What Is Modern Coastal Style?

The coast has long been a source of inspiration for interior design. There are many variations of this theme, and this often depends on the country of the coast that is being used for inspiration. The coast is such a popular interior design style because it evokes images of freshness, enjoyment of the great outdoors, and happy memories from vacations in coastal locations. It is also popular amongst those who live by the coast and want to bring their surroundings into their own home. One variation of the coastal theme that is now trending is the Australian coastal design theme. Here is an overview of the characteristics that define the Australian coastal interior design style and some tips for recreating this look in your own home.

What Is The Australian Coastal Design?

Australia’s stunning and diverse coastline inspires Australian coastal interior design. Although water is the main inspiration behind this interior design style, the land areas along the coast are also sources of inspiration. For example, some different types of inspiration may include the Barrier Reef, rocky coves, golden beaches, the waves, rugged cliffs, and underwater life. The idea of using Australian coastal interior design is to evoke the senses in the same way as the Australian coast’s sights, sounds, and sensations. According to Homes to Love, this is done through colour, pattern, textures, and natural materials. In addition to the colours you use, creating a sense of light and space is an important aspect of this interior design theme.

The Characteristics That Define Australian Coastal Interior Design

All interior design styles have the characteristics that define them. The following are some key characteristics that define the Australian coastal interior design theme.

Materials For This Style

According to Make Your Home Beautiful, you should use natural materials for the coastal look. Wood is the primary material for floors, furniture, and accessories. If your interior walls are rendered, have them slightly textured with a matte finish. You can also use stone for a wall feature or ornamental purposes. Other materials that you can incorporate into your designs are your findings from the beach, such as driftwood, rope, fishing nets, and interesting shells. Before using stones or shells on the beach, you should check if there are any regulations in certain areas that can restrict you from doing this.

Australian Coastal Colors

Interiors Online says that you should use a palette of muted colours as a backdrop. Muted colours include light greys, pastel blues, bleached white, or sandy yellow. To this, you can add accents of bolder colours with feature walls, textiles, furnishings, and accessories. The main colours that you will use are colours that depict the coast. One of the prominent colours in this theme is blue, and you can use every shade of this colour. However, blue is not the only colour you will see in the ocean. Deep waters have shades of green, and the tips of waves are white. Think also of the colours of the coastline, such as the various shades of grey from the rocks and the yellow of the sunshine and the beach.

FAQs About Modern Coastal Style

Coastal design is characterised by reflecting natural seaside elements—surf, sand, and sky—in the home through colour and texture. It is often confused with nautical design style.

In short, the Nautical style explicitly references sailors and emulates the interior of a working, sailing ship while the Coastal style emulates the relaxing feeling and environment of a beach.

Contemporary coastal style is defined by clean lines and natural materials and textures — so go bold but stick to simple lines and basic finishes. Create a neutral backdrop with smooth steel, timber and woven materials. Add interest with statement art and furniture, but keep the look uncluttered otherwise.

Coastal décor is a beach-inspired type of interior that relies on natural light, a soft palette from which blue and light-blue cannot miss, an airy feel, natural textures, and a few beaches- or sea-related items and motifs. In other words, it’s a relaxed and breezy summer all year round.

Coastal Patterns

Ombre effects that reflect the changing colours of the ocean is one pattern that you may see in Australian coastal interior design. Similarly, you may see uneven strips that also represent the changing colours of the ocean or the variations in shades of the rocks or sands. On the other hand, many people use plain blocks of colour.

Feature Walls

what is modern coastal style (3)You can also add a feature wall to a room. If you decide to have a feature wall, then it is best to use white or muted colours on the other walls in a room. There are several options for creating a feature wall. One is to have a stone wall using locally sourced stone that reflects your surroundings. Another is to paint one wall bold, such as a peacock green or azure blue. A different way of adding a feature wall is to choose wallpaper representing the coastal theme, either in terms of the colours or the pattern. Finally, there are specialist wallpapers that depict a scene. Therefore, you can have a wall showing an underwater scene or a seascape.


Natural wooden furniture is most suitable for the Australian coastal interior design style. Lighter wood is usually used with the wood grain and markings running through the wood. Wooden furniture that is painted white also works well in this theme.


