We love spending time on the English coast (St. Mawes in Cornwall, Torquay in Devon, Emsworth in Hampshire and Blakeney in Norfolk are particular favourites). Here’s how to incorporate the best bits of English coastal style into your home.
Light and colour
Artists have for centuries appreciated the special quality of the light by the sea – make the most of this by using predominantly pale colours.
Stay minimal and keep everything in shades of white and grey, or choose shades of blues, greens and creams as the fundamentals then add in bright, cheering colours:
- Blocks of vibrant shades
- Bold patterns
- Take inspiration from candy-striped beach huts
Incorporate plenty of lighting options for different weather or moods – bright overhead, shell-inspired, soft decorative table lamps
Coastal style suits natural materials – cottons, linens, wicker and reed-work; stone and timber (reclaimed or panelled are especially on point), brass and galvanised steel. Look for locally sourced products to reduce energy use and to support regional economies.
Using natural materials, especially if they haven’t been processed too much, allows you to add texture – wide weaves and plaiting can work well. You can use varnish or wax to protect rough surfaces on timber, stone, porcelain or metal.
Make sure the materials you use are beautiful, but not too delicate so they are able to withstand the sea air.
Artwork and beauty
The elements at the coast, and in particular the sea, naturally shape objects into beautiful or interesting forms and consistencies. A beachcombing walk can quickly produce an amazing harvest of fascinating items to use.
That doesn’t necessarily mean seashell clad mirrors, tho you can go down that route for a bit of kitsch…
We’ve used driftwood for shelving, stones and shells as decorative ‘objets’, nautical rope for handrails and foraged coastal plants and flowers for decoration and to eat!
Judicious searching through work produced by local artists can produce some beautiful and memorable pieces.
Coastal living is synonymous with freshness – the stereotype is of spending all your time outside in the sunshine. However, most of us have plenty of experience of English coasts with different weather conditions…. Design in features for all weathers –doors and windows that can be thrown wide open to let in the fresh but considerfitting a woodburning stove (with the correct flues and smoke filters, of course), thick, well-fitting curtains or blindsplenty of throws to wrap up with after spending time in the wind or the sea!
Appeal to as many of your senses as possible and replicate the fresh air of the coast using citrus, pine and minty scents – essential oil diffusers or candles and scented toiletries can evoke your time at the seaside
Taking it to the next level:
- Buy or rent a beach hut
- Invest in a boat – dinghy or luxury yacht (and watch this space for our advice on (small) yacht styling…)