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Give Your Home A Coastal Feel (Even if You Don’t Live Near the Water)

Warm weather has us all anticipating summer sea breezes and water views no matter our Northeast address. “The reason so many people gravitate to the coastal aesthetic is because of the feeling it evokes: that sense of serenity and joy that comes from being by the water,” says Meg Young, founder and creative director of Cailíní Coastal, a luxury home goods brand that infuses a bit of coastal cool into every element of their collection. So how do we as homeowners tap into that feeling of being on the water even when we don’t live on the coast? We called on the advice of a few design experts from three brands who have coastal elegance down pat.

 “That emotion is something you can recreate in your home year-round, regardless as to whether or not a coastline is near, through the use of coastal inspired colors and materials,” says Young. 

Keep to a Seaside Palette 

Designers agree, color, materials and pattern can create the vibe without anchors and seashells.  

Color is a huge factor in setting the tone, agrees Rhonda Eleish, co-owner and co-founder of Eleish Van Breems interior design studio based in Westport. She and co-owner and founder Edie Van Breems also own a series of home goods shops called Eleish Van Breems Home, found in Westport, CT, New Preston, CT, and Nantucket, MA. The shop has number of lines that are modern, fresh and timeless with a decidedly coastal vibe. “Coastal vibes are easily infused into interiors by simply applying colors and furnishings that are soothing, fresh and un-cluttered,” she advises. Choose tonally inspired blues, earth tones and soft whites that reflect the coastal landscape, from sea to sand to shells. For example, the Agenta Livjin oval high serving dish comes in a beautiful turquoise as well as a deep green or white.

Natural fibers like rattan are at once casual and coastal “without making things look beachy,” says Ruth Ann Davids, lead design advisor at Serena & Lily Westport. For inland homes, add just a touch, like a pretty chair, tray or mirror. Such details “can add warmth, texture and a light and bright feel to any home,” she says. Davids loves the La Jolla Baskets for summer shoes, towels and the like, while the Joon jute rug from Serena & Lily is a sandy foundation for any room. “Using shades of coastal colors can infuse a light and airy feel to a space but also work year-round by incorporating layers,” adds Davids. “A quick refresh of decorative textiles (think pillows, throws, quilts and slipcovers) in varying complementary colors aid in transitioning your home from season to season.” 

Summer sheets keep you cool on warm nights. Davids recommends Serena & Lily’s Beach Club percale or Positano linen sheeting for a coastal feel, paired with a seersucker duvet. Van Breems loves to decorate the table with Axlings linens. They have a laid-back casual vibe and come in shades of green, blue, white and yellow among others. 

Limit Seashells and Boats

When it comes to literal coastal references like nautical art or shell objects, follow a 90/10 rule, advises Young at Cailíní Coastal: “Let 90% of your home evoke the coast through color and materials and 10 percent through literal coastal pieces. This ratio will ensure your coastal home stays sophisticated. If you live in a resort town or coastal community and want to embrace the coastal look even more, you can take an 80/20 approach. Alternatively, if you want to capture the coastal essence without being literal in any way, you can still achieve that coastal vibe exclusively through colors and materials. No shells required!”

Promote an Indoor/Outdoor Lifestyle

Part of what we all love about coastal living is spending time with friends and family and getting outdoors. Cailíní Coastal recently released a new summer collection inspired by a quintessential American summer by the coast. Among their must-haves, says Young: a great door mat to welcome guests, a versatile vase for fresh flowers or faux stems for a touch of greenery, dinnerware for al fresco dining and their collection of faux bamboo luggage racks for summer guests.

Lighting is another way to set the mood advises Davids. “We love a nice grouping of different shapes and sizes—and the coastal air of the natural rattan of our Tortola lanterns is an instant mood setter.”

“Fresh air, sunshine and family are what it’s all about,” says Van Breems. She recommends the Danish designed outdoor furnishings from Cane Line for the patio or deck paired with a selection of modern tabletop décor. 

Keep it Timeless

But no matter whether you choose the smooth modern lines of Georg Jensen reminiscent of ocean waves, the colorful and linear cups from Hellerware or the natural elegance of rattan like the Nest outdoor lounge chair, don’t worry about mixing styles or colors or keeping too strictly to one type of seaside vibe, advises Van Breems. 

“Buy what you love,” says Van Breems. “The mix is your story. Having confidence to be you will ensure your interiors are timeless. It’s when you worry about trends, you are always running that race. Interiors are like fashion. Find who you are and what works for you. That is the secret.”

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