No need to be all at sea with interiors

There’s something special about being close to water, wide expanses of sea and sky, and living with open doors and broad horizons.

Saturday, 6th July 2013, 5:00 pm
Next's collection of coastal style accessories including beach hut cushion, £12; reversible deckchair cushion, £12; reversible Catch of the Day cushion, all from Next. PA Photo/Handout.

Coastal homes are the fantasy of many, and the privilege of few. But so captivating is their style that it returns every year, sending a wave of seaside-inspired looks through interiors both near and far from the coast.

“Cool, calming colours, natural materials, whitewashed floors and soft flowing linens are all indispensable elements of such homes, but so too is a robust practicality,” says Sally Hayden, author of At The Waters Edge.

“These are spaces that allow us to be completely relaxed and carefree. They have an informal ‘kick off your shoes’ simplicity that invites relaxation.”

While the trend endures, like ocean ripples, the breadth of interpretation is ever expanding.

It ranges from the jaunty pastiche - with blue and white stripes, seaside signs and nautical paraphernalia - to a sophisticated, understated approach, which relies on natural materials, sun-bleached colour palettes and beachcomber finds.

“Open-plan living is well suited to waterside or holiday homes, which are often places for an escape from everyday life,” says Hayden.

“It promotes an easy flow, as well as optimising the available light and space. Practical, hard-working kitchens extend into airy, unfussy living spaces, which ideally have large windows offering the best vantage point for the surrounding landscape.”

Here, experts in seaside chic share their ideas, to help steer you on a stylish course.

Watery hues

Calming shades which reflect the ocean are often incorporated into coastal colour schemes, to capture the sense of tranquility and harmony we associate with water.

Whiter shade of pale

An all-white interior is an obvious choice for a waterside home, says Hayden, because it creates a cool, crisp and airy environment, as well as a blank canvas against which to display collections of marine treasures.

Buoyant & beachy

The allure of the seaside is also about having fun, and that can apply to rooms.

“Blues are a natural choice for a nautical look,” says Rebecca Thompson, senior colour and design manager at Dulux.

Beachcombing finds

The pieces we display are an expression of our individual taste, and they can range from tasteful to witty, says Hayden.