Looking to give your living room a fresh, clean and modern look while retaining a sense of beautiful “old world” comfort? The contemporary coastal school of design may be just what you’re looking for!
When you think of coastal inspired decorating, you might think about kitschy beach-themed rooms filed with beachy signs and seashells and crazy beach colors.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to contemporary coastal design! The idea behind contemporary coastal is to create a calming oasis that evokes the feeling of the beach with soft colors accented by brighter hues, natural materials, and lots of natural light.
Light colored wood, white cotton or duck slipcovers, rattan woven rugs, and ocean-inspired decorative items and art are hallmarks of this design style.
22 Contemporary Coastal Living Rooms (Illustrated Tips)
Below are some amazing rooms to inspire your own contemporary coastal living room along with design tips to help you make it a reality.
1. Use Color and Pattern to Create a Coastal Vibe.
This living room is calming in its simple use of blues, grays, and white. The white railing brings to mind the railing on a ship, while the blue and white pattern evokes the ocean waves.
Metal-framed wooden tables keep the look modern and fresh. Simple metal light fixtures and black ceiling fans are utilitarian and could have been scavenged from a military vessel. Nothing in this room is too literal in its coastal qualities, but the feeling is there in spades.
2. Bring the colors of the beach indoors.
Pair sand colored walls with bright white trim to bring the beach indoors in an organic way. A pale pine floor is covered with a natural jute rug, which is reminiscent of seagrass. Black accents keep bringing structure and contrast to this room. In fact, the only pop of color seems to come from the painting above the fireplace. The blues represented here are an abstract hint of ocean.
3. Maximize windows for plenty of natural light.
In another view of the same room, you can see how one whole wall is windows. These are sparsely dressed with wooden blinds that are pulled up, so the light can come pouring in. Embracing natural light is an important component in contemporary coastal, as it enhances the feel of being outdoors.
4. Make the most of an open floor plan.
The light colors extend throughout the entirety of the living area. Most of the walls are a barely there sand color, while a darker taupe is used on accent walls in the dining area to help keep it bright but interesting.
There is very limited use of accent color with blues showing up in the artwork. Sheer tinted glass brings to mind sea glass that has been worn smooth by the sand and surf.
5. Bring the outdoors indoors.
A beautiful wood plank floor that reflects the light from walls of windows, as well as natural rattan blinds and a wooden sideboard, prevent the all white and blue color scheme from being too literally nautical.
The ocean view is stunning so the room is very simply decorated with clean lines and minimal decorative items. A few touches of greenery on the sideboard and the table. Glass coffee and end tables further reflect the bright sun that is streaming through the expanse of picture windows.
6. Use color to bring the coast to a room that doesn’t have a view.
While this fun-and-energetic room has details that are more traditionally beach-themed, it maintains its contemporary feel due to softer tropical hues, clean lines, and a natural wooden top table. Beach inspired artwork decorates the walls tastefully, and the bright red rug brings a festive vibe to the cool white tile flooring.
Outdoor greenery is reflected in the muted greens of the sofa and leaf printed armchair, as well as a couple of real plants in natural grained pottery. Coral lamps pop against the green of the sofa and the blue wall, standing out where an average bland white lamp would just disappear.
7. Relax in a calming oasis of your own creation.
Contemporary coastal decor not only evokes the feeling of being at the coast but also the bring the relaxation that is associated with being on vacation to one’s home. Here that is accomplished by an open, minimal room design, very streamlined furniture in luxurious looking fabrics, and a calm and relaxing color scheme. Only white, pale cream and shades of gray are used on the walls and flooring.
The windows are sparsely covered by simple white blinds, which enable the room to be flooded with natural light. The sofas are covered in lush fabrics and fluffy throw pillows and blankets that are ultra inviting. The darker wood is added in the coffee table, dining table, and the stools at the island, bring just a hint of warmth in.
8. Choose natural furniture and tropical inspired accents.
This room is all about relaxing vacation vibes due to the use of natural grained wicker furniture with pillows covered in modern geometric print and denim blue and white. Even the coffee table is made of wicker with a glass top. The other table looks well-used like it has been part of this vacation home for generations.
Another staple of contemporary coastal is the use of sisal or woven rug from natural fibers as a way to define a seating area in a large open room like this. The palmetto leaf inspired ceiling fans are another fun way to bring a tropical feel to a room, as do the large ficus trees. This room makes the most of a spectacular view by avoiding window coverings altogether creating the visual effect of being outdoors, without being exposed to the elements.
