From calming shades of the sea to bright, bold designs, four interior decorators share their vision and ideas for creating your own special space.Compiled by Taylor Fitzpatrick and Lisa Leigh Connors
This family room of a house next to Long Pond does not have water views—yet the homeowner wanted to be surrounded by the serenity of the beach. As a designer, I take inspiration from the natural environment of the Cape.
Use a palette of tone-on-tone off-white in a sand beige to create a beautiful room. Choose subtle texture differences in your materials for a seamless look: silk strie and velvet for the curtains, a fine textured wallpaper, and a slight tonal and textural variation in the carpet weave. The built-ins are painted the same color as the wall, but in a different finish—semi-gloss—to complete the room. The walls are painted in an eggshell finish.
Pretty in print
The print patterns are subtle geometrics in tone-on-tone taupe, white with blue/gray geometric, and floral embroidered taupe and floral blue. The accent and coffee tables have pure volumes and clean lines and the twig table in the corner is sculptural. Accent tables in white help create less contrast. The coffee table in a dark wood finish helps ground the room. The built-ins hold blankets and books in the closed lower units, and hold collectibles above. The benches in a blue/gray and beige paisley create a pattern that is fluid, with lots of movement.
The chairs have a sky-blue linen body with a textured chenille for the cushions. The sofa is dark gray velvet to conceal dirt and scuffs on a much-used piece of furniture. Throw pillows lighten up the dark colors of the sofa and bring in more pattern and texture.
White is used as an accent in the tables and two of the fabric prints help counter the heaviness of the large oversized gray sofa. The predominant metallic accent in gold creates warmth. The wallpaper is chosen for its slight wave and texture—mimicking sand ripples made by either wind or water. Thematic prints by a local artist allude to, but are not overtly nautical. Collectibles from owners’ travels are on display.
Easy Coastal Elegance
The aesthetic of elegant coastal homes reflects a magical element that many people wish to achieve, even if they don’t live on the water. Soft hues on the walls, accents from the sea and neutral fabrics – all of these elements help transform a home into a wonderful coastal-style space.
Bring the beauty of the outside in with natural materials and fabrics such as Sunbrella, rattan, jute, grass cloth on the walls or anything textured or natural. These natural materials often come in beautiful, soft colors that help enhance the relaxed coastal feel.
Introducing a color doesn’t have to be bold. The choices are unlimited when you think about beautiful, muted shades of the sea, sky or beach. Simply paint your walls a soothing spa blue or add a splash of turquoise with a toss pillow. Color will add dimension and enhance your overall scheme.
Love your stripes
Nothing says coastal more than stripes. However, don’t use the expected navy blue or red stripes. Go for something softer in color. In this room, we have used pale blue and cream stripes on our window treatments. It’s a simple and classic look for years to come.
Use our wonderful gifts from the sea sparingly. Decorate a bookcase, mantel or coffee table with simple shells and corals. Create a stunning wall using a simple tone-on-tone paint to create beautiful stripes and add that elegant shell mirror. These little wonders are the perfect accessories, but must be used in small doses.
Add a little seaside luxe!
From simple Italian Murano glass pendants to delicate glass jars and softly painted beadboard vanity, you can create a stunning bathroom that is refined and luxurious, but simple and beachy at the same time.
This home has spectacular views of Buzzards Bay. Our mission was to create a room that was interesting and functional for real family living, while at the same time, serene enough to enhance, and not compete, with this home’s beautiful setting.
Start with inspiring piece
The rug was our jumping-off point. We selected this vintage-looking wool rug because of its black, brown and gray hues. The muted look blended in well with the dark beams. We brightened up the room with a white sectional, which provided a clean and uncluttered look.
Keep palette clean and simple
This linen/cotton blend Thibaut fabric used for the drapes was ideal for this room as the bold gray-and-white pattern suggests a metropolitan look. The white sectional frames a large-scale coffee table that helps anchor the room.
Work with room’s features
We originally wanted to change the color of the beams to driftwood gray, but since the owners wanted to keep the beams in its natural state, designer Donna Stearns worked with the owners’ wishes. We went with white cottonball on the walls, and continued decorating with whites and grays. This seemed to cool down the dark brown beams without painting them.
The yellow wing chair adds a splash of color on the far side, as does the yellow sofa table on the opposite side of the room. In addition to being functional, our driftwood step-ladder accent piece adds an interesting angle that draws your eye to the center of the room.
The TV entertainment center console was custom-made for this client. It features hand-carved panels that open next to traditional doors to conceal storage space. The fabric-upholstered wooden boxes add texture and soften the look of this large piece.
Bold and Beautiful
We all need a personal, comforting place to come home to at the end of the day. For some people, that means a quiet, monochromatic color scheme. For others, it means an interior that is more bold, colorful and whimsical.
A touch of glass
A perfect corner for a glass of wine, or, in this case, a champagne toast, on this three-season covered patio. We layered bold colors and played with different kinds of glass in this outdoor room. We started with a multi-colored area rug made from 100 percent recycled plastic straws. We added comfortable cafe-style chairs in a bright almost-lime green, and a bold green-painted glass drink table. Our accessories are simple, but detailed. The embossed glass vase/decanter and champagne flutes, combined with the orange blown-glass bud vase, creates a festive table for a private celebration.
Layering a room
Keep the “shell” of a room fairly simple and monochromatic: the floor, the walls, and often even the larger pieces of furniture. For instance, if the floor is a warm, honey-colored wood, it’s nice to layer that with a textured area rug in a similar color—then the walls can be a lighter shade of that same color, and the major upholstered pieces can feature textured fabric.
Shades of same color
With a neutral backdrop, you can add colorful or patterned accessory pieces: pillows, artwork, throws and centerpieces. It doesn’t take too many of such items to make an overall room feel bright and cheery. For a quieter interior, continue with monochromatic choices in the accessory items by using several shades of the same color in different materials and textures to create interiors that are both interesting and calm.
Element of surprise
Use pieces that don’t demand your attention when you first enter a room. But once you do notice them, you discover something unique about them. A detail, a weave, a color, a funky material and just something unexpected!