30 Cool, Coastal-Inspired Living Rooms

Are you dying to infuse the look and feel of summer into your home year-round? Bring coastal style to your living room with these inspirational design ideas, whether you're by the sea or not.

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July 29, 2019

©Lucas Allen

Photo By: Lisa Romerein (Styled by Elizabeth Demos)

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Lisa Romerein (Styled by Elizabeth Demos)

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: Designed by Kathryn Greeley

Photo By: Somerset Bay

Photo By: Aubrey Pick

New, Old, Beachy

Instead of drywall, the walls in this coastal living room are covered with pine planks designed to look like exposed studs. The slipcovered sofa is from Pottery Barn, and the striped rug is from Wayfair. Although they’re new purchases, they fit right in with the room’s vintage pieces, including the pine coffee table, which was a desk before homeowner Sandy Gingras cut down the legs.

Take a Tour: A New House With Old Charm

Waterfront Surroundings

Designer Sarah Richardson brings the comfort of the sea indoors through this cozy living space overlooking the water. To create that comfortable at-home look, she effortlessly mixes various patterns in a blue and sandy palette with whitewashed accents. Using minimal accessories, Sarah allows the wall-to-wall windows and outside views to take over as the room's focal point.

Coastal Blues

With a palette of maritime blues and dune-grass greens, this living room creates an easygoing coastal feel reminiscent of a charming seaside cottage. To mimic this airy and inviting space, decorate with soothing hues, seaside accessories, like beach glass and seashells, and seagrass furnishings. Photo courtesy of HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

Perfectly Paneled

For an airy island vibe, this living room’s board-and-batten paneling was painted crisp scallop-shell white (Parchment White by Glidden). The neutral walls serve as a backdrop for a rotating collection of inexpensive, casually propped waterscapes and the deep blue of the sofa homeowner Mary Kay Andrews found on Craigslist. She scored the 16-yard bolt of upholstery-grade denim used to cover it for $25 at an estate sale. The round walnut coffee table is a hand-me-down freebie--it’s the kitchen table from Mary Kay’s girlhood home cut down to 21 inches tall.

Take a Tour: Beach Cottage Bargain Decorating

Contemporary Retreat

Designer Darci Goodman infuses the homeowners' love for the ocean and their passion for modernism when designing this contemporary seaside retreat. Using traditional hues of white and navy blue as the primary palette, Darci also pulls in vibrant splashes of coral to create a sophisticated, summer-inspired space. However, it's the seashells and oversize coral accessories that really pull in that coastal feel.

Beach Views

Before the remodel, this living space didn't show off the pretty view of the Choctawhatchee Bay. So the homeowners installed French doors with trapezoid-shaped windows above them. Problem solved. Outdoor party supplies are stowed inside the storage benches that are covered with linen cushions and throw pillows.

Island Makeover

In this sunroom, white furniture--an IKEA sofa and two $20 rattan chairs from a flea market--sets an island-y tone, and graphic pillows and a striped grayish-blue and ivory Dash & Albert rug give it pops of pattern. To rehab the decades-old dresser, which came with the house, Vicky painted it off-white with aqua chevrons. "I was worried about a white sofa, but I read that HGTV’s Genevieve Gorder said you can just machine-wash the slipcover, and that gave me courage," says homeowner Vicky Patton.

See it before: From Gross to Great: An Island Home Makeover

Nautical Focal Point

Nothing appeals to coastal living quite like this vintage model ship in designer Sarah Richardson's summer home. She uses the piece as a welcoming focal point for guests as they enter the dining room/sitting area. This simple incorporation of nautical decor makes the boldest statement within the space.

Porch Retreat

Homeowner Mary Kay Andrews most jaw-dropping bargain: a 1930s collapsible walnut camp cot that she nabbed for just $10 at an estate sale. Cozied up with mattress-ticking pillows and bolsters, it’s a favorite spot for midday naps and doing puzzles with the grandkids. The mismatched rattan chairs, found at an estate sale, have identical cushions sewn from an awning-striped fabric from Warehouse Fabrics, so they look like a set.

