02 May 17 Ideas for the Florida Beach House of Your Dreams
Florida means an abundance of beaches and sunshine, and those mean beach houses galore. The beach house, of course, is meant to be a sandy, summery escape from normalcy—where your tan and your spirit can be refreshed away from the bustle of work and (likely) the density and smog of the city.
But how to decorate this oasis? After all, it should be set apart and special. Here are some ideas to make your beach house not only a refreshing sanctuary, but a truly lovely one as well.
1. Try neutrals
Maybe it’s the sand, but neutral tones seem to shine most brightly (note the irony!) in beach houses. This living room has capitalized on that fact in its walls and most of the furniture. Besides being soothing, it also anchors the whole room around a common theme.
2. Driftwood is your friend
Driftwood, of course, is in abundance at the beach, and savvy decorators have been incorporating it into their designs for years. This mirror frame is a perfect example of how driftwood can add a rustic, yet distinctively beachy, touch to a room.
3. It’s the little things
Details are massively important in decor, as they can either tie a room together, reinforcing the theme(s) in it, or else introduce drastic divergence and inconsistency. Notice how this bathroom uses details well to create a beachy theme, especially the neutral-toned surfboard in the corner. This is arguably the only beach-related thing in the room, save for the sand-colored accents, yet it works to show this is a beach house, not a place in suburbia in Illinois.
4. Use small spaces creatively and thematically
The first thing that came to mind when I saw this room was that it looked like the kind of bunk one would find on a ship. This room takes a necessity–a space for bedding–and creates a very subtle but clear reference to a seafaring theme. It also enhances the warmth and invitation of the room. Using spaces like this throughout the house will work wonders!
5. Have a seafaring theme
Themes can be tricky. They can be overdone to the point of garishness or kitsch, which ends up being repellant. But if a room or a whole house has no theme–even if something as simple as unifying color schemes–this invites disunity, divergence, and a lack of cohesion.
Beach houses possess a unique ability to capitalize on beach and sea elements and local culture with lots of room to go before gauche sets in. This living room is an excellent example of tasteful accent use.
6. Add a quaint backsplash
Because of their association with summer, beach houses aren’t always havens for neutral colors. As we’ll see in a moment, lots of them capitalize on bright, inviting, even tropical shades. This backsplash picks up on a turquoise theme throughout the kitchen while adding a sense of fun and coolness–perfect for a retreat from the blazing sunshine.
7. Don’t skimp on yellow
While you shouldn’t go crazy, brighter colors as a general rule are acceptable in beach houses, and picking one or two dominant colors can create a unifying theme. This room emphasizes bright cheeriness by having all-yellow walls as the focal point. Notice as well the little details (seashell decor, striped beach-type chairs, bright colors) that define the summeriness of the room.
8. Or blue
If neutral ties in with sand, yellow with sun, then I’ll give you three guesses what blue pairs with. While the ubiquity of water at a beach house might seem obvious or redundant, wise use of blue tones can add great fun, color, and ocean themes to a house. This bathroom does that well by having an inviting yet cool shade of blue on the walls, with brightly colored contrasting accents adding a subtle touch.
9. And don’t forget the stairs
Stairs aren’t merely functional–the way to get from one floor to another. They’re an integral part of any multi-floor home and ought to be designed with care.
This New Jersey beach house does this extremely well, by adding windows that bring a ton of light in while creating a sense of enlarged space and expansiveness. Other details, like the accents on the table and the color scheme, tie the room together as a nautical retreat.
10. Add a few stripes
Stripes are not inherently beachy. But, if paired with the right fabric and decor, they speak of tote bags and towels ready for an escape to the sand and surf. This living room uses a calm, summery blue stripe that complements the neutral tones and the splashes of color.
11. Don’t be afraid to be cute
Cuteness in any room outside of a child’s bedroom must be entered into with great thoughtfulness! Overdo it, and your house becomes a shrine to cutesy kitsch and won’t be taken seriously.
But a few well-chosen touches can add levity and warmth to the room without being immature. This mom decorated her beach house’s living room with child-friendly fish and other touches (like the “Gibson Island” sign) that still manage to be tasteful, thoughtful, and mature.
12. Let in the light
This breakfast nook majors on something very important for any home with a beach address: Lots of light.
Why live on the beach if you hate sunlight? Big windows and open spaces will maximize the natural lighting and create a homey atmosphere.
13. Create a sense of openness
Some of the other ideas have already mentioned this, but it’s important enough to deserve its own entry. Just as the sea is expansive and freeing, your beach house (ideally) should be.
If you don’t have high ceiling like this living room has, proper striped wallpaper (preferably in a nautical shade!) can create a sense of largeness, as can the right floor plan (notice how this one spaces furniture so as to maximize a feeling of broad, breathy openness, instead of a tightly cramped oppressiveness).
14. Welcome white
“White goes with everything” is a cliche for a reason! But it works particularly well in beachfront homes, to tie in with the neutrality as well as to provide a counterpoint to other aspects of decor.
This bedroom does this extremely well. Notice how the dominant brown of the wood only serves to enhance all of the creams and whites, down to the curtains on the bed. These colors play off of each other in a lovely way, each using their tropical sensibilities to complement one another in a distinct way.
15. Get distressed
The weathered look of distressed furniture fits very nicely with a beach house decor. It adds effortlessly to a rustic, rugged, and outdoorsy feel perfect for a house whose backyard is the ocean.
16. Include the entryway
The entryway is the first place guests (and you) will see each time they enter the house. This makes it a key battleground for beginning and completing the proper beachy theme. There are a lot of ways to do this–the more creative, the better.
This house sets itself apart by incorporating both big (the compass inlay, the ship on the end table) and small (the little painting of sailboats near the door) details that let all who enter know they’ve just stepped into a summery haven.
17. Use a constellation of color
While using large blocks of one color (like on walls or carpets) is more than acceptable to create a breezy unity, using multiple colors at once in patterns or contrasts can, too.
This series of different-colored but still-matching chairs not only work well together, but look beyond themselves to create a whole cool, summery theme in the room. The same thing can be achieved with everything from throw pillows to prints to wall accents.
If you’re lucky enough to have a beach home, then you ought to be intentional and thoughtful about how you decorate it. Evoking a beach theme is important, but must be done in tandem with originality, good taste, and with the goal of making the house inviting and hospitable to all who enter. Take some of these ideas and add your own touches to make your beach house a place you’ll never want to leave.