16 coastal interior decorating tips from our favourite summer homes

A bevy of beautiful beach houses and holiday retreats to fall in love with
Light coastal living room with stone fireplace and A-frame windows
To create intimacy in the now vast space, a Miss Amara rug unites an Oz Design Furniture sofa, Freedom occasional chairs and coffee table from Magnolia Lane.

It’s not hard to fall in love with coastal style. Our climate lends itself to indoor/outdoor living so the team at Home Beautiful continues to celebrate coastal interior decorating for a chic beach-style experience all year round. If, like us, you can’t wait for summer to return, now is the time to start planning for next year.

Our love of easy, breezy living means many of us decorate our homes to reflect this lifestyle. This can mean including high ceilings and French- or bi-fold doors that swing open to welcome cross-drafts; timber-lined walls with crisp white-painted architectural detailing and cooling natural fabrics on upholstered furnishings for maximum breathable comfort.

How to decorate with coastal style

We took a trip through the HB archives to bring you a selection of some of our all-time favourite homes that embody this way of life and drill down on the elements you need to add to your moodboard and project list to action while you wait for the heat to kick back in. Follow these ideas and you’ll be embracing coastal interior style next summer.

Coastal style entrance hall with vintage timber sideboard and collected shells
(Credits: John Downs)

Vignettes of collected pieces and handmade homewares

The entrance hall is a great place to set the scene for coastal style. Use your sideboard as a blank canvas to build a coastal vignette with woven textiles, found branches and driftwood sculpture. Tie in wall art to complete the look.

(Credits: Photography: Louise Roche, Villa Styling / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Weathered timber details

A little texture goes a long way and when looking for decorating ideas to achieve the essence of coastal living, use natural, neutral tones and pair with tones of blue for a calming, coastal effect. This all white kitchen is punctuated with a striking navy blue kitchen island adjacent to a dining area with a generous timber dining table, all within easy reach of the outdoor entertaining zone.

Beach house style

(Credits: Photography: Brigid Arnott / Styling: Lisa Hilton)

Channel beach shack style

Stick to the essentials and keep it simple. A small space can prove ample to tuck in all the trappings of beach house style and living simply has its benefits – easy cleaning, clutter-free and multi-functional spaces working hard to cater for living, dining and entertaining.

A classic Hamptons home in the NSW coastal hinterland | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Brigid Arnott)

Indoor/outdoor flow

Stacked or sliding, bi-fold or French – whatever you choose, be sure to have doors that open wide to extend the outdoors inside and allow for a flow of fresh air, light and lifestyle as the sun shines. Keep surfaces simple to transition from indoors to outside and make the most of natural light in clerestory windows when everything is shut up.

Sand coloured flooring in high traffic areas of a beach house

(Credits: Photography: Louise Roche, Villa Styling / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Sand-coloured flooring

Simple solutions to everyday issues arising from coastal living. Sand travelling into your home in a seaside location can be remedied with design choices. Flooring is required to be durable, beautiful and natural in appearance, so opt for sand-coloured flooring in the high traffic areas.

(Credits: Photography: Louise Roche,Villa Styling / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Open plan living

Coastal living calls for flowing textiles, billowy curtains and light, breezy interior design. Natural linens, timber accents and an open plan layout as seen here can easily extend to the master suite to enjoy a beach house vibe from the moment you wake up.

One of our all-time favourite Sydney Hamptons homes is for sale | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credits: Sue Stubbs)

Nautical touches

Think classic, rather than cliché when it comes to decor ideas. Nautical touches take on a modern look when paired with all-white paintwork in living areas. Keep to neutral tones in key furniture pieces to maintain an uncluttered result overall.

(Credits: Photography: Ess. Creative / Styling: Bree Oliver)

All white brings in natural light

There’s nothing like an all-white home to tick boxes on the beach-house decorating wish list. Crisp and clean, white finishes in walls and shutters allow light to bounce off surfaces and further into the living areas of the home. In this twin bedroom, a soaring skylight infuses the space with a sunny summery feel year-round. The bedlinen and lamp are in keeping with the coastal setting, as are vintage holiday posters.

Light coastal living room with stone fireplace and A-frame windows
To create intimacy in the now vast space, a Miss Amara rug unites an Oz Design Furniture sofa, Freedom occasional chairs and coffee table from Magnolia Lane.

Raise your ceilings

A great way to channel the great outdoors and capture the surrounding views is to elevate your interiors with soaring ceiling heights that let in the airflow and flood a space with natural light. Incorporate as many window panes as your structure will allow and paint it all white! Breathe easy.

How to get coastal style

Choose a white sofa with removable slipcovers

For the ultimate summer furniture solution, invest in a sofa with removable covers for easy cleaning and to save wear and tear. You’ll find that most companies have a range of heavier fabrics to switch on the warmth in winter. Plan your layout with lifestyle in mind. Opt for oversized, modular furniture that offers flexibility for a busy household. Team cushions in neutral tones with a throw to ensure the palette is layered with warmth.

White and concrete living room in a beach house.
(Credits: The Palm Co)

Barefoot luxury

Aim to create a comfortable yet refined aesthetic to imbue your home with barefoot luxury. It’s about creating indulgent and luxurious spaces that are effortlessly unpretentious. Try incorporating natural elements like timber, stone, and organic textiles to bring a sense of warmth and texture. Concrete also works well as it’s sleek, yet hard-wearing. Choose furniture that is elegant but not overly formal, with a focus on comfort and livability.

All white coastal apartement with rattan accents
All white interiors pack a punch when combined with textural accents. (Credits: Photographer: Mindi Cooke / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

The coastal colour palette

Not confined to blue and white, coastal interiors call for a palette that reflects the sand, sea, and sky. Think soft, soothing colours such as whites, creams, beiges and blues, with the addition of green for a gentle, earthy feel. Fabrics should be soft and inviting, with a mix of plush upholstery and natural materials like linen and cotton – inspired by nature – to create a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Home tour: a stylist and soulful family abode by the seaside | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credits: Eve Wilson)

A stone fireplace

Incorporate natural textures in architectural details. Timber and stone bring the outdoors inside when doors and windows are shut against the cooler weather outdoors and if you must experience the cooler weather, a fireplace is the only way to relax.

Draw on elements of nature

Incorporate natural textures in architectural details. Timber and stone bring the outdoors inside when doors and windows are shut against the cooler weather outdoors. However, with a view out to lush tropical giant elephant ear plants, this bathroom has a resort-like vibe that feels like the outdoors.

bifold window to butlers pantry
(Credits: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Outdoor living spaces

No matter how large or small your home is, coastal living often involves outdoor activities, so blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor zones is essential for summer living. Large windows, sliding doors, a kitchen server and outdoor furniture for dining and relaxation will extend your living and entertaining to the outdoors.

An outdoor shower beneath a Morton Bay Fig.
(Credits: Photography: Maree Homer / Styling: Kristin Rawson)

Outdoor shower

Go beyond a token beach theme in your decor and use function to dictate your decor ideas. Fast becoming a must-have in any beach house is an outdoor shower – nothing says holiday quite like it and in terms of practicality, it can certainly take the pressure off an indoor wet area when accommodation is at maximum capacity.

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