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Three Beach Themed Decorating Ideas

Whether you live along one of North America’s fantastic and scenic shorelines or you dream of a home on your own tropical isle though you closer to the mountains than the sea, these beach theme decorating ideas will help you create a room or even a whole house that exudes the calming and refreshing feeling of oceanfront living.

A few basic ideas to remember for all beach and coastal decorating:

  • Create a clean, calming and refreshing atmosphere.
  • Use a natural color scheme in light colors and pastels like sandy tans and beiges, cool blues and pale yellows, complemented with a few accent colors. Trim in bright white.
  • Incorporate natural fibers such as wicker furniture, bamboo or jute rugs, and soft cotton towels or bedspreads.
  • Use minimal window treatments like white sheers or roman shades allowing natural light to fill the room.
  • Incorporate accent pieces that go with your theme through the use of lighting, throw pillows and art work, but remember not to overdo it. 

New England & Nautical Style
Generally associated with the shores of New England, nautical style decorating is easily carried over to the coastlines of North America’s Pacific Northwest, particularly the shores of Washington and Oregon. Here are a few ideas to help you get started with your New England flavored room.

  • Consider covering your walls with painted wainscoting half way up for a dramatic look.
  • Cover furniture cushions with white and navy blue striped material.
  • Paint furniture pieces with chippy paint giving it a weathered or distressed look.
  • Use an old lobster trap for an end table, coffee table or even storage for movies, CDs and books.
  • Bring the outdoors in by decorating the room in your home that connects with a large covered porch in the New England style.
  • Hang paintings or photos of harbor scenes, fishing wharfs, boats and ships.
  • Decorate with natural elements. Use large smooth stones for bookends or place an interesting piece of driftwood on a bookshelf.
  • Accent you room by hanging a nautical flag or fishing nets on the wall or by mounting oars or fishing poles in a place where they will draw attention.
  • Choose old lanterns for lighting as well as a figural lamp that has a base shaped like a lighthouse or ship.
  • Hang a mirror made to look like a porthole.
  • Finish your room with smaller items like throw pillows with a sea gulls print, towels with embroidered nautical flags or ship wheels, door mats shaped like spyglasses or seashells, and dishes with a lobster or blue crab design painted on them.
  • Finally, make your own message in a bottle. Write a note to yourself and others describing all the things you did to give your room New England character and tell how much fun you had doing it. Display it on a shelf or the mantle. Guests will love taking that piece of paper out of the bottle reading what you had to say about decorating your coastal room when you did it, and years from now, you’ll have a reminder of the creativity you used to decorate such an amazing room.

Florida & Gulf Coast Style
Rooms that make the best Florida beach themed spaces in a home are those that incorporate large windows, walls of glass and good views. That doesn’t mean a bathroom or the recreation room in the basement can’t be finished with Gulf Coast style, because coastal decorating never goes out of style no matter what room you choose. This type of decorating can lead to a relaxing space or one that is tons of fun. So be creative and start decorating as if you live on one of Florida’s sunny shores.

  • Make your space open, airy and inviting. Eliminate a crowded feel by using a few pieces of well-chosen furniture instead of too many pieces or oversized pieces.
  • If possible, combine your beach themed room with an outdoor living space for cooling off such as a patio and poola breezy deck or a covered lanai with a summer kitchen/grilling porch.
  • Install light stained hardwood floors and accent with area rugs that match your color scheme.
  • Hang whispy curtains and open windows when possible to let warm gentle breezes fill the room.
  • Use natural fibers. Consider a woven area rug, wooden chairs and cotton covered throw pillows.
  • Display a dolphin collection or throw blanket with dolphins on it.
  • Create visual interest with a salt water fish tank and fill it with brightly colored tropical fish.
  • Make a candle-scape for a shelf, end table or dining room table centerpiece using candles that match your color scheme. Arrange an odd number of candles in a flat glass dish and accent with sand and sea shells.
  • Incorporate artwork and photos reflecting ocean scenes, ocean fishing, boats and beach life.
  • Arrange family photos in picture frames lined with seashells or starfish.
  • Install pendant lighting with cool ocean colors.
  • Have fun with other accents like drawer pulls, drinking glasses, serving trays, towels and small lamps that incorporate other beach themed things such as crabs, sandpipers, sharks, lifeguard towers, pelicans, anchors, flip flops and umbrellas.

Hawaii, California and Tropical Island Style
If you wish you could live in Hawaii or on your own tropical island or perhaps you just want to visit California for a bit, you can bring home the feeling of these exciting beach places just by decorating a room in your house. These ideas will help you decorate a room with an island feel.

  • Accent neutral colored walls and floors with bright colors.
  • Cover cushions with floral prints or brightly colored beach towels.
  • Connect your Hawaiian themed room with an outdoor space such as a terrace or courtyard overlooking a refreshing pool.
  • Incorporate a pair of deck chairs for seating.
  • Choose floor lamps made to look like tiki torches or palm trees offering the feel of a luau.
  • Add a table lamp that is a carved wooden figurine of a surfer.
  • Fill a glass lamp with sand and sea shells.
  • Circulate air and create your own “sea breezes” with ceilings fans that have large paddles made to look like palms.
  • Bring the room to life with a vase of vibrant, fresh cut flowers or a reef tank filled with colorful tropical fish and corals.
  • Mount a surfboard on the wall.
  • Hang artwork and photos of tropical fish, surfing scenes, crashing waves and sunsets over the ocean. Include photos from your own vacations to a tropical destination.
  • Place conk shells or pieces of coral on shelves, the mantle or end tables to add an authentic beach feel.
  • Look for other room accents that incorporate whales, seals, sea lions, surfers, small beach huts, sunglasses and more.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to beach and coastal decorating and don’t have to own a beach house to decorate like you live by the seashore.

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