1) Keep it relaxed. There is an art to the shabby look that really suits a classic coastal style. The key is to keep it simple with nothing that is too precious or perfect but without it looking cheap and uncared for.
2) Keep it light. Without doubt white is the best choice to use for walls in a coastal look whilst bringing in colour and warmth with soft furnishings and accessories. Carefully consider which white to use though as you need to create a look that is light and airy but it must be comfortable. If your room has little light and a cool aspect you will need to find a warm soft chalky white, however if you have an abundance of light and warmth you will need a cooler, fresher white.
3) Use natural fabrics for upholstery and cushions. Opt for soft linens and washable cottons. White slip covers are perfect for this type of scheme as they can easily be laundered, maintaining a fresh, clean look. Vintage linens work well as the older they get, the softer they are and you can consider using a linen mix fabric that has some polyester to stand up to wear and tear. The fabrics to avoid for the coastal look are velvets, satins and man-made fabrics that have a shiny appearance.
4) Keep it Natural. Timber is a great addition to a coastal scheme, in fact it really should be included in at least one guise, ideally in a few. Weathered finishes, limewashed timbers, reclaimed timbers and natural stone are ideal for a coastal look.
5) Employ layers of different textures. Use plenty of rugs to zone areas and to bring layers over stone and timber floors. Rugs made from wool, hemp and sisal are ideal in this setting with designs that are textured rather than plain suiting the look best. Avoid the traditional three piece seating solutions and use rattan chairs partnered with soft, squidgy sofas. Remember that pieces don’t have to match, they just need to comfortably sit alongside each other.
6) Accessorise. Don’t forget the finishing touches as this can really help to complete the story of a scheme. Hurricane lamps and groups of candles set the scene well and remember that groupings of odd numbers work the best. Oversized rattan trays that conjure up long lunches and afternoon teas with piles of interesting magazines and books to help while away the hours. Soft, comfortable cushions to curl up against and tactile throws to add warmth and interest will complete the picture.
7) Finally, the ambient temperature. Don’t forget to plan for all seasons so that your coastal home is comfortable all year round. Open fires for the winter are a must and create a really inviting look – even in the summer, whilst large doors that can be opened up for the summer months are crucial.
You might also be interested to read 7 Tips for a Neutral Coastal Scheme
If you are a fan of traditional coastal colour schemes, you might enjoy my article in Country Home Ideas on colours for a coastal style