Make waves at home


Published: Sunday 28th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Just the sound of waves crashing on a shore, and the high-pitched cry of gulls, evokes a coastal scene and all its pleasures – which, unless you’re lucky enough to live by the sea, are usually only enjoyed on holidays.

But conjuring seaside style at home is easier than ever, no matter how close to the beach you live.

Perfect for summer, this look is a perennial favourite, and taking the plunge may only mean a lick of fresh paint (pick a brilliant white or a bright blue) and a few appropriate accessories, such as a sailing boat ornament or a cushion with an anchor emblem.

Before you know it, you will be decked out and shipshape.

“The term ‘nautical’ can inspire many aesthetics, from the traditional images of anchors, lighthouses and buckets and spades, to the more subtle material influences, such as stripped wood, wicker baskets and natural floor coverings like seagrass or jute, for that unspoilt beach retreat look,” says Clotilde Passalacqua, country interior design leader at Ikea.

“Take inspiration from the colours of the seaside and use soft, pastel blues for upholstered furniture or soft furnishings. These will work well paired with drfitwood browns and can combine to create an air of serenity in the home. Whatever your choice – a simple splash of stripes or all the kit for a full captain’s galley – it’s time to make waves with your decor.”

Follow these expert decor tips to ensure your transformation is plain sailing…


Blue’s a classic colour choice for channelling a nautical vibe, and white is its perfect contrasting partner.

“The pairing of white and blue hues never fails to make us smile. Fresh, bright and intrinsically linked to summer, it’s a classic combination which brings a tranquil vibe to any home,” says Claire Hornby, creative stylist at Barker & Stonehouse.

“For a new take on this much-loved look, add a touch of urban cool to traditional nautical styles, by teaming rustic finishes with contemporary shapes and clean geometric prints. This will ensure your scheme is visually interesting and gorgeously tactile.”

COASTAL CHIC: If your space is confined, stick to smaller items and dress your home with decorative cushions, patterned throws and rugs in a white and blue colourway, suggests Hornby. Paint stair risers in different shades of blue for a colourful focal point in a hallway.

GET DECKED OUT: Let your style take flight with a backdrop featuring the UK’s most iconic seaside birds; Gulls Wallpaper in British Lichen, £50 a roll, by Mini Moderns.

Get a rustic effect with the rough-hewn charm of the reclaimed wood Samson Coffee Table, currently reduced to £325 from £400, Barker & Stonehouse, who also have super silver Nautical Portlight Mirrors, currently £100 each down from £120, and an appropriate blue and white Frankie Rug, £149.

Coastal Home, whose name says it all, is overflowing with suitable products, including a blue Fisherman’s Pendant Light, £34.99, and a Welcome Aboard Life Ring, £24.95.

Stunning cushions never fail to have impact; my favourite’s an Admiral Ivory/Navy Indoor/Outdoor Pillow, RRP 75 euros (approx £53), from Dash & Albert Europe (see website for UK stockists). Just as appealing is Jan Constantine’s new Seaside Collection, which have crab, lobster and compass designs, also £75 each.

TAKE THE PLUNGE: Jolly up a display with a handsome Seaside Boats Pitcher, £20, decorated with colourful yachts, from ceramicist Dee Hardwicke. Alternatively, be the captain of your look with a Shamrock Decorative Boat, £95, John Lewis, and let your imagination set sail.


Pick up on the shades of sun-bleached whites, soft sand and creamy corals, for a mellow interpretation of coastal cool.

“Coastal style’s always a hit for the warmer seasons. This summer the look is all about depth, and there’s a whole new choice of textures and prints which could command attention,” says David Roebuck, sales and marketing director at Direct Blinds.

“Bold block colours have secured their part in the look, with blues ranging from pastel to deepest azure taking centre stage, but always set against a backdrop of sandy yellow, stark white and driftwood brown. For a bold finish, that confident pop of red is a real nautical must-have.

“Base materials are stone, glass, wood – light or painted white and distressed for a ‘sea air-weathered’ look – along with rope and other coarse woven fabrics, like hopsack. As the aim of this look is to bring the outdoors in, windows should contribute all they can to the finished design, by framing and maximising natural light. Cool base colours add an uplifting airiness, while striped or motif-printed curtains and blinds become an instant focal point for the coastal-inspired home.”

COASTAL CHIC: Topps Tiles’ Beachhouse laminate flooring, which resembles a mix of stripped and painted boards, is currently reduced to £36.59 a pack (1.22 square metres).

GET DECKED OUT: Leave the DIY to the experts; for wood panelled walls, simply opt for a faux-effect Wood Panelling Wallpaper by Albany, currently reduced to £11.99 from £19.99 per roll, Wallpaper Direct.

Dress a window with a plain but smart Elspeth Ivory Roman Blind, from £68.20, Direct Blinds. Accessorise with a round bevelled glass Monkton Mirror, which hangs on natural rope, £249, The Chandelier & Mirror Company. A golden sand-coloured Starfish Cushion, £34.95, Coastal Home, will help set the scene.

TAKE THE PLUNGE: Pay a nod to another trend – gold – by displaying a gilded Crab or Lobster On Stick, £25 each, John Lewis. I particularly like Oka’s Driftwood Candle Holder, currently reduced to £29 from £55.


Embrace a pared-back modern take on the trend and opt for a fashionable monochrome palette enlivened by metallics.

“The key to the coastal look is keeping it simple and fresh,” says Tim Tatlock, buyer at Topps Tiles.

“Be inspired by the seashore and pick from a range of shades, such as traditional deep blues or soft, sea-spray pastels. Or for a clean, more streamlined look, pair with crisp white painted walls and flooring. Compliment decor with elements from the coastline, such as seashells, weathered pieces of driftwood, or wall prints depicting sea and sailing scenes.”

COASTAL CHIC: Use open shelving to showcase coastal accessories and group finds together for an eye-catching display. Fill tall vases with sand and then scatter seashells and coral pieces on top for a focal point feature.

GET DECKED OUT: Stripped, varnished wood floors and a pale grey palette for walls will set the scene for a cool, contemporary scene that only needs a stunning wall print to set it off. Choose from a range at Whitewall, including the Segel-Regatta Berlin Wannsee, from £9-£246.

Reflect the theme with some pewter Seaside Wall Hooks, £25, Pia, and a Chrome Anchor ornament, £10, Next.

TAKE THE PLUNGE: No need to go beachcombing; simply gather some Grey Felted Pebbles, £25 for set of three, Elise & Fleur. An Avocet Preening Wooden Bird, £39,95, Coastal Home.

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Sunday 28th June 2015 by The News Editor

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