By Debbie Watson
Many of us dream of living by the coast: the fresh sea air, long walks along the beach, the sound of the sea – it’s a world away from our fast-paced everyday lives. Whether situated on the beautiful Norfolk coast, on the exotic island of Mustique or in the exclusive Hamptons, a beach house should encourage relaxation by embracing and reflecting its natural surroundings. Think beyond nautical motifs and classic navy and white stripes: this is how to do coastal chic.
Add a splash of colourThere’s something enchanting about a completely white room; it has an immediate calming effect so is perfect if your beach house is somewhere to escape from the stresses of modern life. Only a hint of colour is required; accents in classic coastal shades of blue and turquoise help to bring the space alive, whilst also giving a subtle nod to the sea and sky beyond.
Find the light Natural light is an excellent decorating tool, and should be used to its full potential where possible in a beach house. Position key pieces of furniture near the windows so that that the space is flooded with light from sunrise to sunset, allowing you to sit back and admire the amazing view. Prevent any light from being obscured by accessorising with pieces in glass (such as coloured glass lamps) so the light can pass through these objects and continue to illuminate the room.
Keep it natural Bring warmth to your coastal scheme by using natural textures throughout; for example, a coffee table made from recycled wood looks like it was salvaged from driftwood strewn along the beach (you could even pretend it was!). Choose natural fabrics for soft furnishings such as cotton, linen and jute in neutral colours to create a rustic home-spun look with a multitude of different textures.
Bring the outside in Furniture and accessories should enhance the beach house, with each piece alluding to the location and adding character in the process. Shells and coral gathered on walks along the beach make wonderful vignettes on a console or sideboard, but if you don’t happen to find anything, cheat! Pieces made from natural driftwood such as candle holders and mirrors not only blend in beautifully with the coastal scheme, but also fulfil a practical function.
Avoid straight lines Follow the natural curves of the sand and sea by choosing furniture with curved edges, such as dining chairs with horseshoe-shaped backs, circular mirrors and round tables instead of linear ones. The whole look should flow easily from piece to piece and room to room, mimicking the constant movement of the tide.