Beach House Decor Simplified - How to Bring Summer Into Your Home

With a beach house, functionality and comfort win over style every time. Yes, you want a place that looks appealing, but this space is all about relaxation and fun. Each day at the shore should feel like visiting an oasis—with plenty of sunshine when you want it, comfortable shady areas and a cozy spot to snuggle in when the cool of night approaches.

Blue chairs by pool

Create comfortable and shaded spaces to gather. Photos credit: Curran Online and Sisal Carpet 

Design With Practicality

A beach house is for sharing … and you’ll want to create a warm showplace that allows for rejuvenation and comfortable conversations. Ensure that happens with plenty of seating for family and friends, and a light-colored, whimsical décor.

Furniture
Choose couches and chairs sturdy enough for all who will use it, especially good are pieces with fabrics with a tighter weave. It “fits the traditional beach house aesthetic, and is easier to keep clean than suede,” advised artist Leah Keggi, the owner of CoastLStudio,

Or pick ones that allow you to wash the covers. It’s amazing surprising how dirty furniture can get close to the beach with all that coming and going. Definitely avoid designs with pleats and ruching—you’ll never get the sand out.

“Be mindful when designing a beach house,” said Amy Lynn Schwartzbard, principal of The Life Designs Group and founder of The Kaleidoscope Project. “Salt water, chlorine, sand, weather should all be taken into consideration when selecting products for the home. Using outdoor fabrics inside has become a huge trend, as the outdoor fabrics have gotten very high-end.”

beach rug

Fun throw rugs and mats are easy to clean and add bold colors. Photo credit: Leah Keggi/CoastLStudio

Keep Flooring Simple

“With people coming and going, surfaces should be as easy to clean as possible,” said Patrick Hyde, content manager at CurranHOME.

He recommends hard flooring … at least for the downstairs. “Tile, laminate or protected wood are all great options as they are easy to wipe and keep clean,” he suggested.

Jazz up the space with an oversized rug in your living area to help warm things up when the temperature drops. “There is nothing worse than walking on freezing-cold floors,” advised Amy Hillary, content creator at Wallsauce.

If everyone exchanges their sandy, wet clothes for other attire before heading upstairs, carpeted bedrooms might work for you. But if you have more of a free-for-all attitude, bare floorboards upstairs might suit you better.

accent pillows and chairs

Tight weave chair with pillows. Photo credit: Leah Keggi/CoastLStudio

Walls and Curtains
For drapery, avoid anything that touches the floor; it might gather sand and soil. Blinds work well in a beach house—think Venetian or Roman shades—and will prevent that hot sunlight from pouring in. Blackout or UV-blocking curtains also help prevent the sun from warming up your space. Sheer draperies are also popular to keep heat out, but allow light in. Simple layered looks work well, too.

Because beach houses contain so much bright, natural light, lighter colors work well on the walls as do primary color tones. Feel free to experiment with pops of bold color to keep things interesting. “Balancing bold patterns with a limited color palette will keep your beach house looking sophisticated while still capturing the playfulness of having a house by the beach,” said Keggi.

You can also try rustic panel walls inside, suggested Hillary, “as they are the perfect look for this type of home. But instead of going for the obvious, why not rebel and go for a concrete-effect wallpaper? The industrial rust and concrete look is very on-trend.”

tray summer pattern

Fun patterns and touches of whimsy cheer up your beach house. Photo credit: Leah Keggi/CoastLStudio 

Weatherproof Your Furniture

Outside living requires UV and water-resistant fabrics, but that’s not enough to weatherproof your backyard. “If your house is located somewhere prone to frequent, strong gusts of wind, make sure to buy appropriately heavy furniture, otherwise you will be chasing your chaise through the yard,” said Hyde.

He recommends using solid teak and steel over lightweight aluminum and sling. “Those lucky enough to be located in spray distance of salt water should also consider marine-grade steel outdoor furniture to prevent corrosion,” he added.

Find outdoor furniture that’s easy to disassemble or store as well. While chairs and tables can be covered or wrapped, leaving things outside all year long, especially if the region faces hurricane season, isn’t always ideal.

outdoor set with rug

Outdoor living rooms extend your space. Photo credit:Curran Online & Sisal Carpet

Maximize Your Space

With beach house décor, you can allow the line between inside and out to blur. After all, a beach house’s outdoor space is really an extension of what is inside. Imitate the patterns and color of the home’s rugs, for instance, and find an outdoor version on the porch or deck.

In good weather, outdoor space can replace the inside den. “The living spaces of the beach house are the outdoor spaces,” said Schwartzbard. “Homeowners are decorating the outdoor space as if it is an interior. “

Think about other things you might need to bring the inside out—like an outdoor kitchen, a few potted plants, some side tables, a television and maybe even some luxurious loungers for napping. “An outdoor fireplace replaces the sun’s warmth once it sets and allows you to enjoy outside longer,” suggested Hyde.  

wood wall brown chairs

A wall panel provides a rustic look. Photo credit: Wallsauce

While many people like basking in the sun, the outside expanse needs shaded areas, too. Plan to have a variety of places to cool down, such as umbrellas, cabanas and awnings—and these can also mimic the inner décor.

“An umbrella or awning is an opportunity to place an exciting pop of color outdoors,” said Hyde. “You can tie the interior and exterior of your house together by carrying that color motif inside.”

So if your outdoor umbrella sports a pumpkin cast, a well-placed pumpkin-colored accent chair creates a cohesive, polished look. “Those who are bit more crafty can even order umbrella fabric and use it to upholster throw pillows for a really impressive DIY project,” suggested Hyde.

white wall with furniture

Light colors work well in a beach house. Photo credit: Wallsauce

Have Fun With Your Décor

Themes offer a bit of whimsy at the beach house—and allow you to do things differently than at your full-time residence. “From an oriental inspired lounge, a funky terrazzo bathroom or a sci-fi futuristic bedroom, you can literally go as wild as you want when it comes to decorating your beach house,” offered Hillary.

“You can also borrow from some of your favorite international beach vacation destinations to inform the style of your own beach house. Whether you fell in love with the French Riviera, the Yucatan peninsula, or Australia’s Gold Coast.” Hang photographs from the trip, and copy the region’s textiles, color and furniture to complete the feel.

While a nautical theme seems a natural fit, resist going overboard with the look. If you want to infuse the home with a sense of the sea, look for more nuanced ways to incorporate maritime life than hanging life preservers on the walls. Instead try pretty pillows with a coastal pattern or beachy throw blankets.

 Beach homes are all about whimsy, said Schwartzbard. “Geographic signs and art are very popular,” she advised. “Beach Home owners love their towns and beaches. Coastal accessories are always included in a beach home. Of late the trends are to add in coastal decor in more subtle and sophisticated way.”

Most of all, your beach house should feel like a refuge for you. You decide what works for you. Create a spot away from the world that leaves you refreshed and always leaves you with happy memories.

Featured photo: Curran Online and Sisal Carpet 

For more summer decorating, see our blog post on porches.

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