How to Go Coastal Style Even if You Don’t Live on the Coast

Chispa Magazine-Coastal Design_Marnie Oursler 4Beach homes have an unmistakable vibe—light, airy, casual, yet tailored, and always warm and welcoming. It’s this very aura that first attracted me to beach living, and it’s the starting point for every home I design and build for my clients. But not everyone lives on or near the beach. In fact, according to the NOAA, in 2010, only 39 percent of the U.S. population lived in counties directly on the shoreline. But that doesn’t mean that the remaining 61 percent that don’t live at the shore can’t get that same beach feeling in their home. Coastal interiors are about so much more than seashells and boat decor—and below, I’ve shared how you can capture the essence of the beach in your home, wherever your home may be.

A White Palette
White is the color of airiness, breeziness, and casualness. It’s the color of seagulls and ocean foam and fluffy summer clouds. White is also the perfect backdrop for peace and tranquility. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you think of beach home interiors. Take a cue from the coast and try your hand at an all-white space. Just remember to incorporate different shades and plenty of texture to keep it from looking sterile. Creamy whites with yellow or red undertones, paired with brass and copper, create a warm feeling. For a cooler space, whites with blue or purple undertones and accents of silver and chrome work best.

Natural Textures
Texture is important in any room, but in the light, often all-white palettes of the coast, texture takes on a much more significant role. Here at the beach, natural textures take the form of driftwood, rope, seagrass, linen, and rattan, to name a few. To bring natural texture to your home, try classics like weathered wood, jute, and wicker, or find inspiration in the landscape where you live.

Colors of Mother Nature
American Coastal style homes are often accented with the colors of sea and sky—mostly blues, but also lighter colors, like the pastels of an ocean sunrise. This helps tie what’s inside to what’s outside. Think about the colors where you live. If you’re surrounded by forest, incorporate deep greens and earthy browns. If you live in the desert, try clay reds, burnt oranges, and dusty pinks. Mother Nature creates her own palettes, and they never disappoint!

Tailored Yet Casual Furniture
Life at the beach—with all that sand and water—can get messy, which is why slipcovered furniture is a coastal home staple. The result is a casual, yet tailored vibe that creates an inviting space that still feels buttoned up. Slipcovers are especially great for anyone who lives with kids or pets. If slipcovers aren’t your thing, create the same feeling by choosing comfortable furniture with clean, simple lines in unfussy textiles.

Wall Paneling + Molding
Anyone who has seen a Marnie Custom Homes build knows that I love wall paneling and molding (my love started with my maternal grandfather, who was, among other things, a master carpenter). But I’m not alone – these elements are beach house go-tos and for good reason: they add visual interest, texture, and a feeling of customization to any space. And the best part? These details go in just about any home style in any location. Some of my favorites are beadboard, shiplap, and crown molding over doors and windows. If you want to test the waters, start with something small, like a chair rail in a powder room. It’s a simple DIY that will have a major impact on your space.

Thoughtful Lighting, Hardware + Fixtures
Here at the shore, we tend to opt for maritime-inspired lighting and hardware, like lantern sconces and boat cleats as cabinet pulls. These little, thoughtful details give our homes a sense of place, without whacking you over the head with it. Think about what makes sense for where you live, and incorporate fixtures, lighting, and hardware that are a nod to whatever that pastime or geographical feature may be. For example, a cabin in the woods would be a perfect place for an antler- or twig-inspired chandelier, or a city apartment could incorporate industrial faucets and lighting.

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Marnie Oursler

Marnie Oursler

At the age of 28, Marnie A. Oursler blazed a trail through the traditionally male dominated construction industry and built a multi-million dollar company during what was one of the toughest economic times for builders across the nation. As president of Marnie Custom Homes, a high-end design and custom home building company located in Bethany Beach, Delaware, she distinguished herself by designing and constructing one-of-a-kind homes with economically and environmentally affable products. Oursler’s exceptional design sense, her sound business practices, and social responsibility have shaped her company into one the most successful custom home building businesses on the East Coast.
Marnie Oursler

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Marnie Oursler

At the age of 28, Marnie A. Oursler blazed a trail through the traditionally male dominated construction industry and built a multi-million dollar company during what was one of the toughest economic times for builders across the nation. As president of Marnie Custom Homes, a high-end design and custom home building company located in Bethany Beach, Delaware, she distinguished herself by designing and constructing one-of-a-kind homes with economically and environmentally affable products. Oursler’s exceptional design sense, her sound business practices, and social responsibility have shaped her company into one the most successful custom home building businesses on the East Coast.