A sense of place is essential to any successful interior design, whether it’s a sandy beach on your doorstep or the fields that stretch out beyond your back gate. But knowing when a reference becomes pastiche is key.
“When designing an interior with coastal decor ideas, subtlety is the golden rule,” suggests interior designer Emma Sims Hilditch. “There are many clever ways to hint at the location of a home by the sea without getting carried away by nautical trends and an excess of blue, white and red.”
Emma owns a home in Cornwall and has decorated quite a few beachside homes through her design agency, Sims Hilditch. Her advice is to tone down the sailor style for a more understated coastal aesthetic – here she explains now to find the right balance of beach house ideas.
Founded in 2009, Sims Hilditch design practice has grown into one of the most trusted and respected in the industry. His couture approach combines interior design, interior design and supply management in a fully bespoke service from concept to completion. Creative Founder Emma Sims-Hilditch is passionate about the idea that good design can change not only how people live, but also how they feel. By creating characterful, beautiful and intelligent interiors, Emma and the team at Sims Hilditch empower their clients to radically improve the quality of their lives.
open the room
To create an airy and spacious feel befitting a coastal home, Emma recommends punching through walls to open up the space whenever possible. That could mean looking for open plan kitchen ideas or ways to create an open concept living room. But there is another surprising room that can help perfect the nautical look.
“This is especially effective when you are looking at entryway ideas as it sets the tone for the rest of the house. Adding a rough layer of boards to the ceiling of this room adds some texture and charm, and when painted in a 50:50 paint/water emulsion, it evokes the fresh sea backdrop that surrounds the home. “
This could also be the opportunity to combine the inside of your home with the coastal garden ideas outside.
Find your focus
Often a seaside living room that benefits from a beautiful view focuses on the scene outside the window. However, according to Emma, this isn’t always the best way to organize a room.
“The living room in my Cornish house has a lovely view of the bay beyond, but I arranged the furniture in the room so that the fireplace was the focal point,” she says. “This allows the view to act as a beautiful backdrop for the space while remaining a practical, social and welcoming space.”
This option works well for family room ideas with fireplaces, allowing you to maximize the cozy gatherings associated with a beach house while making the most of the coastal setting.
Incorporate coastal artwork
Decorating with art is an excellent way to interpret a home’s seaside location inside. You might think of seascapes and beach views, photographs of boats and yachts, or artwork depicting coastal plants and flowers.
“Artwork is a great way to show off a home’s waterfront location,” agrees Emma. ‘Visit local artists, dealers and antique specialists to find paintings, ornaments and crockery that represent the area and hang them throughout your home.’
Add Hamptons style shutters
If you want to bring a touch of New England coastal style into your home, start with the window treatments, Emma suggests.
“Shutters create a wonderful Hamptons-style aesthetic that’s perfect for a coastal home,” she says. “In addition, they’re a great solution for disguising awkwardly shaped windows in a pitched roof that just can’t accommodate curtains or blinds.”
Color, shape and size of the slats should be taken into account in your roller shutter ideas. For a beachy look, the emphasis is on coastal colors and designs that allow you to regulate and enhance the natural light in your home.
Curate your coastal color palette
“A palette of cool whites paired with blue-grey accents works well in a coastal interior,” says Emma.
“Note that the colors seem to change throughout the day depending on how the light hits them, so I recommend ordering samples before purchasing your paint. I have used Farrow & Ball School House White on the ceiling and woodwork in my Cornish home, paired with Shaded White on the walls and De Nimes on the joinery.”