Classy Coastal Décor

An aqua living room conveys a coastal tone.

There is a fine line drawn in the sand when it comes to beach themed décor for your home. You can take the nautical route, with navy stripes, anchors, rope and red accents; the European island retreat where everything is white with dark wood and hints of bold colors or the literal beach party where everything is a nauseating tacky display of flip flops, umbrellas, seashells, crabs and signs that say the word “beach.”

These days, one design trend has emerged that seems to select all the classy components of coastal living, with simple elements that say summer on the water. It’s an effortless, breezy way to deck out your home for the season using cream furniture, aqua accents, clean and basic wall art and weathered driftwood. Redesign your home to suit your Long Island coastal living.

Decorative accents

Blue waterscape vases (Photo courtesy of West Elm)

Adorning coffee tables and wall shelves can come in an assortment of knickknacks. A colorful glass mosaic bowl in shades of blue can hold potpourri or those round orbs that are perfect for every room and works perfectly as a table centerpiece. A giant piece of clean, white coral can also be a discussion piece. On the floor, consider some lanterns, a favorite decoration that suits many styles and seasons year round. Weathered white accents, if you’re going coastal, in all different sizes, are a nice touch to add some attention to the corners of the floor in any room.

White spike coral $29.50 (Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn)

When it comes to framing art, oceanic scenes, colors or sketches of a starfish and other sea dwelling creatures are enough to use once or 10 times in a gallery wall over a desk or through the hall. Don’t go as far as a message in a bottle, but try using glass votives with sand or a white flower for simple touches. Bowls and ceramic vases also work as another layer of design and are perfect for tucking away candles.

Throw pillows

Nothing can change the look of a couch more than throw pillows. With hundreds of variates to choose from, adding a few decorative pillows to your couch not only adds a pop of color, it also makes the room inviting, beckoning guests in for a drink. Use different hues of blue and light grays against a cream couch, and stripes, quatrefoils or damask prints. Sea life, a compass, and phrases also work well with accent pillows, just avoid the literal ones, like “Don’t be crabby, you’re at the beach,” or “it’s island time.” The idea is to keep it classy. Try to use pillows that say “relax” or “wish you were here,” phrases that make your home a retreat instead being punny and stating the obvious.

Tell a story

Add a pop of color with books. (Photo courtesy of Etsy Shop sorrythankyou79)

Books are one of the few ways that allow people to escape their current place in life to a world all their own. If you’re sticking with your coastal theme here, use themed books as a decorative element. Coffee table books about the ocean, islands, coastal colors, food and art can be stacked on a table or placed on a bookshelf. Their colors will lend to your overall palette and they are one of the few decorative elements that are both practical and useful.

Stack and store

Baskets and bins are decorative elements in their own right.

Storage bins have become so much more than a place to keep children’s toys and miscellaneous items that don’t have a home. They have so often been used as a decorative piece that they are become more visually appealing. From wicker and wood to hand painted and equipped with a leather or rope handle, these bins and boxes look beautiful lined up on a shelf or in the corner of a room. Put them high enough on a shelf to conceal what’s in them (a great way to hide wires, speakers and gaming systems) or keep their practicality useful at a lower level. Big storage baskets are perfect for tossing a few blankets and throws or potting a plant.

Jennifer Fauci
Jennifer Fauci is the former managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group's award-winning special sections and Anton’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of six PCLI awards.


  1. Hi Jennifer! You are singing our song about decorating for a beach home – one other thing that I would add, is to make sure that you are decorating for your lifestyle and your area of the coast, to keep the look natural and not “beachy”. We’ve specialized in coastal decor for many years, and have customers all over the United States and we are always on the look out for items for our customers that do not look like they came from the gift shop! Nice article –

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