21 Stylish and Relaxed Coastal Living Room Ideas

coastal living room ideas

Living by the coast is a dream for many but reality for a few. If you want to recreate this look at home there are many tips and tricks that you can follow.

Try not to be too obvious with your coastal scheme and avoid gaudy seaside quotes and motifs. Instead, elevate a nautical design by following these innovative ideas.

21 Stylish & Relaxed Coastal Living Room Ideas

1.Elevate The Ceiling With Natural Wood Cladding

Being by the coast naturally inspires a sense of relaxation and calm. Mimic the style of coastal houses with wooden cladding on your ceiling.

Use a matte varnish on top to protect it and to avoid your ceiling from looking too shiny and new – you want to keep a rustic feel.

coastal living room

2.Use A Defining Blue On Woodwork

Blue and white is a classic coastal combination. Think of new ways to incorporate it into a living room scheme so it doesn’t feel dated.

Painting your woodwork a contrasting colour to your walls is a modern way of decorating and looks effortlessly stylish.

coastal living room 1
Instagram image credit: kelliboydphoto

3.Light The Space With Black Lanterns

A great trick for making a coastal scheme look more contemporary is introducing black accents. This doesn’t have to be overwhelming, you can add subtle changes that’ll make all the difference.

Black framed light fittings are a great example and this lantern design is a classic piece.

coastal living room 2
Instagram image credit: @capellodesign

4.Use Natural Materials Like Rattan & Seagrass In Your Living Room Design

Natural materials are synonymous with coastal settings. For example, rattan and seagrass. There are lots of different ways to incorporate these materials into a living room including furniture, lighting and soft furnishings.

coastal living room 3
Instagram image credit: @calusabaydesign

5. Use Bright White On Half Wall Panelling For A Crisp Feel

Keep a nautical living room light and fresh by using crisp white in your colour palette. This will automatically lift any other shades and make it feel light and bright. 

White walls contrasted with darker furniture is an ideal pairing for adding depth.

coastal living room 4
Instagram image credit: @calusabaydesign

6. Be Thoughtful With Wall Art & Coastal Inspired Decorative Items

Try not to go overboard (pardon the pun) with your choice of coastal themed motifs and decorations. The odd piece of art or wall hanging is fine but limit yourself to a couple of pieces per room.

coastal living room 5
Instagram image credit: @agk_designstudio

7. Tie Your Colour Scheme Together With Black Accents

Use black accents in a coastal themed living room to make the whole scheme feel cohesive. Create your own gallery wall with pictures or photographs in black frames for a contemporary update.

coastal living room 6
Instagram image credit: @driftwooddesignsbykm

8. Set A Boundary In Your Space With A Large Natural Jute Area Rug

If your living room is open plan and happens to be in the same space as your kitchen or dining area, it’s a good idea to try and zone off the different sections.

Using a rug to do this is really effective and for a coastal themed living room, jute is perfect.

coastal living room 7
Instagram image credit: @theheartandhaven

9. Use Soft Greys In Your Colour Scheme

It can be quite tempting to stick to blue and white when designing a coastal living room, however try and incorporate more than one neutral to add depth and interest.

Soft greys that are neither cool or warm toned will work well with traditional nautical colours.

coastal living room 8
Instagram image credit: @homziedesigns

10. Paint The Fifth Wall!

A ceiling, otherwise known as ‘the fifth wall’ should never be dismissed. Paint your ceiling in a contrasting colour to your walls to make a bold statement.

Blue is a fabulous colour to use as it evokes images of the sea, sky and nature in general.

coastal living room 9
Instagram image credit: @aliciamurphydesign

11. Bring That Natural, Rustic Feel With Wooden Doors

Strip back your living room and incorporate rustic wooden doors into your scheme. If your wooden doors are currently painted, use a paint stripper and sander to strip them right back, leaving them in their raw state.

coastal living room 10
Instagram image credit: @abbey_singharath

12. Add Character With Wooden Ceiling Beams

Wooden beams are a desirable characteristic and look right at home in a coastal-inspired living room. 

Pairing wooden beams with shiplap panelling definitely feels nautical.

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Instagram image credit: @kcharlottephoto

13. Use A Gorgeous Blue On Your Walls

Choosing the right shade of blue for your space can be tricky. A paint sample can look vastly different in a shop compared to when you’ve got it on the walls at home due to the amount of natural lighting that’s available in that room.

We recommend getting at least three to try out to see which one works best. Instead of opting for a baby blue shade that can look quite sickly, choose something a little more muted.

coastal living room 12
Instagram image credit: @puresaltinteriors

14. Make White & Blue Dominant Colours In Your Living Room

Don’t shy away from using blue and white, make it an obvious pairing. Contrast a pure white sofa with blue colour block cushions and a set of decorative vases.

Seaside motifs such as coral and seashells make for fabulous prints and artwork.

coastal living room 13
Instagram image credit: @making_your_home_beautiful

15. Softer Tones Add A Relaxed, Stylish Feel

For something a little more relaxed, opt for a soft muted colour palette that consists of warm neutrals and muted blues.

Instead of choosing a bright white for the walls, go for either an off white or a beige to keep things feeling cosy and inviting.

coastal living room 14
Instagram image credit: @wisteria.house_

16. Ticking Stripe Is A Classic Fabric Choice

Stripes are one of the key elements of any coastal scheme and for good reason – they never go out of style! A subtle ticking stripe pattern looks fabulous on an upholstered chair or a sofa. 

We love these Bobbin style wooden armchairs as they feel bang on trend.

coastal living room 15
Instagram image credit: @megleonardco

17. Create A Light & Airy Aesthetic

For a coastal themed living room you want as much natural light as possible flooding through the windows. To accentuate this, try and include white where possible and add a mirror or two to bounce light around the room.

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Instagram image credit: @therivierahouse

18. Combine Vertical & Horizontal Panelling For Interest

Lay panelling in different formations for a fun design feature. This shiplap panelling has been laid so it doesn’t match up on purpose.

Following the natural lines of the ceiling and the walls is a great way to be sensitive towards architectural features.

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Instagram image credit: @traditionallycoastal

19. Blue Stripes Are A Key Characteristic of Coastal Design

There’s no denying that blue stripes are a fundamental feature of coastal interiors and there are lots of different ways to incorporate them.

An upholstered striped chair makes for a great unapologetic feature or a striped wallpaper will create a similar effect.

coastal living room 18
Instagram image credit: @thecabanachandler

20. Add A Feature Wall With Colour

Feature walls are a lovely way of bringing colour into a space without it feeling too brash. 

For a coastal scheme, paint one wall blue and the rest white to balance out the room. We’d recommend painting the wall with windows blue, like the design pictured below.

coastal living room 19
Instagram image credit: @emilymossdesigns

21. Mix Wooden Tones For A Distressed, Coastal Style

Untreated wood naturally brings a rustic feel to a living room space and mixing different tones of wood really amplifies this. 

Incorporating a wooden ceiling and floor is a clever way of making a space feel bigger as it creates a mirroring effect.

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Photo of author


Becca Cullum-Green

Becca Cullum-Green is a freelance interiors content creator and stylist. She fell in love with interiors when she landed her first job as an editorial assistant at a leading UK homes magazine fresh out of university. You can find her renovating her 19th-century cottage in the Suffolk countryside, consciously trying not to paint every wall with Farrow and Ball’s ‘Pitch Black’. Her signature style is a mix of modern design with traditional characteristics. She has previously worked for House Beautiful, Grand Designs, Good Housekeeping, Red, Good Homes and more.

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