Home Decorating The Annie Selke Guide to Decorating a Beach House

The Annie Selke Guide to Decorating a Beach House

How to put your own unique spin on the ultimate lifestyle fantasy.

Decorating your beach home is a big undertaking with a lot to keep in mind, and we’re here to help. Beach house style can range from boho surf shack to colorful coastal to laidback luxe, but at its essence, it’s about creating relaxed spaces that marry form and function. You need items that can take the heat – not to mention sandy feet and wet bathing suits. Check out our tips and tricks to decorating your ideal beach home.

Your Palette is All Around You

And helps establish an easy breezy feel.

“Take hues from your surroundings –the color of the ocean,  the colors of the fish,” advises designer Eddie Lee. The beach brings blues, whites, and neutrals to mind, so using that color palette as a jumping off point will enable you to expand into other hues, yet keep your home anchored. 

In a small space, sticking to 1-3 colors creates a harmonious feel. “A limited palette is very calming and cohesive,” says Kristy Woodsen Harvey, who used one color (Sherwin Williams “Greek Villa”) on the ground floor walls of her beachside home.

A limited palette for walls was a jumping off point for Chassity Evans’s beach house rental, Coral House. “I’m a lover of light and bright,” says Evans, “So, white walls covered with colorful art can be found in both our homes—that pairing feels cheery and easy.”

Use rugs you don't have to worry about

Spill rosé all day!

At the beach, you’re bound to have spills and lots of (dirty) foot traffic. So when purchasing floor coverings, make sure you’re looking for rugs that will do the work for you. Indoor/outdoor rugs, like Polypropylene and P.E.T work great – and are UV-treated to prevent fading. “Indoor/outdoor rugs aren’t strictly for outdoors,” says Florida designer Shira Bess. “I use outdoor rugs in heavily-trafficked areas because they give me peace of mind.”

Bring on the sandy feet!

Disguise mess instantly.

Not only are jute rugs sophisticated and stylish, they’re the perfect rug to disguise mess—especially sand! Jute rugs are incredibly strong and durable, so they’re ideal for high traffic areas like hallways, family rooms, and covered porches. The neutral colors seamlessly work in any room, and bring in the natural colors of the beach. Oh, and they’re so soft! “We go shoeless in our home, and I think that jute is a perfect, soft natural rug fiber. It also brings the outdoors inside,” says Shira Bess.

Choose White Sheets You Can Bleach

And get better after every wash.

“All of the bedding needs to be washable, but it should still feel soft and beautiful–basically, anything that is super soft and super luxe feeling and looks as good unmade as it does when the bed is made,” says designer Killy Scheer of Sheer & Co. White sheets with natural fibers, like 100% cotton or linen, will not only be easy to bleach from any mess but get softer after every wash—perfect for a deep sleep after days in the sun.

Invest in Swimsuit-friendly Seating

A wet bottom is no problem!

When it comes to seating, it’s all about durability and ease. Seats, couches, and poufs get a lot of wear due to the nature of a beach home. “Select patio pieces that combine the elegance of indoor furniture with the durability of outdoor furniture,” says Marie Flanigan. “Forget about matching sets; when it comes to an elevated arrangement, it’s all about the mix!” Using slipcovers (easy to toss in the wash) and indoor/outdoor poufs provide comfortable and durable seating.

Steer Clear of Kitch

Decor that’s personal makes a difference.

The idea to connote the beauty of the island through colors and textures, as opposed to, say, signs with seahorses—I think that it elevates it a little bit to not be that basic,” says Eddie Lee. To give your home an authentic vacation vibe, source some of your accessories from your favorite destination or from local shops. At Coral House, Chassity Evans had a local Harbour Island hatmaker (@aandahiddentreasures) make her raffia lampshades. “Wherever you are, a bit of the local style will make your place feel special and more memorable,” says Evans. “And of course, a wall of woven hats also screams beach!”

Your Beach House Decor Checklist

Every beach house needs these items:

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