Wooden floorboards are the most common type of floor used with an Australian. These are either stripped and varnished, dyed in a darker colour, or painted white or grey.

Soft Furnishings

Color, pattern, and texture are added with soft furnishings. Cushions in bold blues or greens, striped patterns, and coastal-themed prints are great for adorning sofas and beds. Throws are another option for sofas and beds.

Other Accessories

Homes to Love says that you should take a trip to the beach to look for free accessories. Discarded fishing nets can make fantastic wall features, while you can use ropes to hang light fittings. Interesting shells or stones can also make unusual decorative features. Miniature boats can make fun accessories, while modern seascapes are a good art option.

Architectural Features

Open plan living is often the preferred layout for Australian coastal interior design. Open-plan layouts are a property style that is generally preferred in Australia, regardless of the interior design style. If your home is along the coast, then large glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows will allow you to enjoy the coastal views around you. Rendered walls are another important architectural feature as these have a slightly rough look that adds texture, and this is a surface onto which you can paint directly.

Rules For Creating A Modern Coastal

Stick To A Simple Colour Palette

Soothing, natural and ambient is the mood you’re going for in a modern coastal home, so sticking to a simple colour palette is essential. White is a hallmark colour of modern coastal style as it spreads natural light and works beautifully with other ocean-inspired tones. Creams and beiges are excellent accent tones, while you can’t go wrong with muddy greens and muted blues that work to bring the colours of the ocean into the home—subtle colours like white, beige, grey and soft greens creating a calming coastal look.

Creating a relaxing atmosphere is the goal of the modern coastal style. Use subtle whites, greys or beiges on your exterior walls, trimming and roof to achieve this, while more exciting greens and blues can be used for interior accents.

Focus On The Facade

The exterior design scheme of a coastal style home is just as important as the interior. Remember that the idea of modern coastal style is to mimic the coastline, making horizontal lines your best option. Horizontal weatherboard has long been a favourite feature of contemporary coastal homes as the horizontal lines encapsulate the shape of the horizon, and the timber adds a coveted textural element.

If you’re concerned about Australia’s harsh climate wreaking havoc on your exterior weatherboard, a cement composite alternative such as Linea™ weatherboard or Stria™ cladding is a better option. The horizontal boards look the same as traditional timber cladding, but the advanced cement composite makes your exterior resistant to heat, moisture damage and salt erosion. What’s more, Linea weatherboard and Stria cladding products come pre-primed so that you can paint them just about any colour!

Embrace Indoor-Outdoor Living

Modern coastal homes blur the line between indoors and outdoors by embracing as much natural light and outdoor living space as possible. To create a light, bright and airy retreat with full windows, skylights, bi-fold doors or even an outdoor room. If you’re designing a new home from scratch, extending your interior living space with an outdoor room will not only flood your home with warm natural light but also inspire a deeper connection with nature.

Modern coastal homes embrace indoor-outdoor living with bi-fold doors that create a seamless transition.

Continue the trend of horizontal lines in your outdoor room with Linea weatherboard or Stria cladding. Horizontal cladding is essential in an outdoor room as it creates a continual flow between the indoors and the outdoors.


From flooring materials to artwork and décor, the more texture you add to a modern coastal home, the better. Textural elements not only remind us of sand, shells and other coastal comforts, but they add intrigue to home and evoke that element of nature. So embrace rustic hardwood flooring, bleached timber furniture, jute floor rugs, shell ornaments, cane furnishings, and driftwood accessories to encapsulate those cool coastal vibes.

Add A Little Luxury

It wouldn’t be a modern coastal style home without a few nautical nods to the Hamptons. However, remember that modern coastal style décor calls for restraint, so mingle a few coastal collectables such as coral, recycled glass vases and lanterns with touches of Hamptons style elegance such as Ming vases jute baskets plush cushions. And for the piece de resistance, add a textural wow factor with a rustic beaded chandelier.

