Just Bought Your First Beach House Design and Decor Inspiration

Just Bought Your First Beach House Design and Decor Inspiration

A home right on the beach. You’ve always dreamed about it–the walking distance to a sandy stroll, seafood joints all around and nothing but incredible sunsets to end the day. But now that the dreamy beach home is yours, how do you plan to decorate it?

Here are a few inspirational ideas to help you design and decorate your first beach house.

Bring in the Salty Sea Air

If your beach home still has a new house smell, allow the salty sea air to create a more lived-in feel. Without opening windows, which may give your space an unpleasant mustiness, light oceanic-scented beach candles instead. Alternatively, you could also choose a beach oil diffuser. A reed diffuser is a nice way to add a scent when you have loved ones with respiratory conditions or pets.

Mix in Nautical Stripes and Lines


Stripes and lines can give your beach house a nautical feel. Navy blue pinstripe throw pillows along the sofa or bed or even an entire upholstered accent chair are the perfect addition to a coastal cottage, yet chic and modern enough for a posh oceanside condo. If you have a smaller, compact room, place a striped rug down that gives the illusion of the space being longer or wider.

To add, it doesn’t have to be fabric stripes either! For instance, you can apply vertical wood panels like beadboard or wainscotting along the walls, creating lines that draw the eyes up and make a ceiling look higher. Plus, they make a great DIY project for first-time beach house homebuyers! All you have to do is paint them in the color palette of your choosing. However, a bright white tone is always a classic choice. Beadboard walls aside, you can also incorporate a panel style bed frame or furniture.

Welcome Natural Wickers and Rattans

Bring in elements and materials like wickers, rattans and seagrass. These fibrously-textured, woven rope-like fibers bring in a natural coastal look and are coming back in style–especially wicker furniture!

Think wicker-wrapped bamboo stools at the kitchen island or even a woven rope-light pendant hanging above. You can also incorporate a seagrass or sisal area rug along the floor. It’s worth noting many of these natural materials are green-friendly, allergen-reducing and renewable, too.

Of course, don’t forget the quintessential beach house furniture piece–the wicker chair. Today, you can find all sorts of modern and contemporary wicker styles of furniture. Plus, they are reasonably affordable and lightweight, which makes them a perfect fit for your new coastal home.

Even if you’re not into natural rattan-like furniture, a simple wicker hanging basket with a tropical plant can add a subtle hint.

Use a Coastal-Hued Color Palette

Choose a color palette with hues and tones that bring to mind the deep blue sea, sandy shores and sunsets. What is that, exactly? Corals, turquoise, tropical greens and dark navy blues are a great place to start. Mingle these shades with lighter pastels like seafoam greens, soft shell pinks, light blues, sand-colored creams and bright whites.

On the other hand, you can go with a more elegant, modern design. Use a striking black and crisp white combo, set off by wood tones and your choice of a pop of color–indigo blue, coral or green–to tie it all up nicely.

Dress Furniture in Crisp Slipcovers

Dress up your upholstered furniture in a slipcover for a crisp, clean look to your beach house. Choose between cotton or linen and aim for a bright white, classic khaki or beige to bring in a beachy vibe. Consider adding slipcovers to the more commonly used furniture pieces, such as the living room furniture and dining chairs.

What’s wonderful about slipcovers is they can adapt to many styles. From a charming Cape Cod bungalow to a contemporary Miami condo unit, slipcovers work effortlessly into your beach house, covering overstuffed sofas and more.

Slipcovers are also incredibly convenient should you plan to rent out your beach house. If an accidental stain occurs, you can simply throw it in the wash with a little bleach–good as new without ruining your entire dining chair.

Create Tablescapes and Focal Areas with Beach Decor


Make sure to layer your wicker or slipcovered furniture and coastal tone walls with a little beach-inspired decor. Whether it’s a driftwood-base glass coffee table or a dining room table, create a coastal tablescape with shells, driftwood and smooth beach glass and stones. Pampas grass has come back in style, too!

For the dining table, roll out a rattan or bamboo runner or coastal-colored linen beneath the tablescape, coordinating it with other necessary items like plate chargers and napkin rings. Hand-blown glass elements offer a nice touch to a beach house, especially as a margarita or wine glass. While only brought out for meals, you can wrap it all up nicely with coastal-themed plates and serveware. Think sand-colored stoneware mugs and plates with a tropical palm-painted trim.

Aside from tablescapes, you can also layer your beach decor along the walls. Hang vintage black and white historical photos of the local boardwalk or create a wall collage of your own family photos. You can even hang netting near your entry, clipping to it found seaside objects, recent photos and other memorabilia as you make your beach house more of a home.

Use Whitewashed and Weathered Woods

Just as you might mix in some driftwood decor, you want to use whitewashed and weathered woods. Instead of painting a pure white, a translucent stain of white works in your favor to give a furniture piece or kitchen cabinets a more rugged, sand-scuffed charm.

In fact, this works for all sorts of weathered wood looks. Place a few vintage and time-worn furniture pieces or decorative items throughout your beach house for a carefree surfer vibe. Natural tones of weathered driftwood or whitewashed elements can offer a neutral touch and foundation to your coastal cottage, especially when used in hardwood flooring or cabinets.