Simple ways to update tired beach house trends.
Story by Michaela Satterfield
Seashells and mermaids and pineapples, oh my! When you hear the term “beach house,” we wouldn’t be surprised if one of these classic sea motifs came to mind. We’re also guessing those mental images brought a swirl of bright, tropical colors with them. The classic beach house look isn’t completely out, but it may need a bit of tweaking to keep up with current interior design trends. Lucky for us, design trends that are popular right now work well with beach houses, and it won’t be hard to find the perfect décor. Here is a glimpse of what’s in and what’s out so you can bring the latest style to your Lowcountry beach house.
Keep it minimal
For starters, you’re going to need to check the house for any overused sea-themed motifs – we’re looking at you, seashells and ships. Anchors, palm trees and fish are included too. It’s not that you can’t use these iconic symbols at all, but you’ll need to use them tastefully. “Less is more” in this case. While you’re at it, it’s also time to kick the clutter. Minimalism is a trend that works well with beach houses, so take this opportunity to bring a crisp and clean touch to your home. It’ll be a breath of air fresher than a walk along the shore.
Instead of this: Filling your home with every seashell, anchor and fish decoration you can find…
Try this: Choose your favorite sea motif and select only a few curated pieces to display the theme.
Start with color
If you’re having trouble getting past the thought of a beach house without excessive beach motifs (we get it, they’ve been around for ages), switch gears by structuring the entire design around a color scheme. Bright corals and aqua blues may be tempting, but they’ve gotten a little worn out. The days of resting with a softer color scheme are here. Think earthy – lots of neutrals, paired with some subdued blues and greens. Swap aqua with sky blue and coral with terracotta orange. Colors like these mimic nature, which is the perfect vibe for lazing by the ocean. This is already common beach house protocol, but don’t forget to use lots of white, too.
Instead of this: Designing your home around a beachy pattern or theme…
Try this: Pick out a color scheme and fit the rest of the design around it.
Lay a firm foundation
Like we said earlier, natural wood is your friend when it comes to designing a modern beach house. Flooring shouldn’t be perfectly matched, but choosing wood that is a similar shade, such as light or dark, will keep your home consistent. Arranging the wood in a pattern, like herringbone, is another way to add interest to your home. When in doubt, traditional planks in alternating sizes are a classic choice. If wood flooring seems too harsh, cozy area rugs will add the perfect touch of comfort.
Instead of this: Making carpet the flooring of choice throughout the home…
Try this: Use wood flooring, but add plenty of area rugs in various shapes, sizes and patterns.
Play with texture
Since we’re taking it easy with the sea motifs, you may be wondering how to add some interest to your beach house. The answer? Texture. Texture can add just as much interest as motifs, but in a more subtle way. If you use wicker, be sure to choose lighter pieces. Linen and cotton are timeless classics to use throughout the whole house. Slipcoverings is one way to do this. Use natural wood to mimic the wild shores of unmanicured beaches filled with driftwood – nix the perfectly slick, factory-made wood. Incorporate these textures with the use of furniture, baskets, accents and finishes.
Instead of this: Filling your rooms with matching sets of heavy, wicker furniture…
Try this: Add a few light, airy wicker pieces here and there, such as a basket
or a single chair.
Add the finishing touches
Good design is always in the details. By now, you’re probably tired of us telling you to keep sea motifs to a minimum and may be wondering what you can do with them. Here are some ideas. Add an accent wall with patterned wallpaper covered in sea motifs. Don’t go crazy and cover your whole house with it, but a single wall in a bathroom or dining room could be just the conversation piece your house needs. Another option is to add some simple sea motif wall art. Don’t overdo it – a few canvases here and there will do the trick. Use a sea sculpture as the centerpiece of a coffee table or on a bookshelf. Additionally, you could add some plants around the home. These are popular in most interior design styles at the moment, but would work especially well in a beach house with tropical influences.
Instead of this: Covering a whole room in sea-themed, patterned wallpaper…
Try this: Choose one wall to cover and use as an accent wall.