Staying Put This Summer? Bring Beachside Bliss To Your Home With These Décor Tips

Words by Naomi Chadderton

7 min read

From whitewashed woods to seascape tones, coastal cool interiors will transform your abode to a chic holiday hideaway, and you don’t even need to live beachside to make it work

As the sweltering Dubai heat quickly descends, our minds turn to fresh Mediterranean summers spent lounging in hip beach clubs and breezy villas. But why must the aesthetic of a lavish seaside getaway in a far-away resort be reserved solely for our holidays? Coastal cool interiors are all the rage right now, turning your humble abode into a mirage of seascape tones, soft-hued woods, subtle seashell motifs and creams as light as sand that feel like an extremely stylish vacation at any time of the year.

“As the seasons change and we begin to dream of summer holidays, it’s natural to get a desire to create that holiday feeling all year round, and it’s easy to achieve this through our interiors,” says Kate Instone, founder of Blush Interiors which has offices in Dubai, London and the USA. “If we fill our homes with flowing voile curtains and warm Mediterranean hues accented with aqua blues and sea foam greens, we might be sitting in Dubai, but we will feel as if we are in Ibiza.” “There is something relaxing and de-stressing about a coastal interior,” agrees US-based celebrity interior designer Robert Novogratz, who recently completed the breezy redesign of a luxurious 1930s Spanish villa in West Hollywood’s prestigious Bird Streets. “It reminds us of the beach, and there are always calm, cool vibes associated with that look. It’s not frenetic, but easy. Casual in a way, but still very stylish.”

Photographed by Amy Neunsinger for Novogratz’s Bird Streets Project in Hollywood

Once synonymous with anchors, nautical stripes and an obscene amount of seashells, the coastal décor of today gives homes a chic beach house style that is decidedly less kitschy and in-your-face. Dictated by a clean palette of white and soft tones, plenty of raw materials and an abundance of natural light, it feels like a Balearic summer all year round. “It’s the way colour is used,” adds Novogratz. “Lots of breezy shades of sky, sun and sand, or maybe it’s just the vibe of a certain minimalism people associate with a coastal interior. Lots of white and lots of blank spaces helps, with some less formal but very chic interior aspects.” His Bird Streets project, for example, made use of white oak floors for the inside spaces and vanilla-hued Venetian plaster walls, limestone benchtops and white-oak cabinets in the spacious kitchen. The trend can also be seen perfectly channeled in the Mandarin Oriental’s new stunning five- bedroom finca style villa perched on a 148-acre private island just off the coast of Ibiza — one of the group’s Exclusive Homes, a hand-picked collection of the most luxurious private homes in the world’s most sought-after locations, it makes for the perfect inspiration when it comes to luxuriously laid-back interiors.

With this relaxed vibe part and parcel of the trend, incorporating plenty of natural elements is a must. Think furniture crafted from wicker, rattan or light, weathered woods (opt for white-washed, blond maple or ash), statement pieces come with woven detailing and beading combined with seaside accent colours and coral-inspired designs. “Materials should always be kept natural with washed linens in creams and taupes, crisp white cottons, weather woods, chunky knit throws and sisal, straw or jute rugs,” adds Instone. This is vital to ensure that the trend veers away from nautical which, though often confused with coastal, is something very different indeed. “A nautical interior uses bold navy blues and bright whites,” she continues. “As you might see on a superyacht, the materials can be far more glossy and the final look is polished and refined, with linens and cottons mixed with velvets and silks. A coastal interior is far more natural and relaxed.”

Being sure to practice what she preaches, Instone is currently working on a beautiful villa in Dubai’s District One, utilising all of these aspects to recreate a contemporary city style with an LA twist. “My client decided that they needed a weekend getaway and purchased a place in the Royal Atlantis,” she explains. “They wanted this to be totally different from their city home, opting for a coastal chic interior. It’s a place where they can really switch off, the relaxed aesthetic essential.” As such, a custom sectional sofa with loose linen covers dominates the living room, sitting on a mini binding weave sisal rug from Stark carpets. Sculptural whitewashed blocks of wood are used as tables with two relaxed linen-covered armchairs, while billowing sheer linen curtains frame the view over the ocean. Over the kitchen hangs a bespoke lighting installation in Bohemian crystal with varying shades of blue in a wave design representing the ocean, while the master bedroom is almost minimalistic in its design approach — a peaceful, uncluttered space comprising a simple four poster bed in weathered teak, a soft blue cashmere throw and a layer of cotton scatter cushions.

A Dubai project from Blush Interiors

Last but not least, when it comes to lighting, more is most certainly more to avoid your space feeling dim and cramped. Light, open and airy rooms are key to nailing this aesthetic, which brings the outdoors in with large windows, glass doors and skylights. “While lighting is always an important aspect of any room design, when it comes to a coastal vibe you want it to be bright, but also serene,” explains Novogratz. “You want to create a situation where the outside is brought in, but it is not overwhelming.” When natural light is limited, opt for low-level lighting such as table lamps and overhead pendants rather than harsh LED downlights: “This kind of indirect light combined with candles creates a perfect cosy evening vibe,” adds Instone. Sounds like a home we’d never want to leave.

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