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Classic coastal interior design ideas

By Holly Sprott

Wind-swept accessories, a fresh palette, weathered finishes and cosy furniture create a contemporary coastal home.

Combining the rustic comfort of a seaside shack with the relaxed glamour of a high-end retreat, these interior design ideas complement Australia’s laid-back coastal areas as well as harbour- and beach-side homes in and near the city. Modern and light-filled, try design elements that embrace seaside living.

To bring comfort and warmth to the cooler colours associated with a coastal home, use plenty of soft furnishings, including throws, cushions, rugs and wall hangings.
In terms of ornaments, consider items that may have washed ashore or make a maritime reference: blue, white and grey coral; shells (including nautilus, red helmet and tiger cowrie); gnarled pieces of driftwood; mats and baskets made of woven grass or rope; hurricane lamps; an old oar or ship’s steering wheel; a telescope; or a maritime map.

Timber works well in these environments, be it weathered, stained or painted white. Consider timber dining tables and chairs, coffee tables, bookshelves, stools, side tables and bedheads – any room in the house can benefit from a beautiful wood finish.
Couches should be plump and comfortable – calico and linen fabrics add great texture. Incorporating an upholstered chaise, leather ottoman or rustic wooden armchair can add character and additional room for family and guests.

For the walls, painted weatherboard or a woven wall covering like seagrass wallpaper can add a decorative element to what is essentially a pared-back style.
Try polished or painted floorboards in high-traffic areas, while tiling is most practical in wet areas. In bedrooms and living rooms, natural woven carpets – made from sisal, seagrass or wool – add comfort and warmth.

White is the hero in a coastal interior, reflecting sea foam and the bleached Australian sand. Steer clear of whites with too much yellow in them, as this can create an antique feel as opposed to a fresh, light-filled finish. Shades of white can work on the walls, floors and ceiling.
Coastal colours such as blues, greys and aquas are also popular. To soften the colour scheme, try carpets and rugs in sand, taupe, cream or brown.

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