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Hi, and welcome to your Modern Coastal Decor primer, part of a series of home style posts that will help you identify your signature style.
One of the most frequently asked questions that lands in my inbox is goes something like this:
I’m having trouble figuring out what kind of art I should put on my gallery wall. I’m not sure I really have a style.
Rest assured, you do. You just have to find it first.
When you hear someone say “coastal style,” you may imagine a beach house with sand blasted signs and tons of ocean-related accoutrements.
Or maybe it’s …
… a Caribbean-style hotel, full of bright colors.
… palm tree prints and tiki bars in true island style.
… Hamptons style with slipcovered Queen Anne furniture.
… warm neutrals and woods of Southern beach homes.
… bamboo-lined rooms of Palm Beach.
… nautical Northeast in crisp blue and white stripes.
… bright whites of Greek coastal homes.
… shabby chic beach homes of Malibu.
You get the point. There are myriad coastal styles, and they often blend together. Today I’m going to focus on an up-and-coming style I’m crushing pretty hard on right now (and not just because I live in California!).
Modern Coastal – or California Coastal – style mixes elements of traditional coastal decor with elements of boho plus the casual California vibe that designers such as Emily Henderson have been championing.
Read along and see if you identify with the majority of these statements.
Modern Coastal Decor: A Primer
1. For you, it’s summer year-round.
You mourn the return of 5 p.m. sunsets in the fall and you often book last-minute trips to a tropical island in December because you just can’t take it anymore.
When you buy a home, you are hunting for light and breezy with lots of windows. If you have no choice but to live in a cave, you keep it decked out with glass accessories, light fixtures galore and so many mirrors (they make the space brighter, obvs!).
2. All of your vacations are beach vacations.
It’s not a matter of whether you’re going to the beach. It’s a matter of which beach are you going to this time.
Your screensaver is a tropical paradise. And when you daydream, it’s about what it would be like to move to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Greece, California, Florida Keys, the Bahamas, Bora Bora, Tulum.
You’re not much for touring cities on vacation. You’d rather have your toes in the sand and a cool drink in your hand.
3. You spend as much time outdoors as you do inside.
The idea of indoor-outdoor living is totally your jam. You would rather have a small home and a huge backyard.
Simple, breezy window treatments blur the inside-outside line, so you can see the world around you.
Simply sitting outside with an iced beverage relaxes you much more than any number of spa treatments.
4. You love a neutral, crisp color palette.
White bedsheets make you feel like you’re on vacation (yes, please!).
You gravitate toward cool blues and seafoam that mimic the color of the water, and pale peaches that remind you of a sunset. Sand/tan colors are A-OK in your book, too.
You like to break out pops of coral, red, navy blue, turquoise and black — but sparingly. You like for these things to be the exception, not the rule, so they are refreshing and unexpected.
5. If you spot a seagrass basket, it’s coming home with you.
You are like a moth to the flame when it comes to natural fibers. Linen and cotton, jute rugs, seagrass and straw baskets, ropes like this rope knot doorstop?
Gotta have ’em.
6. You can’t handle fussy furniture.
It needs to be durable, casual, easy to clean.
You are a woman of the outdoors, and you can’t be worried about getting sand and water on some delicate velvet.
You LOOOOOOVE slipcovers.
7. Your two favorite patterns are stripes and shibori.
There’s nothing else. Mayyyybe waves. OK, waves are cool, too, sometimes.
8. You have a huge collection of beach treasures.
Driftwood, sea glass, seashells — you name it, you’ve got it.
One of your biggest home decor burdens is curating your treasures into small displays that do not overwhelm.
It’s a challenge for you because you LOVE IT ALL, but you prefer your house to subtle and not look like a gaudy tourist attraction.
Take a peek around my Modern Coastal decor Pinterest board and save some inspiration on a board of your own. I find that when you pin things that appeal to you on a subconscious level, you can then look at that board and see the patterns that emerge. Some of these may be more “broad” coastal style than Modern Coastal decor, but they all have elements that work for Modern Coastal. Only pin the images that appeal to you in an “I want to live there!” level. Now that you know how coastal cool you are, I’ve rounded up some decor to get you started on transforming your space. Up next: Tips on how to create a modern coastal gallery wall!
Modern Coastal Decor Inspiration
Modern Coastal Decor: Bedroom
2. Wave Sheet Set
3. Venice Rattan Chair
4. Coyuchi Sateen Sheet Set
5. Avalon Bed
6. Beacon Sconce
7. Jute Triangle Chair
8. Keaton Rug
9. Sorrento Bed in Light Seagrass
10. Trimaran Stripe Pillow
11. Cankton Pillow
12. Angeline Blue Area Rug
13. Coastal Chic Directors Chair
14. Suren-Striped Carlier Slipcover Bed
16. Morrison Chandelier
17. Sisal Linen Rug
18. Modern Style Vase – Coral
19. Wickham Shelter Bed
20. White Stencil Dining Side Chair
21. Sterling Fire Island Coral Display
22. Taupe Rattan Flynn Lounger Chair
23. Dilip Pouf
24. Modern Static Rug
25. Alessa Daybed Sierra
26. Coyuchi Arrowhead Reversible Throw
27. White Coral Sculptures + another that doubles as a shelf
28. Shibori Striped Beach Blanket
Modern Coastal Decor: Living Room
2. Jackson Throw Pillow
3. Swedish Stripe Cotton Pillow
4. Globe Pendant Light
5. Trimaran Stripe Pouf (this one would work, too)
6. Abstract Waves Rug
7. Octopus Sculpture
8. Convertible Bucket Stool
9. Clement Coffee Table Ottoman
10. Deep Sea Sand Art
11. Dove Gray Vases
12. Tailynn Table Lamp
13. Malawi Wicker Chair
14. Shibori Printed Sofa
15. Dunsmore Coin Garden Stool
16. Swedish Stripe Rug
17. Two Tone Seagrass Bianca Tote Basket
18. Driftwood Round Side Table
19. California Driftwood
20. Miramar Sofa
22. Shibori Throw Pillow
23. Fish Tail Set
24. Faiz Pendant Light
25. Peruvian Stripe Rhys Chair
26. Jute Indigo Woven Rug
27. Coral Resin on Stand
28. Nautical Royal Barge Oar
29. Bermudiana Palm Tree in Basket
30. Highlands Table Vase (+ more sea urchin vases)
31. White Rattan Audrie Slipper Chair
32. Castle Brown Sofa
33. Blue Coral Pillow
34. Skye Throw
35. Tall Glass Table Lamp in Seaspray Green
36. Samaniego Table Lamp
37. Coastal Coral Blue Rug
38. Palecek Harbor Wood Coffee Table
39. Recycled Rope Magazine Rack
Shop for Modern Coastal Decor
Modern Coastal Decor: Resources
Modern Coastal Blog Posts
Modern Coastal Decor: Pin me for later
Take a peek around my Modern Coastal decor Pinterest board and save some inspiration on a board of your own. I find that when you pin things that appeal to you on a subconscious level, you can then look at that board and see the patterns that emerge.
Some of these may be more “broad” coastal style than Modern Coastal decor, but they all have elements that work for Modern Coastal. Only pin the images that appeal to you in an “I want to live there!” level.
Now that you know how coastal cool you are, I’ve rounded up some decor to get you started on transforming your space.
Up next: Tips on how to create a modern coastal gallery wall!