Take a Tour: Beach Cottage Bargain Decorating

Shades of Seashell

The wall that surrounds this beachy living room's fireplace was made by setting real seashells and starfish in plaster of Paris. The sectional sofa is covered with durable white denim fabric, and the shag rug feels about as soft as the white sand outside.

Cottage Charm

A cottage-style living room can instantly illicit coastal charm with simple decorative details, like hanging starfish, a nautical-inspired lampshade and rope pillow tassels. To add to the subtle oceanic feel, designer Layla Palmer incorporates breezy white draperies, blue-and-white patterned throw pillows and beadboard walls.

White and Blue

"You can’t go wrong with blue and white--it’s beachy and classic," says homeowner Marnie Oursler, The host of DIY Network’s Big Beach Builds. A U-shaped brushed-linen sectional from Restoration Hardware is the pinnacle of cozy. It faces the fireplace, but it’s easy to talk to people in the kitchen while lounging on it. Marnie did shiplap walls (painted Pearly White by Sherwin-Williams), added white oak floors from Old Wood Delaware in a herringbone pattern and painted the back of the bar and the coffered ceilings pale blue (Iceberg by Sherwin-Williams). A polished nickel light fixture and a stainless steel range hood tie the spaces together.

Take a Tour: My Real-Life Big Beach Build

Let the Light In

When it came to their vacation house, homeowners Bill and Meghan Cashel were craving, "An open, airy hangout space with tons of sunlight and soothing colors," they share with HGTV Magazine. And they certainly got her wish. The linen curtains in their living room fit the aesthetic well. They're heavy enough to block the sun, but their loose weave still allows light to filter in.

Take a Tour: Cool Ways to Beach Up Your House

Elegant Living

This stylish Nantucket-style home is the definition of sophisticated oceanfront living. Although the room features waves of sea blue for classic appeal, a subdued shade of coral creates an air of warmth and serves as the primary palette. And, of course, no coastal digs are complete without marine life decor. Here, designer Bruce Palmer integrates elegant sea-inspired patterns onto the window treatments, throw pillows, window seat cushions and artwork. Design by Bruce Palmer; construction by Dewson Construction Company; architecture by Olivieri, Shousky & Kiss, PA; photography by John Jenkins

Going With Gray

Instead of typical coastal blue and white, design expert Vern Yip did the living room of his beach house in shades of gray. "I didn’t want to compete with the amazing view," he says. The gray sofas and ottomans are upholstered in performance fabric he designed (available at Calico); the custom coffee table is quartz; and the nylon rug is by Milliken. Vern kept the existing stone fireplace because he liked the unexpected warmth it added. “It has brown and amber tones that make the color scheme a little less stark,” he says.

Take a Tour: A Very Vern Beach House

Island Breezes

With windows swung open and a cool coastal breeze whisking through, designer Trent Hultgren has brought a true island feel to this tranquil living space. He brings the feel of seaside living inside through the room's all-white palette accented by seagrass furnishings, bamboo and nature-inspired pops of yellow-green.

Beachy Blues

This blue, beachy living room is bold, but pops of crisp white balance it out. For a room with bright walls, David Bromstad, Host of HGTV's My Lottery Dream Home recommends keeping your furniture neutral. "Think natural woods with crisp white or rich cream upholstery," says David. "This will help the blue feel like a backdrop rather than competition for your eye."

See More: Color Consultation With David Bromstad

Sea-Inspired Mix

Designer Allison Jaffe uses a subtle mix of Asian, Indian and coastal-inspired design elements to create the perfect eclectic blend in this living room. A coastal look is represented through the various blue accents, the basket of sea treasures and beach glass accessories.

