10 essential elements to Hamptons-style interiors

Capture the essence of classic Hamptons style interiors with the help of our decorating experts.
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Hamptons style continues to endure in the Australian interiors landscape. The classic coastal decorating style we have adopted from the other side of the world is not just here to stay but a look that continues to evolve with our own lifestyle needs.

Want to get the look in your home without a cookie-cutter result? With the help of our Hamptons decorating experts, consider this your Home Beautiful style masterclass to take you through the essential elements needed to decorate your home with Hamptons style.

Where are The Hamptons?

The Hamptons refers to a group of townships on Long Island, New York, including Montauk, Southampton and Sag Harbor which, up until the mid-to-late 19th century, were isolated farming and fishing settlements, made up of homes built with honest, quality materials chosen for their ability to withstand their rugged location.

With the arrival of train tracks into Southampton, the settlements became popular vacation spots and, with that, wealth moved in, along with gorgeous summer residences that embraced easy, coastal living and, over the years, evolved into the look we love today.

A gabled roofline, batten and board detail and an all-white exterior is a style many Australians have no trouble embracing, including this laid-back tropical Hamptons home in WA.

(Credit: Photography: Jody D’Arcy | Stylist: Angela Lyon) (Credit: Photography: Jody D’Arcy / Styling: Angela Lyon)

It’s a look that is made up of many elements coming together to create an interior decorating style that is crisp yet relaxed, coastal yet classic. “The appeal of the classic Hamptons style is its refined balance between sophistication, relaxation and indulgent luxury,” says interior designer and principal at Indah Island Natalee Bowen. “The way to master the look in your home is to add details from front to back that capture the eye as you walk through. A classic Hamptons home begs for applause from the moment you enter, with its high coffered ceilings, layered wainscoted walls and sweeping staircases that instantly delight the senses.”

Let’s take a look at the 10 essential elements that make up Hamptons style in the home.

This coastal kitchen in bayside Melbourne showcases a classic Hamptons palette of white, warm grey and touches of metallic.

(Credit: Photography: Martina Gemmola |Stylist: Aimee Tarulli)

1. Coffered ceilings

Coffered ceilings are perfect for a high-end luxury home. “These can be used in an entrance or any area that requires an extra layer of drama,” says Natalee. “In a classic Hamptons home the staircase should be its crowning jewel,” says Natalee. “Details like a bold newel post with carefully designed spindles – either in a Chippendale pattern or ornately carved – can be carried throughout the home, making the spaces cohesive. A black step with a white riser and a bold handrail also demands attention.”

2. Wonderful wainscoting

Introduce east-coast style with timber moulding along hallways and staircases. “Integrate detailed trims such as architraves, cornices and skirtings,” says Gallerie B Interiors director and principal designer Belinda Vanden Boom. Intrim Mouldings offer a range of inlay moulds and skirting boards designed to bring Hamptons style to your home, or try HardieGroove lining to inject a casual, coastal vibe with tongue-and-groove panelling.

“Think of wainscoting as the icing on the cake for your walls,” says Natalee. “It starts with a deep, rounded-edge dado rail that works down towards a carefully designed smaller rail – this ‘guides’ you along the wall in a square or rectangular design.

Wainscoting can be used anywhere in the home too – no matter the size of a space. “This style looks exceptional in entrances and on staircases. If you layer these intricate mouldings they can become a major design element of any wall and will masterfully blend with skirting, cornices and architraves, allowing your colour palette to pop,” says Natalee.

Wainscoting is a wonderful way to continue Hamptons style throughout your entire home and offers the opportunity to go bold above it, such as in this petite powder room.

(Credit: Photography: Simon whitbread |Stylist: Corina Koch)

3. Natural textures in Hamptons decorating

Warm up plain white walls and timber floors with sisal rugs, wicker furniture, classic works of art and carefully curated homewares in signature colourways such as soft green, teal, whites and creams. “Layer, layer, layer using natural textures such as linens, jute and rattan,” says Natalee. “I always love to include a bit of rattan in every space to incorporate another layer of natural texture.”

A touch of texture in the rattan bedhead of this Hamptons main bedroom.

(Credit: Photographer: Nic Gossage | Stylist: Lisa Burden)

4. A Hamptons window seat

“The key to Hamptons style interiors is a classic look with a relaxed feel,” says Belinda. Think long, lazy afternoons stretching out with the weekend paper or scrolling through your iPad. Hamptons homes are tailor-made for relaxing, making window seats a common feature. Contact your cabinetmaker to add one to your home. Ideally include storage underneath and be sure to pick an indoor/outdoor fabric for your cushion covers.

“That’s the magic corner,” says Tara Dennis, of this custom-made nook-with-a-view in her stunning coastal-style river house.

5. Hamptons-style lighting

If your home doesn’t naturally benefit from an abundance of light, create the illusion. “Add extra lighting where possible,” says Belinda. “Think wall lights in bathrooms, powder rooms, living spaces and kitchens.” Wall sconces mounted around mirrors add traditional charm.

