Tuesday, August 23, 2022 / by Anne Rose
This decor theme is popular for coastal style living rooms, but is easy to adapt for outdoor living spaces by using the same elements, color schemes, and lifestyle sensibility to create a welcoming outdoor oasis.
Remember that coastal, tropical, and nautical are three distinct decor themes. A coastal outdoor decor sensibility draws upon colors, textures, and materials inspired by the sun, sand, and sea.
Start with a Coastal Color Palette
Coastal decor relies upon crisp, welcoming, natural color palettes, with an emphasis on white and beige, shades of blue, greens, combined with accents of pink and coral. Coastal outdoor decor is inspired by the natural colors you see at the beach, accented with bold hues of teal and yellow. If you have a favorite color with a fresh vibe, you can easily work it into the coastal palette.
In your outdoor living space, you can select hues that are bolder and more vibrant than you would generally use indoors. For example, you could add deep cinnabar or pale red to play off corals, and rich green-blues combined with turquoise.
Because coastal living is often the epitome of indoor-outdoor synergies, it makes sense to connect your indoor living room or open concept great room with both the Carolina room and outdoor living space. An easy way to accomplish this is by staying with the same color palette throughout.
Selecting the right materials will serve you well in both design and durability.
“When selecting outdoor furnishings, consider textiles and materials that will stand up to the weather,” says Teri Moylan, Broker/Realtor®. “High quality poly furniture that comes in a variety of beautiful coastal colors is a great choice. Coastal homes often have large windows to take advantage of views, or screened-in porches to enjoy a bug-free evening, remember to tie your indoor decor to the outside for a seamless transition that maximizes coastal style.”
Coastal Style Patio and Garden Furniture
When choosing your outdoor furniture, stay with designs similar to those that you are using in your indoor living areas, especially if your living room, kitchen or great room flow easily the patio. In coastal North Carolina, your outdoor patio and garden furniture will be used almost year-round, so it should be substantial and welcoming. Think about incorporating day beds, chaise lounges, over-sized arm chairs, rocking chairs, giant ottomans, and hanging swings. Dining al fresco will become as routine as sitting around a formal dining room table. This is not the time to opt for fold-up lawn chairs.
Recommended materials include teak, reclaimed wood, distressed finishes, rope, and natural fibers. Detailing for outdoor furniture can include rattan, all-season wicker, treated wood, sea grass, and bamboo. Choose designs that create a stylish coastal vibe with airy, casual details.
Most importantly make sure that the furniture for your outdoor coastal-theme patio is easy-care, no-fuss, and practical. You don’t have to sacrifice good looks, but remember that coastal climates are hard on anything that is exposed to the elements. It’s also very practical to select furniture that can be moved easily in the case of tropical storms. Chairs that stack, tables that fold, and wheels on large pieces are convenient when bad weather looms.
Outdoor Accessories for Coastal Living
You can use accessories to add color to an outdoor living space, and while you must select hearty indoor-outdoor fabrics, there are many options in pillows, throws, cushions, and curtains. Simple decorative items, like centerpieces and tabletop or freestanding art, work best in weathered wood and natural fibers that look even more authentic after time exposed to the sun, humidity, and rain.
Fabrics add softness to your patio space and help define an open air space as living area.Sheer outdoor curtains, outdoor area rugs, and upholstery in a careful balance of bold patterns and neutral colors work well. Try to keep your space relaxed and cohesive.
Outdoor furniture is available in a rainbow of colors, and many decorators suggest crisp white cushions for a fresh coastal look, especially when offset by a sea or beach patterned outdoor rug that helps define the outdoor living space. Bold stripes are never out of place in coastal decor.
Coastal outdoor decor is easily identified by nautical motifs, which can be incorporated in your patio accessories without being cliche because you do live at the coast! Anchors, over-sized seashells, fish, colorful glass or ceramic bottles, coral, seagrass baskets, and boat items like boys and nets are easy to find as the inspiration for decorating accessories. You can add these elements to your outdoor living space in throw pillows, garden stools, seat cushions, umbrellas, outdoor wall decor, planters, and serving accessories. Less is more when decorating an outdoor space - for both convenience and maintenance - so select a few accents that help you make a large impact.
Outdoor kitchens, grills and smokers, yard ornaments, garden decor, and planters can also coordinate with your patio design. Whimsy works well in coastal decor, as well, and beach sayings on pillows or wall plaques add charm to your space. Fill containers with foliage and flowering plants to emphasize the outdoor space.
Coastal patio and yard lighting is an imperative, so select outdoor-friendly pendants, lanterns, rope lights, and landscape accent lighting. Lantern-style sconces will provide soft, inviting lighting and illuminate steps and uneven surfaces.
Extras to Think About in Designing Your Outdoor Living Space
Nothing screams function more than how you plan to use your outdoor space in a coastal home, advises Teri Moylan, Broker/Realtor®. Swimming pools and hot tubs suggest specific decorating directions. The view from your patio will also inspire outdoor decor.
Comfort and functionality should be the overarching objectives in creating your own coastal oasis in your backyard.