Design Style – Coastal

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Design Style – Coastal

Coastal Design Style

When I think of Coastal design style, an abundance of natural light and an airy relaxed look is what comes to mind.

You do not have to live by the coast or even near it to enjoy a beautiful Coastal design style.

The coastal aesthetic is common for properties in close proximity to the water, whether it be the ocean, lakeside house or cottage on a river.

But it can also be in an urban environment with a backyard oasis that exudes a similar feeling. That’s kind of the best of both worlds!

Coastal Colours

As with any design style, Coastal has a range of distinct colours that help create this look.

Let me share three inspiring Coastal colours that will give you a great starting point if you are considering this design style for your own home.

Sherwin Williams – Sea Salt 6204

This is a lovely and subtle green with a slight blue undertone. The colour it appears can change depending on lighting and other elements, just like the sea itself.

This is one of the most popular colours from Sherwin Williams and I did a colour review of Sea Salt that you can read here.

Sea Salt, paint, sherwin williams
Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams

If this colour speaks to you, I have created an entire colour palette for it that you can check out.

My Sea Salt Perfect Colour Palette provides decorating inspiration and colour combinations if you are considering this calming colour for an upcoming home project.

Benjamin Moore – Van Deusen Blue HC-156

No colour says coastal more than blue and Van Deusen Blue is a great choice. This deep blue is clean, crisp and rich! It looks amazing as part of a coastal palette.

Van Deusen Blue, paint, benjamin moore
Van Deusen Blue by Benjamin Moore

Get more helpful and inspiring information from my Van Deusen Blue colour review here.

Look how great Van Deusen Blue looks on the vanity in this bathroom makeover!

We kept the original quartz counter, the flooring, mirror and sconces for this ‘refresh’ design.

Van Deusen Blue vanity, blue glass sink, round mirror,
Van Deusen blue bathroom vanity. Photo by Stephani Buchman

The vessel sink also stayed and that was where the inspiration came for the vanity colour and overall palette.

We then repeated the blues in the artwork and Roman blind which add a bit of that coastal feel to this urban home.

The paint colour, Natural Linen CC -90 by Benjamin Moore was thoughtfully selected after looking at the tones in the countertop.

See this entire Burlington client project here which also includes a stunning new home office as well as a casual, yet classy, living room.

In another project that we refer to as ‘Gray Owl and Coastal Cozy’ in our portfolio, you can see this deep blue colour on the fabric of the accent chairs.

Informal Living Room With Custom Upholstered Blue Chair And Ikat Area Rug

Sherwin Williams – Extra White 7006

No coastal palette is complete without a great white – not shark, but paint colour that is! Sherwin Williams has a perfect one, Extra White.

Extra White, paint, sherwin williams
Extra White

Being a true white it pairs wonderfully with Sea Salt and Van Deusen Blue to bring a cohesive coastal colour palette into your home.

Get more information on this trending white by Sherwin Williams from my colour review here.

See below for how fresh this colour combination looks when they are all put together.

Sea Salt, Van Deusen Blue, Extra White Coastal Design Style
Coastal Design Style Colour Palette

Such a stunning combination, you can almost smell the sun and hear the waves gently lapping against the shoreline.

Aaahh, can you tell it’s been way too long since I’ve been on a beach holiday?!

Design Details

What are some of the signature details of the Coastal aesthetic? Let’s take a look.

White Oak Flooring

Such a durable wood, white oak is also more resistant to water and rot than most other species.

It must be as it was used for shipbuilding and whiskey barrel making. And now it’s being used to create beautiful spaces in homes looking for an airy and natural coastal look.

White Oak Flooring By Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring
White Oak Flooring By Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring

White Oak can come in so many colours. A more natural, organic colour as seen above or the popular whitewashed which will help reflect light and keep your interior nice and bright.

Hakwood European White Oak Flooring
Hakwood White Oak flooring


Shiplap can be used in both Coastal décor as well as Farmhouse design.

Both interior design styles can be achieved, depending on the other decorative elements you combine with the shiplap within a space.

Shiplap Mudroom Coastal
Shiplap wall in a mudroom that leans a little more to the ‘Farmhouse’ look

Another image from our Gray Owl and Coastal Cozy project is seen below with the shiplap fireplace to accentuate the high ceilings of this Great Room.

Beautiful Living Room With Shiplap Fireplace Burlington On
Photo by Stephani Buchman. Design by Claire Jefford Inc.

If you love the soft blue-green wall colour Gray Owl, then be sure to read my review of this popular Benjamin Moore colour.

Another Coastal inspired project featuring shiplap

Another Burlington client project of an entire home we have redesigned is currently underway.

My client is a sailing enthusiast so it wasn’t a surprise she was drawn to a coastal vibe.

She owns a beautiful piece of custom artwork that we used as the jumping-off point for the living room design!

You can see below in the design of the asymmetrical custom built-in media unit, we are using a vertical shiplap on the fireplace. The entire unit is Cloud White by Benjamin Moore.

Coastal Design Style Vertical Shiplap Built Ins Wall Art Ship Artwork Cloud White Benjamin Moore Living Room
Rendering of client’s new living room space with vertical shiplap on fireplace design

White or cream are the ‘traditional’ tones we are used to seeing shiplap done in, but it doesn’t have to be this way all the time.

