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Modernizing Beach Appeal with Coastal Contemporary Design

Modernizing Beach Appeal with Coastal Contemporary Design

Mar 1st 2021

Modernizing Beach Appeal with Coastal Contemporary DesignContemporary coastal design is characterized by a neutral color palette with pops of accent colors, an uncluttered environment, and clean lines for furnishings and décor.

Coastal design has long been characterized by easy neutrals, breezy interiors, and an overall relaxing vibe punctuated by beachy elements. It's a little haphazard, a bit rumpled, but altogether laid-back, lived in, and comfortable.

You could say that it's neither particularly sophisticated nor elegant, which can be a real turn-off for homeowners who prefer a neat and tidy interior. That said, if you love the airy appeal of a typical beach home, you can still get the modern, streamlined feeling you crave when you lean toward coastal contemporary design.

How does this style differ from traditional coastal design? What does it borrow from its chill, coastal cousin? How can you make this marriage of laid-back and buttoned-up vibes mesh? Here are a few ways to capture the best of both worlds with coastal contemporary styling.

Keep the Color Palette

Bright whites and warm, sandy shades dominate coastal design, with pops of color in watery blues and greens, as well as coral. This is something you'll want to carry over when you update to contemporary styling, but you might consider throwing in a few warm touches with accents in sunny yellows and citrusy oranges for modern appeal. Think of the colors in a sunset and you'll get the idea.

Nix the Kitsch

When you live in a place long enough, it starts to get that lived-in feeling, which often means layers of stuff that can constitute clutter. Coastal design often incorporates layers, including layered rugs, lots of plush pillows and cozy throws, and plenty of ocean-themed tchotchkes, like driftwood, shells, pieces of coral, fishing floats, oars, nets, and other nautical items. Distressed furniture is another hallmark of this style.

Contemporary styles tend to have a cleaner, more streamlined look that seems counterintuitive to the relaxed, beachy vibe of coastal, but the two can marry nicely if you eliminate some kitsch and take a modern approach to décor. Instead of dumping a bunch of shells in a bowl, piling driftwood in the corner, or hanging a tableau of netting and floats from the ceiling, try to self-edit. Choose one large piece for a focal point, like a ship's wheel, or curate small, organized collections to maintain a clean, uncluttered appearance throughout the home.

Opt for Clean Lines

You'll want to lean toward modern furnishings, just with a beach-friendly style. Wooden or wicker pieces are still fine, as long as they feature strong lines and simple styling. Instead of lumpy couches and chairs, choose firm, mid-century modern pieces. Think Eames, Ekornes, and the Scandinavian design style, but in neutral hues to support your color palette.

In Conclusion

Updating the relaxed beach style can help you to achieve a peaceful, modern living space. All you have to do to complete a contemporary coastal design look is start with a neutral color palette, punch it up with nautical accents, keep the kitsch to a minimum, and opt for clean lines in furniture and décor.