Soft pastels, bleached wood, faded linens, gauzy muslins, found objects and distressed paint finishes specify the classic coastal appearance. This fashion is resourceful — nothing is lost. Instead, new ways are found to use worn or mismatched items. An old piece of rope can be reused as a tieback, as a trim around a table or to hang a painting.
Most significant, this appearance should not feel contrived. There’s beauty in imperfection, and the allure of timeworn objects is a lasting one. Vintage coastal style looks best when it evolves — the things you find and collect over time will look kitsch.
Woodmeister Master Builders
Believe muslin, voile or gentle linen for your own window treatments. Old sheets, whether cotton or linen, can make great curtains. Add a DIY shell trimming for a more defined coastal appearance.
Muslin is actually affordable, so use loads of it to find the soft, opulent look which works so well in a classic coastal home.
Woodmeister Master Builders
It’s simple to find this look even in the event that you can’t sew. Get the local fabric shop to cut muslin or voile to the lengths you want. Add an excess half meter over the length so that it puddles on the ground. Clip some curtain rings on the surface of your cloth lengths at regular intervals and attach them to your curtain rod — or maybe use an old oar for a rod instead.
Darci Goodman Design
Shades need to stay soft with this classic look — cream, white, soft corals, aquas and gentle blues work superbly with this particular style. Consider keeping everything one colour for a fresh texture. By accessorizing with bursts that are bright or go for more of an eclectic appearance.
Adding colour with striped bed linens, cushions and a throw generates a different classic feel. In this case, the appearance is more fisherman’s cabin than beach shack.
Kelley & Company Home
Furniture and Accessories
Painted furniture is perfect for the classic coastal appearance. Modern pine chests, tables and desks often need just a quick coat of paint to fit to a coastal house.
Glass jars like these are perfect for a group of beach shells. I use glass vases for my set of sea glass and mussel shells.
Hint: Give your piece a couple of coats of paint. Try using a darker shade first, then a lighter color, and gently sand the edges for a distressed look.
Vintage coastal style is all about shooting found items and turning them into something different. What a fantastic idea for a headboard! Start looking for pieces of old pallets washed up on the shore or a single piece of driftwood you could use for a shelf. When you are fed up with it, turn it into something different.
A Beach Cottage
Take something really simple, like this deck chair, and bring it into your house for an instant and unexpected beach vibe. Some of my favourite items to use in a classic coastal house are hurricane lamps — there are lots of different ones available, but with this appearance I like those with silver frames.
Molly Frey Design
A big part of the classic coastal appearance is all about making things look like they’ve been around forever. Using architectural moldings and paneling, such as tongue and groove, board and batten or just wide boards, you may create interesting features in an otherwise characterless room.
Hint: Fix 2-by-4 foot lengths of timber to your ceiling in intervals. To make them seem older, I like to have the edges chamfered, or you can resolve a round bead molding (available at many wood or craft stores) to the borders. Line the remaining ceiling with groove and tongue or wide boards. Paint all of it, including the walls, in soft whites.
Do not be fearful of painted floors! There are some wonderful hard-wearing floor paints available. And if you are using white, which really does look beautiful, these paints won’t yellow.
Liz Williams Interiors
Use Engineered wood to make easy frames to your beach finds. You could be fortunate enough to find some wood that’s been washed up on the beach, but should not, make use of scrap wood from the local lumber yard.
Hint: Try painting the frames using a dragging technique. Have plenty of paper towels ready and paint the wood a section at a time. As you paint every segment, use another brush to drag off the paint. Wipe the excess paint off on the paper towels.
This technique is generally used with a darker paint beneath a milder one, but it looks great with just one color over the bare wood.
Kelley & Company Home
Weather-worn signs actually embrace the classic coastal appearance. Keep a look out at auctions or secondhand shops, or make your own using pieces of old wood.
Vintage coastal is about an eclectic mix of items and styles. These old ice cream–making buckets are made into lamps — a great case of upcycling.
Weathered Painted Oars – $29
Think outside the box when it comes to decorating your walls. Different, quirky items may look really great grouped together as part of a collection.