Traditional Palette

Using a subdued palette of blues and greens, designer Kathryn Greeley creates a traditional seaside escape with all the classic must-haves: vintage coastal prints and pillows, a seagrass Roman shade and a beadboard ceiling.

Subtle Accents

Designer Kathy Hoffman offers a subtle nod to coastal living in this traditional great room. A sandy, neutral color palette is accented with light blues and nautical stripes. And if a home can't be on the water, why not bring the comfort of waterfront living to the interior? An oversize harbor painting above the mantel brings that feeling straight home.

Rustic Yet Refined

HGTV fan dgabriele uses neutral hues and seashell decor to create a chic sea-inspired living space. A mix of distressed furniture and white accents showcases the casual elegance of a refined yet rustic space.

Beachy Sophistication

Nothing says "coastal living" quite like an open living room/kitchen with boat prints, ropes, pulleys, sailboats and mermaid statues. Designer Cindy Aplanalp even outfits the furniture in stark white slipcovers to contrast with the rustic furnishings and brushed-nickel fixtures. For an unexpected touch, Cindy centers the room with a brown-and-tan zebra print area rug.

Nautical Cottage

Soft neutral hues, found objects and distressed white furnishings deliver a contemporary, nautical take on traditional coastal living. While primarily incorporating sandy hues to mirror the beach, HGTV fan rkm1213 also sneaks in hints of turquoise around the space to add a vibrant color that immediately draws your eyes to every part of the room.

Natural Comfort

The outer wall of the house opens up completely to ocean views, thanks to sliding glass doors. Gauzy shades filter the light and the whole space exudes calm.

Ready for Guests

For this traditional living room, designer Darci Goodman uses lots of linen and turquoise to create a sand- and sea-inspired color palette ideal for guests and the homeowners alike. The room feels perfectly cozy and inviting thanks to a mix of flea market furnishings topped with seashells and heirloom accessories.

Contemporary Twist

This Delaware beach home pulls out all the stops, from sliding French doors leading to an outdoor waterfront balcony to sleek ebony built-ins. With a transitional aesthetic in mind, the coastal elements are only integrated through the yellow-green and turquoise accents, the small seashell accessories and the seagrass arm chairs. Design by Bruce Palmer; construction by Dewson Construction Company; architecture by Bernardon Haber Holloway; photography by John Jenkins

Grandeur Appeal

Stepping into the two-story great room of that same Nantucket-style home, designer Bruce Palmer continues his theme of elegant coastal living by featuring traditional marine-inspired prints and decor. Although slightly understated by the grandeur of the candle chandeliers and coffered ceiling, the coastal accessories still beautifully represent the home's natural surroundings. Design by Bruce Palmer; construction by Dewson Construction Company; architecture by Olivieri, Shousky & Kiss, PA; photography by John Jenkins

Sea Tones

In this casually elegant living room, designer Allison Rejeanne uses the home's surroundings as inspiration to create the ultimate spot for rest and relaxation. The aqua- and sandy-hued palette is the perfect balance of color and neutrality, while also bringing in natural sea-inspired tones. To pull in more of that beachy feel, Allison adds colored glass bottles, a glass ball lamp wrapped in fisherman's netting, coral pieces and distressed furnishings.

Oceanic Details

Designer Allison Rejeanne wants this living room/entryway to feature a wavy, oceanic feel through its architectural and decorative details. The rails on the stairs are used to represent waves of the ocean, along with the slight curve of the staircase. The marble mosaic medallion at the base of the stairs features a shell and wave pattern in shades of sea green and gray to add color to the floor. In the living room, Allison coordinates rattan, sisal and weathered furnishings for a relaxed coastal look.

Casual Hideout

In this seaside sitting area, less is more. The team at SPI Design uses minimal furnishings to create a simple and soothing spot to coordinate with the ocean views. The African-style coffee table, Guadalajaran rocking chair and sisal area rug all complement each other to create a sense of balance and serenity.

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