Ways To Achieve A Modern Coastal Interior In Your Home

As we come into the warmer months here in Australia, we seek out the relaxation of the beach. Beachside homes, shacks and caravan parks become full to the brim and finding quiet, cool spaces to escape the heat is a daily occurrence. Coastal Interior Design embraces that relaxed lifestyle by celebrating open plan living and exterior spaces. However, the merging of Contemporary Design with Coastal Interiors is a signature to many Australian homes. A refined take on a relaxed lifestyle is common to many Australian homes. However, there is something special about the relaxed, bright, breezy coastal interiors initially made famous by the homes that hug the shoreline in the Hamptons. Their spacious layouts, crisp colours and natural textures are so inviting, and it’s no surprise it has quickly taken over as one of the most popular interior design styles in Australia.

what is modern coastal style (1)Although the name suggests it belongs in beachside homes, the more modern take on coastal interior design has removed its previous nautical emphasis. Making it accessible to Seasiders and city slickers alike. To put things simply, ‘coastal is beachy’ using natural light, soft tones, natural textures and a clean, simple aesthetic, it is designed to remind you of a simple white sand beach.

The connection to nature is important in a coastal home. As a result, natural elements will come through, especially in the furniture. Weathered woods, wicker and jute, are a good way to incorporate earthy tones and enhance the natural look of the interior. Costal homes generally avoid shiny metallics and other flashy textures in place of brushed brass, which provides a much softer look. Linen is a good place to start when choosing fabrics for couches and curtains. The lighter and floatier, the better and white or beige are the most common choices.

In previous decades, a coastal pallet might have been dominated by layers of blue, but the modern pallet takes a more simple approach. White is a key design feature in a coastal home and dominates most walls and cabinetry. The coastal design aims to have your home looking as bright and airy as possible, and the use of white adds to this greatly. Accent colours and textures are still very popular to break up the white. Light stone, beiges, light blues, greys and khakis are popular colour choices and are still in keeping with an earthy colour pallet.

A Coastal home should never feel cramped. Instead, the space should be airy, open and inviting. If possible, the design is hugely enhanced by a seamless indoor/outdoor living transition. Glass windows and doors that allow more light and don’t obstruct your view are ideal. Sunlights are also a massive bonus! If possible, an open plan living design is also the most desirable to achieve a true coastal aesthetic. If this isn’t an option in your home, more minimalistic furniture and decorations will give your home a more spacious feel.

Avoid the cliché! It can be so easy to make Coastal’ tacky’. One seashell too many can take things too far. This isn’t to say the ocean can’t inspire decorations; try and keep them minimal and avoid anything too kitschy. Fireplaces, sea glass and different tones and textures of white are a great way to personalise the area without causing too much visual clutter.

Plantation Shutters

Plantation Shutters have become a go-to window furnishing for Coastal inspired homes. Their design keeps windows looking fresh and clean. Plantation Shutters are low maintenance, highly functional option that works perfectly with a coastal aesthetic. When open, they allow air to be directed through the home to make the most of spring and summer breezes. They provide complete privacy and blend in seamlessly with surrounding walls when closed.

Neutral Colour Palette

Simplify your colours throughout the home. Think light, white, nude, soft beige to create a calm palette to build upon.

Complement With Natural Textures

The natural tones of timber, rattan, hemp and stone have an earthy and relaxed element. Think about adding things like woven baskets, hemp rugs or timber furniture to bring a coastal touch to your interiors

Texture & Panelling

VJ panels and weatherboards are common in coastal homes. Bring texture to your interior walls through vertical or horizontal VJ panelling for a coastal look.

Coastal Decor

Bring the outside in. Collect shells from the beach or gather eucalyptus from the green. Coastal-themed art prints or abstract artwork with colours reflecting the natural landscape help bring colour to your interiors.


The Australian coastal interior design style is influenced by Australia's stunning and diverse coast. Both the water and the land are inspirations for the different elements of this style. The use of colours associated with the ocean and the coast is a key characteristic of this theme, enhancing the light in your home. The aim is to create spaces for relaxing that feel like you are combining your surroundings with the interior of your property. This is a theme that you can interpret in many ways to suit your preferences and the style of your home. You can use this interior design style throughout your home or just in one room. You can even incorporate elements of the Australian coastal interior design theme into your garden.

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