeling. Many of us associate living by the sea with a sense of relaxation and a slower pace of life. And that’s exactly what coastal living rooms should aim to achieve. So if you’re looking to create a space that will make you feel like you’re on vacation all year round, here are some ideas to get you started.
For more coastal decor recommendations, be sure to check our article on ocean-themed bedroom ideas.
Put the Oars Up
If you think decorating your living room walls with oars or paddles sounds a little bit too on the nose, look at this coastal space from staysaltybridport for some inspiration. Hung up on the wall horizontally, they become more of a design element than a nautical gimmick. And we love how they contrast with the vertical lines of the fireplace!
Opt for Natural Textures
Textures are important in any space, but in the light, often all-white coastal living rooms, they take on a much more significant role. Be sure to incorporate plenty of natural materials and fabrics, such as leather, rattan, jute, cotton, and wood, to give your space some extra dimension and really bring the coastal theme home.
Stick to Neutrals
One of the things that you’ll notice about coastal living rooms is that bold hues are saved for small details while the bulk of the spaces radiates neutral colors. This space from mcdonaldjoneshomes relies on combinations of sun-bleached whites, soft browns, and sandy grays that evoke the beach without being overstated.
Feel the Surf Vibe
If we could only choose one item that screams breezy summer vibes, it would have to be a surfboard. Not into surfing? No problem! You can find plenty of decorative surfboards that only look the part. In this room from mariapesanha, a surfboard decor is incorporated as an element of a gallery wall, but you could also lean it against the wall or prop it up in a corner. Instant coastal cool!
Use Reclaimed Timber
Reclaimed timber is a great way to add coastal style to your living space. Look for pieces of old pallets washed up on the shore or a single piece of driftwood you could use for a shelf. Anything that looks weathered as though beaten down by ocean winds and salt spray is perfect for a coastal living room, from dings in the finish to split wood.
Throw Down a Faded Rug
If you’re considering a coastal living room makeover, the most important starting place is right beneath your feet. A distressed-looking rug will bring a rustic, windswept feel to your space as it does in this living room from acoastalcasita. You can also look for rugs made of natural fibers like jute or sisal that add to the coastal vibe and stand up well to heavy foot traffic.
Rock the Boho Beach Style
If your heart is set on a living room that reflects an easy-breezy coastal lifestyle, but you’re not quite ready to give up your bohemian roots, don’t worry — you can have the best of both worlds. Boho and beach go hand in hand, so mix and match coastal-inspired furniture and decor with your existing bohemian pieces to create a space that’s uniquely yours.
Incorporate Low Seating
If there’s anything that belongs to a coastal living room, it’s low-slung furniture, as demonstrated by ourlittleredbrickhome. Think floor cushions, slouchy sofas, daybeds, poufs, and ottomans. The color palette of this living room is something to note too. Rather than choose blues and whites, opting for warm neutrals can create a more cozy, inviting space.
Pop in a Coastal Chandelier
A chandelier may seem out of place in a coastal living room but snag one made from stunning blue beads, and you’ll end up with something that transports you to a luxury beach resort every time you turn it on. Here, a beaded fixture takes center stage, adding a touch of glamour to an otherwise relaxed space.
Keep Your Woods Light
While walnut and teak may jibe with traditional interiors, for coastal living rooms, we recommend using lighter woods, such as cedar, pine, and fir. They’ll help to brighten up the space and give it a more airy feel. Blonde wood floors and whitewashed furniture pieces, like the ones in this room from ourcozy_condo, are a great way to achieve the look.
Decorate with Beach Finds
With so many beautiful treasures washing up on our shores each day, why not use some of them as decor? To avoid looking too cluttered, choose a few favorite pieces and display them in a thoughtful way. Use larger objects on coffee tables or fireplace mantels, and create groupings or collections of smaller ones on a shelf or in a glass bowl.
Go Full Hamptons
Just because coastal living rooms are meant to be relaxed doesn’t mean they can’t be glamorous! Incorporating a mix of elevated Hamptons and coastal chic, this living room from homestoloveau oozes sophistication. From the coffered ceiling to patterned throw pillows, this crisp blue and white space might just be the epitome of coastal living.
Up the Ante with Blue
Blue is one of the most popular colors for coastal interiors because it evokes the feeling of being by the water. To create a coastal theme in your living room, start with a dark blue rug or couch and build your space around that. Take your style notes from southcoastescapes. She created the ultimate coastal living room by adding a navy sofa and keeping the rest of the room restrained.
Bring Nature In
It’s important to invite nature into your coastal living room. Leafy green plants like palms and ferns are particularly well-suited to coastal decor. Not only do they add a touch of color and life to the room, but they also evoke the feeling of being near the ocean. For an extra coastal touch, we recommend woven baskets, hanging planters, and pots in white or concrete.
