Colorful Coastal Design

You probably expect to see white and ocean blues as the dominant colors in a house by the water. Here's a look at how to capture a coastal style in more unexpected color palettes – there's really a rainbow of possibilities.
By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Kevin Mincin's California home mixes bold colors — like a sunny yellow room and a red door with slate blue walls. A collection of colorful surfboards on the wall serves double duty as display and storage.
Photograph by Bethany Nauert

Nothing says nautical like a giant glass buoy in your living room. Instead of choosing a typical color palette of light blues and coral, designer Tyler Karu added accents in red and pink mixed with grays. The rocking chair and throw add to the playful, cozy feeling of the space.
Design by Tyler Karu; photograph by Justin Levesque

The wing chair in designer Tyler Karu's Maine home is the star of the living room with its bold stripes of red, yellow, blue and green. The chair was reupholstered with an L.L. Bean blanket. The space draws on all the details you'd expect to see in a coastal home – nautical prints for wall art, bright white walls, even a rug with a wave pattern. What you don't see are accents in watery shades of blue, which makes the design feel more fresh and modern.
Photograph by Justin Levesque; design by Tyler Karu

Take a peek inside this Australian home that plays with colorful collections. On display, you see travel books, brightly colored dishes, and glass and ceramic pieces, as well as a painting of the beach. The striped textiles and white walls add to the cozy cottage style.
Design by Sarah Albrecht of Little Rock Boutique; photograph by Louise Albrecht, Little Rock Boutique

When you look at this living room, the pink textiles and architectural black trim are the colors that pop. The easygoing white slipcovered sofas, painted fireplace and pale blue walls give the pinks and blacks center stage. The giant model boat on the mantel stands out as the focal piece of art.
Photograph by Lisa and Frank Mackle

Here's a beach house with an urban California edge. Full of bold colors, personality and a little metal, Kevin Mincin's home displays his love of snowboarding and surfing.
Photograph by Bethany Nauert

It's easy to find beachy interiors decorated with layers upon layers of blue. Here's a coastal bedroom design by Amy Lau that features a monochromatic use of the color yellow. The framed art, stools, rug and accents are all shades of yellow. The wicker furniture and crisp white linens complement the mellow coastal style.
Design by Amy Lau Design; photograph by Kris Tamburello

Purple subway tile is an unexpected choice for a kitchen backsplash. The upper cabinets are also unique – the translucent straw-like texture of the cabinet fronts suggests a tiki-hut look. The fun layers of color and texture in this California kitchen work well for a beach house.
Design and photograph by David Stark Wilson/WA Design

There's no fear of color here. The bright accents in this cottage kitchen include pops of orange, turquoise, lime green, yellow and red. The pantry cabinet opens up to painted orange shelves and a colorful mix of dishes, setting a playful tone in the kitchen. And let's not forget the checkerboard floor of blue-and-white tiles. The whimsical color palette suits the laid-back beach cottage on Tybee Island in Georgia.
Design by Jane Coslick; photography by Jason Thrasher of Thrasher Photo & Design

You may see some of the same bold colors — navy, red, bright orange, electric green — in global style interiors. But this interior space feels distinctly beach cottage because the use of bright colors is paired with crisp white walls and cabinets. It's easy to create this whimsical cottage style in your space — all you need is a few quarts of paint and some found vintage pieces, like these wood stools.
Design by Jane Coslick; photography by Jason Thrasher of Thrasher Photo & Design

This coastal living room uses earth tones – just steers clear of ocean blues. A golden brown covers the walls and vaulted ceiling, adding a sense of height to the space. Shades of earthy greens are layered in with the furnishings and rugs. The white slipcovered sofa definitely says casual cottage style.
Design by Erika Firm of Delphine Press; photography by Jessica Davis

The green painted floors, kitchen table and cabinets in this coastal cottage have a vintage quality that almost has a green milk-glass quality. The open shelves display a rainbow assortment of bowls and plates. The pretty mismatched dishware adds to the casual, unfussy style you connect with a beach house.
Photograph by Lisa Warninger for Frolic!

The bathroom in this coastal cottage is painted green from the ceiling down to the floor, including the mirror frame. The hue has a soft quality, similar to a piece of sea glass you might find on the beach. It's the perfect shade of green for a house by the sea.
Photograph by Lisa Warninger for Frolic!

One glance at the painted floors in this entryway and you have a good sense of location; they say "vacation cottage." Painting floors with a glossy finish is the perfect choice for a home by the beach. That way, you don't have to worry about wet, sandy feet.
Photograph by Lisa Warninger for Frolic!

Sure, it's typical to find displays of seashells and starfish gracing the walls of a beach house. But there are unexpected ways to bring in outdoor touches of coastal charm, too. Here, a vintage painted door becomes the star of the living room. Its worn, vintage appeal and sorbet-orange color fits right into this California home.
Design by Stacey Sargent; photograph by Brooke Palmer for VogoImage

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