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Owning a home on the beach is exciting, especially when it comes to making it your own.
Whether it's choosing what color to paint the walls, which bedspread to use in the main master, or what light fixtures you want in the living room, decorating your home can be exhilarating, but also overwhelming. With endless articles on home decoration, it can be hard to sift through and find ideas that fit the breezy and relaxed coastal lifestyle. Fortunately, we talked to three Texas interior designers with coastal experience to get a few tips on how to help turn your beach home into the perfect vacation getaway.
Bring the Seaside, InsideSprinkle your cottage with ocean-inspired decor to bring in the relaxing aesthetic of the beach. “Art makes such a statement. It doesn’t just have have to be a painting or pastel, but could easily be something you find in a junk store,” says Courtnay Elias from Creative Tonic. “You’d be surprised with how much you can find, whether it’s an old life preserver or sail cloth (both, of which, can be hung on a wall). You can also find lots of things around the water and along the beach that can be turned into art.” If you have ideas on how you want to decorate, but are not sure where to begin, Courtnay suggests, “I usually start with some sort of art that I love and that’s where the room goes. Let the art go first, whether you’re shopping in an art gallery or thrift store, you can create a fun gallery wall with lots of fun objects, so let that dictate the mood. Put whatever makes you happy at the forefront so that it’s the focal point of the room.” In beach homes, anything goes, so get out there and find what catches your eye and incorporate that throughout your home.
Draw Inspiration from Beaches and Coastal Towns all over the World When it comes to finding inspiration for your coastal retreat, don’t limit yourself to the Texas coast. Courtnay reminds us to, “Think outside of the box. Pick a beach somewhere else and be inspired by it. If you love neutrals, do some research on Indonesia and Thailand and go for an Asian influence vibe - that could be a really cool twist on a beach cottage. But, if you gravitate toward beach colors and you want more of a preppy Malibu/Long Island beach vibe, research and find inspiration there. By twisting it up a bit, you’re creating something original and, in the end, something you’ll really be proud of.”
When researching inspo ideas, sit back and think what coastal town or island makes you happy. Did you visit an island when you were younger that now brings back good memories? Where was the last place you traveled where you thought, “I wish I lived here.” Think on it and let that be your inspiration. Your beach home is your own personal getaway, so let it take you to your favorite memories.
Your beach home is your own personal getaway, so let it take you to your favorite memories.
Have Lots of LoungingVacationers are looking to relax, so it is important that you provide ample seating throughout the home. In fact, when asked what piece is a must-have in beach homes, Courtnay quickly answers, “Comfortable seating, hands down. In a vacation home, you lounge around a lot, so you have to invest in ensuring your seating plan is conducive to the way you want to relax...otherwise, you’re not going to be comfortable.” When looking for furniture pieces to buy, she recommends sectionals as they accommodate for large groups of people and work really well in main living areas. As for bunkrooms and common areas, provide plenty of cushiony seats for the little ones to flop down on after a long, sandy day at the beach. Bonus points for using outdoor fabrics, specifically equipped for wet bathing suits and worry-free drying.
Be Bold and UnexpectedWallpaper is officially making a comeback, and in a big way. No longer are bright and colorful wallpapers a cringe-worthy trend from the 70’s, today's new materials and prints make them something that can truly transform a room. “We LOVE wallpaper, and we love using it in unexpected places. Inside the pantry, on the ceiling, on a table top, in the powder room, you have the power to do whatever you want,” says Courtnay. Unlike the home you come home to everyday, beach homes are where you can really have some fun. “Owning a beach home gives you lots of creative freedom, especially in terms of color. Do that apple green sofa you’ve always been scared to do. You don’t have to do a neutral sofa with pops of color throughout the home...the rest of the home will pull together.” Being bold allows for you to have fun, and your home will instantly have more character.
In addition to wallpaper, you can also utilize the beach colors around you and draw them into the home. Whether it’s the color of the water, the sky, the sunset, or the dunes, a pop of color is sure to liven up your cottage. Sprinkle in accents of aqua and turquoise to mix up typically mundane pieces, such as bowls and coffeemakers. After all, this is a seaside getaway, so treat your home with that in mind and have fun!
Owning a beach home gives you lots of creative freedom, especially in terms of color
Go VintageWhen searching for unique coastal design elements, Tricia Dabney of High Cotton Home & Design turns to reclaimed vintage and architectural pieces. “I like to get key pieces that are one-of-a-kind, whether it’s a vintage surfboard, arched window frames and shutters, or old hardware and frames...lots of these things can be repurposed and hung over windows and along the walls.” Tricia has actually designed quite a few of the homes at Cinnamon Shore, including Stargazer, Carry On, Blue Willow, and Serenity Found. Her love for unique pieces is actually what got her started here. “I did a home for a friend where we used reclaimed lumber along the bunkroom walls, as well as reclaimed lumber to cover a beam in a vaulted living room. I was bringing in materials people at Cinnamon Shore hadn’t used before.”
Use Coastal Friendly Furniture on the Porches and BalconiesAs you work on spicing up the inside of your home, don’t forget, you’re here to enjoy the beach, so use the outdoor spaces to your advantage and dress it up. When choosing outdoor furniture, Tricia suggests choosing furniture with a lifetime warranty. “The coastal climate is harsh on pillows, so when designing the porch space, we aim for practicality and functionality. You don’t want families constantly having to replace their outdoor decor each year, so purchasing a lifetime warranty on porch furniture is a smart investment.”
Put whatever makes you happy at the forefront so that it's the focal point of the room.
Incorporate Meaningful Statement Pieces throughout the Home Accent pieces are great for setting the tone of the room. When talking to Ginger Barber of Ginger Barber Interior Design, she sheds light on how photography can bring life to a room. “For example, in my beach home, I have photography I took of horses running along the beach. They were just rolling around in the sand, and it was such a beautiful moment, so I took the photo and hung it on my wall.” For those of you who don’t know, Ginger has a huge heart for horses and even serves as VP on the Board for Habitat for Horses, an organization that is solely dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of equine. By making her photo of the horses the focal point in the room, she’s not only reminded of a great memory each time she enters a room, but it allows for a story to be told each time a new guest comes to visit. Find something that’s meaningful to you and showcase it in your home. Not only will it put a smile on your face each time you pass it, but it will help your beach home feel more like home.
Make It About YouNo matter what you choose to do with your beach cottage, the number one decorating tip is to have fun with it! Use this opportunity to be creative and express your ideal vacation. If you love it, your family will love it, your guests will love it, and we're confident they will be be quick to plan their next trip back.
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