In any interior lighting plays a key role in both the form and function of a space and can pepper your home with an extra design layer. “[Hamptons] lighting is elegant with hanging chandeliers of crystal and brass, and beautiful table lamps that bring ambience and interest to your home,” suggests Natalie.

“Cabinetry is always a highlight but in a classic Hamptons home, there is no greater feature than the kitchen itself,” says Natalee Bowen. “Tapware, hardware, butler’s sinks and stunning pendant lights are all distinctive elements in a classic Hamptons design.”

(Credit: Photography: Anson Smart)

6. Shaker-style cabinetry

Whether you’re looking at the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, classic cabinetry serves as an essential design inclusion. “Hamptons style interiors can be modern yet classic and timeless,” explains Belinda. “Include detailed Shaker-style cabinetry with beautiful handles.”

“Gone are the days of hiding the kitchen – a Hamptons home is about entertaining and showing off!” says Natalee. “The island bench is always the centre of attention, embracing lengths of soft-toned Carrara marble. A generous oven, with sizing of no less than 900cm, is a must. This becomes a wide, freestanding masterpiece that is not only for cooking but for centralising the cabinetry design. Opt for a beautiful rangehood with glass cabinetry on either side to showcase your tableware, such as glasses and china.”

Often seen in pairs such as in this bathroom, as well as hallways or reading nooks, burnished metal wall sconces lend a classic Hamptons look to any space.

(Credit: Photographer: Brigid Arnott | Stylist: Lisa Hilton)

7. Quality materials in a Hamptons bathroom

Hardy materials such as marble are key. “When the Hamptons were settled in the 1600s, homes were designed with long-lasting materials to withstand the elements,” says Belinda.

“When it comes to the bathroom, a bath is essential,” says Natalee. “Whether you use it or not becomes irrelevant when it commands such a luxurious presence in a space. With freestanding tapware – which is practically jewellery for a wet area – and panelling or shelving, wow moments will abound. Try adding a statement mirror, wall sconces and pendants. Choose a double basin with refined front panelling – it needs to be more than just shaker style. Finally, marble flooring with a statement border or a checkerboard detail is what it’s all about.”

Luxurious and romantic needn’t rule out practical. The layout of this glamorous Hamptons bathroom on the Sunshine Coast allows for the whole family to enjoy the tub.

(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

8. Hamptons furniture

Furniture is where you can really have some fun bringing your Hamptons dream home to life on a personal scale. “I think people are over jumping from one style to the next and the Hamptons look is a true classic for all ages,” says Natalee.

“With styling, we focus on a blue-and-white palette, but include floral and oak tones for depth, which translates to a more traditional style,” says Natalee. “Blue linen sofas in a roll-arm style are both comfortable and charming and Chesterfield chairs with deep button backs are another great option. An oak coffee table grounds the space and contrasting side tables bring personality into the room.”

“Vignettes with eclectic antiques and blue-and-white ginger jars are a fun way to let your personality shine through,” says Natalee.

(Credit: Photography: Amy Skinner Photography | Styling: Natalee Bowen)

9. Hamptons outdoor furniture

Create a seamless flow between indoors and out by keeping the design and colour choices consistent – your outdoor furniture should be the same style and colours as your interior. Wicker settings with white, blue or grey cushions are a classic option. “As you enter the outdoor area, it should be an experience – opening up to flowering arbours, an entertaining area for alfresco get-togethers, and sun loungers for relaxing by the pool,” says Natalee.

“Outdoor spaces are as equally important as indoor design as they fully encapsulate your lifestyle. The pleasures of hosting your loved ones and swanning around the pool are sure to be an entertainer’s dream come true.”

Extend your Hamptons style to the outdoors with classic furniture such as the Adirondack loungers on deck of this seaside holiday house.

(Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott | Stylist: Lisa Hilton)

10. An elegant Hamptons exterior

The kerb appeal is just as important as your Hamptons-style interior scheme. Bring a sense of grandeur to porches and verandahs with architectural features such as gables, columns and fretwork.

“Homes in the Hamptons tend to have weatherboard cladding or shingles with symmetrical small-paned windows,” says interior designer Diane Bergeron. Opting for the right cladding is a sure-fire way to achieve a chic home inside and out. “You can’t have a Hamptons home without shadow lines,” explains Natalee. “In the US, these are created by shingles, which bleach in the sun to whites and light grey.” In Australia, an authentic look can be achieved with Scyon Linea Weatherboard. “It gives the look while also standing up to the harsh climate,” adds Natalee, the product’s ambassador.

Once you have tended to the exterior of your home, turn your attention to the garden. A manicured lawn, tidy hedges and planter boxes filled with lush hydrangeas are the key features. “No Hamptons home is complete without greenery on the exterior,” says Natalee. “Go for magnolias, star jasmine and, if you have the time to watch it grow, wisteria.”

(Credit: Photographer: Sue Stubbs | Story: Home Beautiful)


Try these:

External wall cladding and a bold front door are essential elements in creating a Hamptons style exterior.

(Credit: Photography: Armelle Habib)

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