Can coastal decor work for inland homes?

Tips for Creating Effective Costal Decor

A water feature makes a very effective focal point, but you can use any number of other elements, instead. A dining room mural will work, and so will a nautical bedspread, shower curtain or kitchen wallpaper pattern. The only potential problem is an embarrassment of riches. There are so many motifs available that it's easy to go overboard. Ever seen a decorative theme so overstated that it looks campy? You never want to do that -- unless it's Halloween. This is a partial list of potential coastal motifs that work in moderation. You may want to stick with three or possibly four that reflect the elements in your focal point. More than that and you risk overload:

  • ships
  • sailboats
  • lighthouses
  • shells
  • bells
  • dinghies
  • oars
  • surfboards
  • brass lanterns
  • driftwood
  • docks
  • treasure maps
  • sea gulls
  • pelicans
  • starfish
  • buoys
  • life preservers
  • ocean fish and mammals

Color will play an important role in making your coastal décor pop. If you're going nautical, try tans, deep reds, navy blue, medium blue, medium grey, bark brown and eggshell. A distressed look works really well when creating a fishing village vibe. If you're after something more Mediterranean, build on wonderful sunset colors like mauve, pink and lavender. Want something reminiscent of the tropical breezes and fruity drinks of your cruise fantasy? Use bold colored accents like lush reds, oranges and turquoise. Coupled with rattan furniture and potted plants, this one makes a startling and effective design on a deck or patio.

Don't wait for your next vacation to indulge yourself. Give your home a coastal makeover. If you long for salt spray and the mournful call of distant foghorns, geography shouldn't be a barrier. Feeling the pull of the tide, even in the middle of a cornfield, is your design prerogative.

Related Articles


  • Better Homes and Gardens. "New Decorating Book." Meredith Books. 2007.
  • Coastal Living. "50 Comfy Cottage Rooms. Undated. (3/29/11).
  • Decorating Coach. "Breezy Coastal Decorating." Undated. (3/29/11).
  • Home Depot. "Decorating 1-2-3." Meredith Books. 2000
  • Ocean Styles. "Product Categories." Undated. (3/29/11).
  • Super Home Ideas. "Creative Ideas for Decorating a Living Room with a Nautical Theme." Undated. 3/29/11).
  • Themed Home Décor. "Coastal Decorating." Undated. (3/29/11).