The coastal-inspired home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • September 1,  2018

The coastal inspired home: What is it and how do you get it?

Whether you live steps from the water or miles away, coastal is a design style that works with modern or traditional decor. And it’s easy to do.

It’s one of the fastest growing decorating styles and it’s not just for those of us lucky enough to live within a drive of the beach or closer. Everyone can have it.

Coastal is a state of mind that you transfer to your home. A comfortable, laid-back, easy lifestyle that is no fuss, no clutter and just a touch of minimalism. It’s calm, soothing and rejuvenating. It makes you happy to walk into the house at the end of a tough day. Before I tell you how to get it, let’s talk about what coastal is not. And that’s really important.

Coastal don’ts

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I am in and out of a lot of homes. Many of my clients have distanced themselves from the heavy furnishings they may have had for years or perhaps brought to Southwest Florida when they moved here from someplace else. Eventually they decide to lighten up and coastal is the perfect choice.

 Coastal, a comfortable, laid-back, easy lifestyle that is no fuss, no clutter and just a touch of minimalism. It’s calm, soothing and rejuvenating. It makes you happy to walk into the house at the end of a tough day. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Coastal, a comfortable, laid-back, easy lifestyle that is no fuss, no clutter and just a touch of minimalism. It’s calm, soothing and rejuvenating. It makes you happy to walk into the house at the end of a tough day. Photo: Ballard Designs.

A bunch of outdated accessories, shells, a broken lobster trap and a monkey carved out of a coconut. Every room panted a different tropical color. A collection of fake nautical accessories. Loud prints. Lots of beach-related “stuff” and cutesy signs. Save those for the pool. This is not coastal.

So, what is it?

Classic design with a casual, understated look.

There is cottage coastal. Contemporary coastal. Modern coastal. They all have one thing in common: mindful decorating. Every piece in the home is planned. You will need fewer accessories. But select wisely to eliminate the temptation to clutter things up.

Coastal do’s

In your home, recreate the feeling that you love about the beach. Sparkling blue water. Bright sun. Sand. A colorful beach umbrella. White shells. You have just created your color palette.

Use calm solid colors, textures, distressed woods and ceramics.

Furniture is uncomplicated, contemporary, sleek.

Keep it soft with pillows, soft cushions, throws.

Contrast to heavy, weighted furnishings.

Use natural wood or wood that has been painted white.

Add a few plants for greenery. Real if possible!

Think: classic, lived in cottage by the sea. Not overdone. Simple elegance.

 Benjamin Moore’s popular Palladian Blue HC-144 sets the tone for this coastal-inspired room with a chaise and palms. Photo: Benjamin Moore. 

Benjamin Moore’s popular Palladian Blue HC-144 sets the tone for this coastal-inspired room with a chaise and palms. Photo: Benjamin Moore. 

Use neutrals as your base paint color. Creamy whites, bright whites, soft grays.

Maybe a wall done in shiplap. Don’t overdo it.

Accent neutrals with sea glass tones: blues, greens, aqua and sprinkle in a bit of coral.

Fabric chairs with a little rattan or wicker as an accent but not in a matched set.

 Great light, white cabinets and beautiful blues in this coastal inspired kitchen. Near wall in smoke 2122-40. Far wall in Caribbean Mist 2061-70. Cabinets in Ice Mist OC-67. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

Great light, white cabinets and beautiful blues in this coastal inspired kitchen. Near wall in smoke 2122-40. Far wall in Caribbean Mist 2061-70. Cabinets in Ice Mist OC-67. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

Arrange a colorful collection of your favorite coffee table books with a big shell or piece of coral.

Finish off with a few sand dollars, coral and sea glass in a beautiful bowl or basket.

Add a couple of original nautical accessories such as a porthole cover or color weathered oars that look like they washed up on the beach. A piece or two of driftwood.

Let light in with light panels or fiber blinds.

Put on some nice music. Have a cold beverage and let yourself drift into a coastal state of mind.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog