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Decorating Your Coastal Retreat
by Gail McCauley
Creating a coastal retreat focuses on connecting a living space to an environment.
Lifestyles are easy and interiors are oriented to the sea, subtly incorporating
beachcombing keepsakes throughout the home decor. Often eclectic in style,
a touch of the coast can aesthetically coexist with any color scheme or
Whether a primary residence, vacation home or weekend getaway, the coastal
abode delights in uncomplicated style. There are no recipes or rules for the coastal color palette. Purposefully selected color groupings assist
with the creation of casual coastal elegance. Traditional sand and sea
colors such as variations of blues, greens and neutrals are particularly
attractive when spotlighted using soft, sunbleached combinations of color.
Bold fluctuations of hues that are characteristic of the ocean also produce
dynamic color groupings. Navy and white color duos, highlighted with red
accents demonstrate timeless nautical flavor.
The application of paint can be effectively used to implement a seaside
air throughout the coastal home.
Favorite paintable motifs including fish
and underwater creatures, seashells, boats and anchors, lighthouses, nautical
flags, surfboards and waves often form the basis for exciting interior
themes. Painted nautical signs or vintage nautical paintings can be propped
up on fireplace mantels or hung on exterior walls to compliment outdoor
living spaces. Hand painted seaside murals may be fashioned on accent
walls to coordinate with headboards, chests of drawers and bedside tables.
Ocean like designs that are painted directly onto floor coverings around
a perimeter space create fanciful borders or can be used to create a "faux"
Special effect paint techniques, such as a delicately sponged
blue sky, are often established to reflect coastal themes. Decorative
paint techniques can be applied to solid colored walls, or partnered with
wallpaper or fabric wallcoverings. Painted beadboarding can be gracefully
applied to wall or ceiling coverings to evoke a refreshing coastal style.
This technique is particularly effective when subdued colors are selected
to reflect sunwashed interiors. White washed and painted furnishings compliment
the casual coastal feel. Wide, narrow, horizontal and vertical painted
stripes are classic coastal favorites that are simple enough that even
the novice do-it-yourself painter can achieve instant painting success.
looks blend with the eclectic elegance of the coastal interior. Particularly
desirable amongst small coastal getaways, bunk beds offer compact sleeping
accommodations for family members and guests. Decorate bunk beds with
coverlets and throw pillows, then paint to match the existing color scheme.
Painted ship style ladders are an imaginative way to lead family members
or guests to bunk beds or lofts. An easily paintable surface, hooks are
a simple and economical way of storing and drying clothing at the beach.
With the addition of paint, even a yard sale sideboard can be converted
into a functional and fashionable bathroom vanity by integrating plumbing,
a sink and the application of a whimsical coastal design. Found shells
used to fill ordinary bottles or starfish placed on open shelving are
found natural accessories that are especially attractive when painted
and scattered throughout the coastal home. Sand pails constructed from
varying fabrications can be painted and used for storage of small household
A fresh coat of exterior paint instantly perks up a disparate coastal
front porch seating vignette. Painted vertical slats are an attractive
and easy way to lend a festive air to popular Adirondack-style outdoor
furnishings. Durability is a key element when selecting furnishings that
are exposed to nature's elements on the coast. The application of
quality exterior paint to hard surfaces such as wicker cane and bamboo
offers unification of mismatched styles and enduringness for years to
A homeowner's personal choice of furnishings and accessories combined
with a paint palette that considers the coastal landscape and its tones,
graciously forms the basis for today's contemporary coastal retreats.
Uncomplicated and casual living married to touches of seaside trinkets
represent key ingredients for creating a stylish coastal residence. Anchors
Gail McCauley for the
Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute
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