Take a Break from the Blues
Coastal living interiors don’t always come in shades of blue. This cozy boho space from saidecandles has a coastal flair of its own, with palm leaf decor and bohemian wall prints providing a subtle but distinct salute to the beach. And what about the camel-tone leather sofa? A perfect alternative to a traditional white slipcover!
Style a Coastal Vignette
If you can’t commit to the big-ticket items to get the coastal look at your place, do it through decor instead. A cluster of starfish on the coffee table, a set of seashells in a bowl, or even clumps of coral on your fireplace mantel — these are all great coastal-inspired vignettes that won’t cost you a lot to put together. But the best part? You can change them up as often as you like!
Let There Be Light
If you have one thing inside a coastal living room, it needs to be abundant light. You want to feel there’s no boundary between indoors and outdoors, so large windows, glass doors, and skylights are key. Opt for light and airy window treatments like sheer curtains or blinds, and consider adding a large mirror to bounce light around the room and make the space feel bigger.
Add a Sprinkle of Kitsch
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of kitsch in your coastal living room — after all, the beach is all about fun! Sure, you probably don’t want to dress your space in kitschy accents from top to bottom, but a few maritime tchotchkes can go a long way. In this room by kepinteriors, a mermaid decor and resin starfish are playful, fun, and just the right amount of tacky.
DIY a Coastal Coffee Table
How about a coffee table made from wood washed up on the shore? Coffee tables are a great way to anchor a room, and driftwood has a natural, organic look that perfectly fits the coastal aesthetic. We love how the curves and contortions of the branch contrast with the regular symmetry of the oval top in this accent piece from mygreekmaisonette.
Work in Some Shiplap
Is there anything more coastal than shiplap? Originally used as siding on ships, it is now a popular choice for coastal-inspired homes. You can find it pre-made at most home improvement stores, or you can DIY it by nailing planks of wood to your walls. If you want to get the look without actually installing shiplap, try using wallpaper or painting horizontal stripes on your walls.
Give a Nod to the Nautical
You don’t want too many rope, lifebuoy, and driftwood elements in one place, making you seasick. However, a subtle nautical nod is always welcomed in a coastal living room, so long it’s done tastefully— like in this home by madisonnicoledesign. An anchor decor propped up on the mantel, and the denim blues used throughout the space provide just enough nautical flavor without looking overly themed.
Open up Your Space
Coastal living rooms tend to be airy and bright, and open-concept floor plans naturally lend themselves to this look. By opening her kitchen to the living room, mcdonaldjoneshomes perfectly captured the breezy, fresh vibe of coastal interiors. If you can’t knock down any walls, you can still achieve an open layout by pushing all of your furniture against the walls and leaving a clear path in the center of the room.
Weave in Woven Pieces
No coastal living room is complete without a few woven accents. Think jute rugs, wicker chairs, or rattan light fixtures. Woven textures are a summer staple adding visual and tactile interest to a space, and when the weather cools down, they can help warm up a room by adding a laidback beachy look.
Try an All-white Design
Take a cue from this coastal-style living room by katies.homestyling, and try your hand at an all-white space. The key to pulling off this look is to mix different textures and materials to keep the room from feeling too sterile. We love how the coffee table with woven storage baskets saves space and works with the coastal mood.
Hang up Themed Wall Art
White walls, light wood flooring, dark leather armchairs… hello coastal inspo! This living room has a relaxed beach house feel with a timeless color palette. But what really makes it stand out are the coastal art prints hanging on the walls. For more inspiration, check our coastal-themed posters, including sealife watercolors, coastal city maps, beach cottage photography, and more!
Add a Pop of Orange
The combination of grays, blues, and whites may be a hallmark of coastal interior design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add something a little extra to round out your color scheme. Mixing neutrals with sunset-inspired orange can bring a burst of coastal energy to your living room. This can be anything from a bunch of flowers to a throw pillow to a coastal artwork.
Mix Beach and Rustic Influences
Many features from the now slightly outdated farmhouse trend can be transformed into coastal living room ideas. Worn wood, shiplap walls, and even mason jars can be given a coastal twist. This living room from houseno43 is pure fun, intertwining farmhouse chic with nautical accents to create the ultimate coastal farmhouse look.
Make the Most of Your View
Bringing the outside into your living room is a great way to complete your coastal look. So, if you’ve been blessed with a stunning beach view, by all means, put it on display. Hang curtains in a light, airy fabric that will billow in the breeze and let in natural light. And if you have sliding glass doors leading to your patio or balcony, leave them open as much as possible to enjoy the fresh sea air.
Over to You!
The essence of coastal styling is to create a relaxed, comfortable space that evokes the feeling of being by the seaside. From whitewashed walls to blue accents and natural elements, there are plenty of ways to bring this unassuming laidback style into your home, so why not give it a try?
Which of these coastal living room ideas will you be incorporating into your space? Let us know in the comments below!