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Your home in North Carolina: what is a coastal style living room?

Friday, August 12, 2022   /   by Anne Rose

Your home in North Carolina: what is a coastal style living room?

Living on the coast evokes a feeling of relaxation and calm, and those are the key objectives of decorating your coastal style living room. The goal in creating a coastal theme for your home's primary living space is to infuse it with positive energy with the best coastal home design details, coastal decor ideas, and a nature-inspired color palette.

In a coastal style living room, design is ruled by natural materials, curated coastal-inspired accessories, and hues of the ocean, sand, and sky. The goal is to create an inviting, timeless living space with a nod to the beauty restorative power of the coast.

On the coast, home floor plans are often designed with a popular contemporary open concept. The living room is open to a large kitchen with an extended island or bar, eat-in space, and a dining room that flows naturally from the sitting area. One of the most noticeable characteristics of a coastal living room is that the space is meant to be lived in - furnishings and decor are comfortable, inviting, and easy care.

Heavy, dark furniture and rich fabrics of traditional home decor often feel out of place on the coast.

"When I think of 'coastal decor,' I immediately envision large windows that allow Mother Nature's natural light to stream into a coastal living room. Soaring ceilings give your living room a feeling of spaciousness. A neutral wall paint allows for you to change your accessories seasonally without breaking the bank," says Becky Brown, Broker/Realtor®. "The ideal Southern living room isn't overcrowded with furniture or tchotchkes. Instead, furnishings are all about function, comfort, and entertaining. An assortment of dramatic house plants will bring it all together."  

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A coastal living room is reminiscent of the seaside, and coastal style design as a theme is fairly easy to implement. Obvious choices are white linen or duck sofas, natural textiles and fibers, weathered and light toned woods. Aim for light, airy, and inviting with all of your decor choices, from furniture and textiles to decorating accessories.

Coastal Living Room Furnishings

Don't neglect the fact that coastal living rooms trend to casual and that conversational seating is preferred. The most inviting coastal living room decor has both an easy, calm feeling and a clean, simple-to-care-for aesthetic.

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To achieve a coastal feel in your living room, choose for light materials in your furniture instead of heavy textiles like velvet or leather. A perfect choice would be a white, sea foam blue, or soft tan sofa, in a pre-washed canvas, cotton, or woven linen. Crisp cotton slipcovers make it simple to change the look of your room, and keep it guest, pet, and beach-friendly. When selecting the style of your sofa, opt for styles that prioritize soft lines and comfort instead of structured, formal pieces.

"When I think of a coastal style living room, I think white slipcovered sofa or chairs, because slipcovers are an easy way to lighten the look of any room," says Mary Ellen Slugg, KBT Director of Operations. "Different shades of blue with some light green, driftwood-colored tables create an inviting space for entertaining and enjoying life on the coast."

For additional seating, rattan armchairs and furniture with caning details have a natural coastal feel. Teak and other light-colored wood chairs also fit easily into a coastal scheme, especially when accented with plush, light-colored cushions. Incorporate natural materials throughout your coastal living room. We love rattan or synthetic wicker and glass side tables, mosaic-topped coffee tables, cotton canvas seating poufs, walls of built-in or tall open shelves to display your beach treasures.

Coastal Living Room Colors

One thing almost all coastal living room designs have in common are their bright and airy nature, which combines a beach-y color palette with natural light for a living room that’s comfortable and inviting.

"Coastal living rooms tend to have soft, natural color palettes with plenty of sandy, white, and ivory neutrals, as well as a mix of blues. You can also weave in other earthy tones of greens, pinks, and yellows. But varying shades of blues are definitely the predominant color you’ll see in a coastal living room design," suggests Teri Moylan, Broker/Realtor®.

Coastal colors are lighter shades of green and blue, and shades of white and beige -think sky, surf and sand - with the bonus of natural light to give an airy feel to the home. 

Coastal Living Room Decorating Accessories

Coastal living rooms are best accessorized with rugs, throws, and pillows in natural fabrics, layered with decor that maximizes natural elements. Baskets, pottery, jute, glass and woods are obvious choices. Chunky weaves, organic textures, and washed out colors are naturals for a coastal feel. For lighting, consider rope-wrapped table lamps, clear glass or reflective metals, and woven pendant lights.

Mary Ellen adds, "Area rugs are fun to add instant style to your room. Choose either jute/sisal, blue/white striped or light area rugs that are easy to find and work well in a coastal living room. Also, lighting. I like the mix of black wrought iron, especially if some of the other details in your living room mimic it, like a black metal fish sculpture on the fireplace mantel, or candle sticks."

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Teri concurs, "Don't think too literally! A coastal home doesn't have to display seashells, but it should reflect a relaxed and casual atmosphere. If you're lucky enough to be on the beach, take advantage of your splendid views and if you're a little farther away, you may want to add in art that reflects the views you wish you had."   

When putting up window coverings, opt for lightweight or sheer drapes for a breezy feeling and to let in as much of your coastal view and sunshine as possible. Bahama shutters are an obvious choice, and beautiful valances that add a touch of color without covering the windows are an excellent option.

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Make your coastal living room come to life with finishing touches of beach and seaside elements. You can opt for a full-on theme, or select subtle hints of coastal living. It's easy to add simple updates and accessories that you can change out for a new look, or to update your coastal living room on a regular basis.

"Large glass containers full of shells from each time you walk on the beach, coastal themed-prints like herons and egrets, or an oversize beach sunset photograph by a local artist are wonderful touches," adds Nancy Baldridge, Listing Coordinator.

The final decorating touches are where you can commit to a full coastal theme - like a fireplace completely "tiled" in seashells - or choose more of a subtle nod to coastal living.

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Make the Coast Your Inspiration

The color and textures in ocean-themed artwork can be the inspiration for your coastal living room decor. Don't hesitate to be inspired by the colors and textures found along the coast to create a sophisticated and unified living room decor scheme.

Adding extra color or texture in your coastal-inspired living room is your opportunity to have fun. Think corals, turquoise, navy blue and other inviting palettes. Every touch should have the goal of adding warmth to the bright and breezy elements in living area of your home.


  coastal home decor

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