By the sea

The Old House Web
By Gail McCauley

beachWhether a primary residence, vacation home or weekend getaway, the coastal abode delights in uncomplicated style.

Lifestyles are easy and interiors are oriented to the sea, subtly incorporating beachcombing keepsakes throughout the home decor. Often eclectic in style, a touch of the coast can aesthetically coexist with any color scheme or decor.

There are no recipes or rules for the coastal color palette. Purposefully selected color groupings assist with the creation of casual coastal elegance.

Traditional sand and sea colors such as variations of blues, greens and neutrals are particularly attractive when spotlighted using soft, sun-bleached combinations of color. Bold fluctuations of hues that are characteristic of the ocean also produce dynamic color groupings. Navy and white color duos, highlighted with red accents demonstrate timeless nautical flavor.

Paint can be used effectively to give a seaside air throughout a home. Favorite paintable motifs including fish and underwater creatures, seashells, boats and anchors, lighthouses, nautical flags, surfboards and waves often form the basis for exciting interior themes.

Painted nautical signs or vintage nautical paintings can be propped up on fireplace mantels or hung on exterior walls to compliment outdoor living spaces. Hand painted seaside murals may be fashioned on accent walls to coordinate with headboards, chests of drawers and bedside tables. Ocean like designs that are painted directly onto floor coverings around a perimeter space create fanciful borders or can be used to create a faux accent rug.

sponged ceilingSpecial effect paint techniques, such as a delicately sponged blue sky, reflect coastal themes. Decorative paint techniques can be applied to solid colored walls, or partnered with wallpaper or fabric wallcoverings.

Painted beadboarding can be gracefully applied to wall or ceiling coverings to evoke a refreshing coastal style. This technique is particularly effective when subdued colors are selected to reflect sun washed interiors. White washed and painted furnishings compliment the casual coastal feel. Wide, narrow, horizontal and vertical painted stripes are classic coastal favorites that are simple enough that even the novice painter can achieve instant success.

Easy looks blend with the eclectic elegance of the coastal interior. Bunk beds offer compact sleeping accommodations for family members and guests. Decorate bunk beds with coverlets and throw pillows, then paint to match the existing color scheme. Painted ship style ladders are an imaginative way to lead family members or guests to bunk beds or lofts.

beach houseAn easily paintable surface, hooks are a simple and economical way of storing and drying clothing at the beach. With the addition of paint, even a yard sale sideboard can be converted into a functional and fashionable bathroom vanity by integrating plumbing, a sink and the application of a whimsical coastal design.

Found shells used to fill ordinary bottles or starfish placed on open shelving are found natural accessories that are especially attractive when painted and scattered throughout the coastal home. Sand pails constructed from varying fabrications can be painted and used for storage of small household items.

A fresh coat of exterior paint instantly perks up a coastal front porch. Painted vertical slats are an attractive and easy way to lend a festive air to popular Adirondack style outdoor furnishings.

Durability is a key element when selecting furnishings that are exposed to the elements. The application of quality exterior paint to hard surfaces such as wicker cane and bamboo offers unification of mismatched styles and durability for years to come.

Uncomplicated and casual decorating with touches of the seaside are the key ingredients for creating a stylish coastal residence.

This article was written for and is used with permission by theRohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute.

About the Author
The Old House Web

Search Improvement Project