Coastal Chic: Nautical Themes in Interior Design

Think Interior
7 min readDec 18, 2023

Coastal chic interior design evokes the serene and timeless charm of coastal and nautical themes. With its breezy, laid-back appeal and maritime-inspired elements, this style uniquely makes you feel like you’re perpetually on vacation.

You can learn Coastal Chic: Nautical Themes in Interior Design through an interior design course. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the critical aspects of coastal chic interior design, from the calming color palettes to the art of incorporating nautical decor and accessories. Whether you want to transform your space or add a coastal flair, you’ll find inspiration and insights to achieve your desired coastal chic look.

Coastal Colors and Palettes

The coastal chic interior design style draws inspiration from the colors and palettes in coastal and beachfront settings. This palette is about capturing the serene and soothing essence of the seaside, creating an environment that feels like a continuous vacation. The selection of colors is instrumental in setting the tone for a coastal chic space. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Soft Blues: Shades of blue are the hallmark of coastal color palettes. Light and soft blues mimic the clear skies and the gentle ripples of the ocean. These hues bring a sense of calm and tranquility to the space, making it a soothing retreat.

Tranquil Greens: Soft, muted greens often appear in coastal chic designs, resembling the coastal vegetation and beachside landscapes. These greens add a refreshing touch to the color scheme.

Sandy Beiges: Beige and sandy tones evoke the warm, sun-kissed sands of the shoreline. They provide a neutral base that complements the blues and greens and brings warmth to the palette.

Crisp Whites: Crisp clean whites are essential in coastal design. They mimic the purity of sea foam and the sailcloth used on boats. White provides a sense of freshness and helps create an airy and open ambiance.

Seashell Pinks and Corals: Subtle seashell pinks and soft corals are reminiscent of shells found along the shore. These colors add a hint of femininity and warmth to the palette.

Tonal Neutrals: In coastal chic design, it’s common to incorporate a range of neutral tones, from soft grays to warm taupes. These neutrals create a sense of balance and versatility within the palette.

The goal is to choose colors that capture the feeling of gentle ocean waves, sunlit sands, and clear blue skies. When used harmoniously, these coastal colors create a calming, airy atmosphere that instantly transports you to the beach. They evoke a sense of serenity, making your interior feel like an extension of the coastal landscape. The coastal color palette sets the stage for an inviting, serene, and effortlessly stylish coastal chic interior through painted walls, upholstery, decor, or textiles.

Nautical Decor and Accessories

Nautical decor and accessories are the soul of coastal chic interior design. They are the elements that infuse your space with maritime charm, creating a feeling of being by the water’s edge. Here’s a closer look at some of the nautical decor and accessories that can transform your home into a coastal haven:

Anchors: Anchors are a quintessential nautical symbol. They can be incorporated into your decor, from anchor-shaped wall art to anchor-printed throw pillows.

Ropes and Knots: Nautical ropes and knots are functional and decorative. The string can be used to frame mirrors, create curtain tiebacks, or even as a railing for stairs. Nautical knot sculptures or framed knot displays can add an authentic touch.

Seashells: Seashells are a natural choice for coastal decor. Collect shells from the beach and display them in glass vases, bowls, or as accents on shelves. Consider shell-covered mirrors, frames, or chandeliers for a touch of seaside elegance.

Maritime Artwork: Incorporate maritime-themed artwork featuring ships, lighthouses, and coastal scenes. These pieces can be framed prints, paintings, or photographs you’ve taken during beach vacations.

Ship Wheels: Ship wheels or steering wheels are iconic nautical symbols that can be used as wall decor or incorporated into furniture design. They add a touch of maritime nostalgia to your space.

Life Preservers and Buoys: Vintage life preservers and colorful buoys can be used as wall art or fun decor pieces that instantly convey the coastal theme.

Nautical Maps and Charts: Framed nautical maps and charts can serve as functional and decorative elements. They add a sense of adventure and exploration to your coastal chic space.

Nautical Flags: Signal flags are colorful and can be used for decorative purposes. Consider framing a series of signal flags to spell out a word or message.

Nautical Lighting: Lighting fixtures with nautical themes, such as lantern-style pendant lights, rope-wrapped chandeliers, or fixtures designed to resemble ship lanterns, can be central to your coastal decor.

