• Robin Kee


While spending a week at the beach with family, I couldn't help but think through how I would design the rental house differently than the owners. (You know, should that extra 4+ million drop from the sky and into my lap.) While I might never own a beach house rental property, it is fun to dream and even more fun to imagine the decor. (If you find yourself in need of design help on your future beach house, hit me up.)

Although the home was great for our needs (8 kids + 8 adults) and had extremely convenient access to the beach, it wasn't necessarily living up to it's potential design wise. Here's some things I would add to the rental that you can just as easily add to your home to create that coastal vibe.


When pursuing that coastal, beachy vibe, go light and bright as much as possible. While renting a property might not lend itself to all white sofas, you can use slipcovers and white bedding which can be bleached as needed and gives a clean slate for accents pillows.

One of the main areas the rental could have improved upon to gain that light and bright feel is with the wall color. Although neutral, it was a darker tan that felt a little heavy, especially in the smaller bathrooms. If choosing to paint everything one color, I would recommend going bright white. It will look crisp, clean and airy which is exactly the vibe I want to walk into when starting a beach vacation.


Our rental was in desperate need of a rug to anchor the furniture layout. Three sofas worked perfectly for our big family, but they all seemed to be floating in the room. Adding a rug helps to anchor the furniture and is a great opportunity to add color and or texture. If I was to purchase the beach house (again, once I'm extremely wealthy), I would add a woven sisal or jute rug (such as the one below) to the living space. Nothing with a high pile as it would hold on to too much sand, but one with just enough texture to add interest.

If wanting to create a beach theme in your home, look for areas you can add natural woven textures whether through the rug or rattan accent furniture or light fixtures. There are lots of options out there. For example, in the rental house, I would recommend replacing their less than exciting wooden, backless barstools with a woven bar chair to again add a natural texture while granting a more comfortable seating option. (Multiple nights of eating dinner on a backless bar stool was less than ideal for my posture.)


To build on your coastal beach theme, be sure to add elements from nature. That could be framed sand dollars with a burlap backing, real or faux (for rentals) plants, jars of shells or a piece of driftwood on the mantel. All these elements will bring life to the space while pointing to memories at the beach weather the beach is right outside your door or 800 miles away.

What I don't recommend is adding cheesy painted signs of flip-flops, mounting dead fish everywhere, or only selecting artwork of the beach. While all those items might scream "beach", you might as well be literally screaming at your guests. Instead, take a calmer, cleaner approach with the ideas listed above and you'll find you have space that brings the calm of the beach that you and your guest can truly enjoy.


Benjamin Moore Coral Spice

Although lots of colors can work beautifully for a beach inspired home, you'll most commonly see people gravitate to blue tones. Whether you select bold navy stripes or soft blue hues, these color accents will always trigger thoughts of the water making them the perfect addition to your space.

Some other colors I would recommend trying out are grays with a blue undertone, soft aquamarines, a variety of light tans and creams, and even a coral such as the Coral Spice pictured or even this beauty. Layered over crisp whites, any of these colors would look lovely and give you all those beachy feels.

Although I've never designed a beach house, I have created a design plan for a client inspired by their family's love of the beach. You'll notice I used beach inspired artwork, light gray texture, brass accents, wood tones and lots of white to create a subtle feeling of the beach making the space the perfect spot to retreat and refresh.

Are you a fan of beach decor? Do you prefer subtle hints or bold references? More importantly, do you have a beach house I can design?

xo, Robin

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