Don’t be afraid to add colour!

If you read my blog post with the latest 2022 interior design trends from the Kitchen and Bath Show, you may recall this image below with the warm, clay coloured vertical shiplap as a backdrop to a bathroom vanity vignette.

Terracotta, shiplap, vertical shiplap, cream vanity, black taps,
Vertical shiplap in warm terracotta colour

Another outstanding example of using colour on your shiplap can be seen here in a coastal-inspired kitchen island in River Blue 2057-10 by Benjamin Moore.

I also love how In Detail Interiors repeated this rich teal tone in the light pendants above. Exquisite design!

Coastal Design Styles, River Blue, benjamin moore, Shiplap, Island, white heron
Kitchen island with shiplap in River Blue by Benjamin Moore, Design by In Detail Interiors

If you are looking for a slightly deeper shade of blue, try looking at Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball.

Casual Furniture

There shouldn’t be anything pretentious in coastal design. The goal is to be super relaxed and comfortable. The furniture you select should only add to the chill, clean vibe of the Coastal design.

Design Style Coastal, casual, relaxed, furniture
Casual furniture helps with the laid back coastal vibe

While I’m not loving the backdrop of the gray paint colour on the walls in this image below, if you swapped it out with a fresh paint colour like Sea Salt and added some blue pillows, it would definitely come to life and be more indicative of Coastal design.

The accessories on the bookshelves, the rattan furniture and sisal rug are all fitting for a coastal feel.

Design Style Coastal, cane furniture, comfy sofa, slipcover
Super comfy sofa and lots of natural wood tones

Fabrics & Textures


Always a classic material and often seen used in coastal design, linen is the perfect fabric for drapery and accents like tea towels in the kitchen.

Coastal Design Styles Blog Simple Linen Fabric

Its natural look and lightweight makes linen the ideal fabric to use, making a home inviting as well as relaxed.

Design Style, Coastal, linen, fabric
Lightweight and natural – linen is a perfect fabric for Coastal interiors


Organic in feel and colour, Jute is frequently used in coastal designs for accessories and rugs.

Blue Striped Jute Rug
Indigo striped jute rug – LD Shoppe
Coastal Design Styles, structube jute baskets, jute, cotton rope
Jute and cotton rope baskets

Loose Looped Pile Rugs

Berber style rugs are soft to the touch and often seen with a subtle variation of other colours mixed in.

But I will say, after having had wall to wall looped rugs such as this in my basement for over 10 years, they do go flat after a while. Something to consider if you are thinking of purchasing this style of rug.

Coastal Design Styles Blog Loose Looped Pile
Loose looped pile
Coastal Design Styles Blog Large Looped Pile Rug
Loose Looped pile rug

Coastal Decor

There are many fantastic décor items that really lend themselves to the Coastal design style, too many to mention all of them here.

But let’s discuss a couple.

Artwork depicting water scenery

Harvest Table Large Black Metal Pendant Chandelier
Vertical framed art with waves in a dining room design by Claire Jefford Inc.
Coastal Design Style Vertical Shiplap Built Ins Cloud White Benjamin Moore Living Room
A client’s beautiful sailboat painting was the inspiration for this living room design (3D rendering)

Clocks and Stripes

Coastal Kitchen Rope Clock Striped Fabric Blinds
Coastal inspired kitchen design by Claire Jefford Inc
White Custom Cabinetry Large Clock Claire Jefford
Rope style clock close up

See more of this Burlington interior design project we called Ocean Blue and Sterling Stripes in our portfolio.

Striped Roman Blind, Coastal Kitchen Design
Striped Roman blinds add coastal appeal to this kitchen design

In addition to the striped roman blinds shown in the kitchen design mentioned above, striped pillows are also a sure hit for coastal-inspired homes.

Coastal Perfect Colour Palettes

Loving the look of the Coastal design style?

Let me help you achieve this relaxing feel with my Perfect Colour Palettes to give you all the colours you need to pull off a gorgeous Coastal interior.

Sherwin Williams Coastal palette
Coastal Style Sherwin Williams
Sherwin Williams Coastal Perfect Colour Palette – 10 colours
Benjamin Moore Coastal palette
Coastal Style Benjamin Moore (1)
10 Coastal colours by Benjamin Moore
Farrow & Ball Coastal palette
Coastal Farrow & Ball
10 complementary Coastal Colour by Farrow & Ball
Sea Salt Perfect Colour Palette
Sea Salt Sherwin Williams
Van Deusen Blue Perfect Colour Palette
Van Deusen Blue Benjamin Moore (1)
Extra White Perfect Colour Palette
Extra White Sherwin Williams
Gray Owl Perfect Colour Palette
Gray Owl Benjamin Moore 1
Hague Blue Perfect Colour Palette
Hague Blue Farrow & Ball

Colour Quiz

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Colour Quiz Blog Graphic 500 X 750 2 1

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Coastal Design Style Blog Pinterest Graphics
(2) Comments
  • Sandra
    | 22 April 2023

    can you tell me the paint color in the combined kitchen family room with the sea grass chairs at the kitchen table please.

    • Claire Jefford
      | 23 April 2023

      Hi Sandra. This is one of the few stock images on this blog post. My best guess is that the paint colour on the wall looks similar to Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist or Collingwood. You could also look at Anew Gray by Sherwin Williams.

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