Boat and Oar Decor: Rowboats, canoes, and oars can be decor elements. Hang oars on the wall or use them as curtain rods to add a maritime touch.

Ships in Bottles: Nautical craftsmanship is showcased in boats in bottles, which can be displayed as charming conversation pieces.

Nautical Clocks and Barometers: Timepieces and barometers with nautical themes are functional and decorative, enhancing the maritime atmosphere.

Furniture and Materials

Furniture and materials are essential to coastal chic interior design, contributing to a space’s overall aesthetic and atmosphere inspired by the coast and the sea. Here’s a closer look at the types of furniture and materials that define coastal chic design:

Weathered Wood: Weathered wood is a hallmark of coastal chic design. It evokes the look of driftwood, aged by saltwater and sun, and adds a rustic, beachy charm to the space. Typical uses of weathered wood include coffee, dining, and side tables. Coastal chic furniture often features whitewashed or distressed finishes to enhance the weathered appearance.

Wicker and Rattan: Wicker and rattan stuff are prevalent in coastal chic design due to their breezy and casual nature. These materials are lightweight and well-suited for the laid-back seaside atmosphere. Wicker chairs, sofas, and accent pieces bring a natural, textural element to the space.

Glass and Mirrored Furniture: Glass and mirrored furniture pieces add a touch of sophistication to coastal chic design. Glass coffee tables and mirrored accent tables can reflect light and create a more open feel in the space.

Painted Furniture: Coastal chic interiors often feature furniture pieces painted in light, pastel colors such as soft blues, seafoam greens, or whitewashed finishes. These painted pieces bring a fresh, beach-inspired vibe to the room.

Textures, Fabrics and Lighting

Coastal chic interior design thrives on creating a relaxed, elegant ambiance reminiscent of coastal living. Key elements that contribute to this style include textures, fabrics, and lighting choices. Here’s a detailed look at how these aspects are used to achieve the coastal chic look:


Natural Textures: Coastal chic interiors embrace natural textures like jute, sisal, seagrass, and rattan. These materials are often used for rugs, blinds, and woven furniture. They bring a touch of the outdoors inside and create a breezy, beachy feel.

Weathered Surfaces: Furniture and decor pieces often feature weathered and distressed finishes. These surfaces add character to the space as if they’ve been exposed to the coastal elements over time.


Sheer Curtains: Sheer or gauzy curtains are frequently chosen for windows. They allow natural light to filter through while maintaining a sense of privacy. These fabrics create an ethereal and airy effect in the space.

Coastal Prints: Fabrics with coastal-inspired prints, such as seashells, starfish, or coral, bring the beach theme to life. These prints are used for throw pillows, upholstery, and table linens.


Nautical Lighting Fixtures: Coastal chic design light often includes fixtures inspired by maritime elements. Pendant lights with a nautical feel, lantern-style chandeliers, and sconces resembling ship lanterns are popular. These fixtures contribute to a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Natural Light: Maximizing natural light is critical in coastal chic interiors. Use window treatments that allow sunlight to flood your space. It not only brightens the room but also enhances the sense of openness.

By blending these textures, fabrics, and lighting choices, coastal chic interior design creates an inviting, beach-inspired atmosphere that feels relaxed and stylish. These elements contribute to the overall tranquility and timeless elegance of the coastal chic aesthetic, making it a favored style for coastal homes and those who wish to capture the essence of seaside living in their interior spaces.

Learning Coastal Chic Interior Design

For those eager to dive deeper into coastal chic interior design, there are several ways to learn. You can pursue the cheapest online interior design degree or formal education in interior design, where you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of design principles and styles, including coastal chic. Another option is exploring online courses and resources catering to interior design enthusiasts. These courses offer flexibility and accessibility, making them ideal for self-learning at your own pace.


Coastal chic interior design offers a timeless, relaxing atmosphere reminiscent of coastal and seaside living. You can create a stylish coastal space that exudes charm and tranquility by carefully selecting colors, incorporating nautical decor and accessories, and choosing furniture and materials that evoke the coastal lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for a complete design transformation or want to infuse a touch of coastal flair, stylish interior design can transport you to the seaside, no matter where you call home.



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