If you love the easy, breezy look of a coastal property or a shore home then this is the style for you!

Interpreting your own personal style is a process that can take years, and your own individual interpretation of any style will continue to evolve over time. We’ve made it a bit easier with our style quiz – Go ahead, we’ll wait 😉

8 Sure Signs Coastal Chic is Your Signature Style

If this is your style, you are particularly drawn to the layers of tradition and memories from generations. The intention of this style is to re-create a timeless, relaxed and comfortable environment that is inspired by the beach and ocean.

Coastal Chic style is commonly associated with Cape Cod and it’s islands, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts, and the Hamptons in Long Island, New York, but hails from the entire east coast iconic U.S. beachside areas. This look is an in-house specialty for our firm. Having summered at the Cape for the last 30 years, we have eagerly interpreted the style at our own place, and for homeowners even in city homes. It is a favourite for us.

When you hear someone say “coastal style,” you may imagine a beach house with bleached-wood floors wicker furniture and lots of ocean-collected treasures. There are actually quite a few interpretations of this style depending on what coast you are envisioning. Whether your vision is Grace and Frankie, or Something’s Got to Give, we’ve got you covered.

Maybe your vision is …

  1. West coast – a more modernized rugged interpretation typically is created with a palette of neutrals. Kelly Deck’s work comes to mind. Picture the Washington State/British Columbia coastline.
  2. Tropical – citrus colours and breezy palm trees.
  3. Hamptons – Queen Anne furniture, slipcovers and an off-white palette.
  4. Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard – blue and white, nautical stripes, beach plums and hydrangeas come to mind.
  5. Southern states – Pastels and warm neutrals remind us of Charleston and the southern east coast.
  6. West Palm Beach – art deco inspired with palm trees and chalky pastels reminiscent of the 60s.
  7. Bamboo and tiki bars.
  8. California coastal

Dressed up or dressed down, whatever your version, this style is for you. We are focussing on the iconic version from Cape Cod and/or the Hamptons since this is the most often asked-for look when clients call in.

Read on for the tell-tale signs this is your signature look.

1. Your favourite colour is blue!

It all starts and ends with this. Blue and white never get old for you. Set against a backdrop of faded neutrals and natural linen and white – lots of white, this look is crisp and classic. If blue’s not your thing, don’t worry. Pick a favourite colour and keep the colour scheme simple. One or two hues with white will work. Some of my favourite coastal spaces have used unconventional colours schemes. It’s the other clues in the space that signal a coastal vibe.

2. Your favourite time of year is summer.

You live for the lazy hazy crazy days of summer. The rest of the year is filler to support your primary goal – get more out of your summer. If you live in flip flops and swim-suits and have a wardrobe full of cover-ups this is for you.

3. You are an outdoors person.

…and love your indoors to reflect the sunshine too. If you have to be indoors, it might as well remind you of the days at the beach.

Simple, breezy white window treatments blur the line between inside and outside, so you can feel like you are outside rain or shine. Simply sitting outside with a tall iced tea is better than any day at the spa.

4. You never met a basket you didn’t love

You love natural materials and I’ll bet you never met a basket you didn’t love. Wicker, rattan, sea grass, sisal, they all add to the outdoor feeling you love in your home.

5. A vacation doesn’t count unless it is at a beach.

Don’t get me wrong, New york and Paris have their charm but it doesn’t count as a restorative vacation unless there is serious hang at the beach time.

6. Easy living is your vibe

You have no need for fussy ornate, or formal furniture in your home. Slipcovers are the best in your books. Toss them in the wash and start over if you have a spill. It shouldn’t get more complicated than that.

7. Seashells are your idea of perfect accessories.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen our share of up-scale,framed in silver seashell art. It doesn’t have to mean the shabby chic version you may be picturing. We love them all. Driftwood, coral, seaglass … accents that remind us of our favourite seaside vacations are all great options in our books.

8. Dress for dinner? Why yes, I’ll toss on a swim suit cover up!

Okay, maybe we can compromise at sundresses for the women, chinos and oxford-cloth button down shirts for the men if we are pulling up to a repast of lobster and New England style chowder but dressing at the Cape is a dressed-down easy-living version.

Here’s how we achieve the look:

Lots of blue and white – of course. Whatever blue is your fav – there are no rules here. Cobalt, cornflower blue, Classic navy, marine blue, or turquoise or aqua. They all pair beautifully with white.

Set the colour against a neutral backdrop of white and natural linen, muslin, or cotton.

Architectural molding will set the tone. For a more traditional look, panel molding and crown will work, for a classic Cape-Cod style, beadboard is the way to cinch it.

Coastal New England and the Hamptons feature traditional styling with Victorian elements. Classic nautical elements are typical. Onion lanterns like you see below are popular. Taken at our favourite restaurant at Cape Cod, the Ocean House, this showcases a dressed-down version of fine dining at the Cape. White table cloths, silver accents, and classic nautical details set the stage for dinner overlooking nantucket Sound.

A Caribbean interpretation includes notes of Colonialism in the dark-wood selections.

Victoria Hagen, known for her classic coastal spaces – a long-time favourite of mine (below).

Victoria Hagen
Victoria Hagen
Victoria Hagen

To show a few examples that do not use the classic blue and white here are a few from a 2016 Hamptons Showhouse. The common element is blue, mixed with aqua, green and white – lots of white!

Coastal living 2016 Hamptons ShowHouse 272 Brik Kiln Ln, bridgehampton, ny bridgehampton/Sag Harbor
Coastal living 2016 Hamptons ShowHouse 272 Brik Kiln Ln, bridgehampton, ny bridgehampton/Sag Harbor
Coastal living 2016 Hamptons ShowHouse 272 Brik Kiln Ln, bridgehampton, ny bridgehampton/Sag Harbor

As promised, we’ve got great news. One of our favourite sources for all things coastal, Serena and Lily is having a sale and we’ve picked out some of our favourites just for you. As usual, if you see anything you like, click on the picture to see more info and, if you wish, order.

As always, don’t forget to pin this for easy reference as a quick cheat sheet to help you achieve your own easy breezy coastal style.

*** My standard disclaimer: Please note, some of these items may be offered through affiliate links which means I could get a small commission if you order. That will never influence what I find lovely and want to share with you. I always offer suggestions I would buy for my home or recommend to a client. Also, rest assured it won’t affect the price you would otherwise pay.