What is Coastal decor?

Like a cooler toned Shabby Chic, coastal decor (sometimes also called “nautical decor” or “beach decor”) makes you feel like you’re spending the day at a beautifully aged beach house. Shell accents, blue tones, and aged driftwood all help make this look a more refined and brighter rustic-style decor. Let’s break it down:

What it is:

A mix of rustic, Shabby Chic, and cottage, rooms styled with coastal decor invoke feelings of a day at the beach. Open spaces, breezy window treatments, and beach accessories all help to bring this decorating style together. Use of old, aged woods in shades of gray, whitewashed, or driftwood is also a big feature. Think “washed up on the beach.”

Color Palettes:

Blues and white tones are the main colors featured in nautical decor.  Here are a few colors to get you started.

Key Features:

Beach decor is all about the blues, and using various “ocean” shades are a key component of this decorating style. Found/repurposed objects are also featured in a way similar to Shabby Chic, with a heavy emphasis on things you’d actually find at the beach: shells, sand, nets, etc.

Things to Keep in Mind:

The best rooms decorated with coastal decor use a “less is more” approach to their accessories and decorating, so remember to focus on colors rather than accessories and decorations.

Tools You’ll Need for Coastal Decor DIY Projects:

  • Sandpaper or a Power Sander – For getting off the lacquer or sheen on wood floors, cabinets, and furniture
  • Sea Shells, Fishing Nets, Sand – Nautical accents are a big part of this decorating style, so if you’ve got access to a beach, this might be right up your alley.
  • Miter saws – If you’re going to build your own furniture or remodel a thrift store find, a basic miter saw is your best bet for getting started. Later on you can upgrade to a compound miter saw, which is AMAZING.
  • Staple Gun – if you plan to reupholster thrift store finds

A Few Favorite Coastal Decor Examples:

Everything Coastal
Coastal Style

Get Started with These Coastal Decor Accessories:

Click the image to head directly to Amazon

Similar Styles: Cottage | Rustic | Primitive | Shabby Chic


Megan is a 5x award-winning entrepreneur, small business nerd, and industrial decor lover. Megan's products and writing have been featured in dozens of publications, including the Huffington Post and the New York Times. Hair color subject to change, black clothing...probably not.


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