9. Sky blue walls say it all.
Paint all the walls in your living space the same sky blue as a foundation to your coastal contemporary living room. Keep the feel light and airy with creamy tile floors and light green furniture.
The glass top of the coffee table keeps the price from being too serious despite its wooden frame. A series of oceanic sunset photos that line the wall and tiny starfish decorative touches are just enough to bring the beach feel alive without becoming too kitschy.
10. Don’t get hung up on the beach idea.
This living room is a perfect example of contemporary coastal with nary a hint of ocean. There is more to this decorating style than that.
Evoke the sense of peace and escape from reality that is the true reward in a vacation experience by pairing all white wall and sofas with a pine floor and huge windows looking out on the woods. Imagine curling up on one of pillow covered sofas with a good book, regardless of the season.
11. Make a cookie-cutter room special with bright colors.
This living room could be in any standard rental home in the world, with its cream-colored walls and tile floors. If you have a space like this, transform it into a tropical paradise with denim blue and light green furniture and a colorful striped rug in the same hues.
You can even just buy slipcovers in these colors so you can get the look without breaking the bank! A light colored wooden coffee table it a must have (notice a pattern in these living rooms yet?). Add a couple of beachy touches like a whale pillow to this lighthouse painting to finish off the look.
12. Pair cool colors with earth tones.
The sea salt blue of the walls in this room are the foundation of a cool retro contemporary look.
Earth-tone furniture, from the wood top coffee table to the seventies-inspired striped chair, bring the feel of nature in. An eclectic seafoam print area rug defines the space over ordinary white tiles and softens the space. White accents like the pillows and lamps keep the look clean and calm.
13. Use bright pops of blue.
This room is serenity itself with its singular color scheme of shades of white that is brought to life with pops of blue from the chairs and a couple of throw pillows.
The use of different textures in similar colors like the carpeting and the microfiber sofa give the monochromatic color palette warm and coziness. Minimal white sheers hang from the massive windows framing the perfect ocean view. Carefully chosen wooden pieces like the console and the natural wood picture frame enhance a very natural comfort in this living room.
14. Lots of light open up a space.
An open floor plan allows light from the windows and recessed lighting to flow together to brighten this lovely room. White walls and silvery wooden flooring reflect that lighting and leave the multi-hued rug as the center of attention.
Carefully-chosen gray base cabinets define the kitchen space while keeping the upper cabinets white keeps the room from being broken up too much. They blend right into the background. The white sofa is brought to life with a few colorful linen throw pillows.
15. Bright white and rich woods make a perfect combination.
The lines of this living room are defined by the stunning richness of the wood floor and trims. Wood is an important design element of contemporary coastal as it is an organic way to evoke the warmth of the outdoors.
A darker wooden table and woven armchairs create a subtle contrast, as do the slate gray throw pillows. The walls are devoid of decoration, leaving the floor as the real focus.
16. Light neutral flooring can mimic the beach.
Shades of light textured brown and beige are a reflection of the sand along the coast. Use neutral colors like these to help keep the feel light, airy, and earthy. Cushy throw pillows in a pale leaf print also imply the tropical outdoors without having literal palm trees all over everything.
A small collection of blue decorative pieces tucked into the shelving in the back corner of the room and in the bowl on the table bring a hint of brightness to the simple room. This room is comfortable and relaxing which is exactly what you want to achieve with the coastal look.
17. Install a mural for extra effect.
This cozy sitting area is a little slice of vacation bliss! The ocean backdrop creates the illusion that the woven couch is sitting on an outdoor patio or in front of massive picture windows. The potted trees further enhance that illusion.
The big cushy cream-colored fabric covering the couch pillows provides a comfortable place to lounge. The shaggy rug imitates a woven mat of seagrass.
18. Escape is the order for the day!
Contemporary Coastal decor is all about cool relaxing vibes and this living room has those in spades. Light neutral colors and natural woven accents like the chairs and basket are integral parts of the design style.
Bright white shelves are filled with beach inspired picture frames and pretty baubles. Sliding glass doors are left bare to showcase the beautiful ocean view.
19. Cool blues and warm hues keep things casual.
This room is so relaxing! Overstuffed pale gray furniture and ultra light cream carpeting and walls enhance the feeling of calm and restfulness of this space.
Just a few dots of rich blue dots on the throw pillows add a little interest without overpowering the feeling. An empty wooden picture frame maintains the minimalist feel while still bringing in the wood texture that is a part of the style.
20. Beach cottage white is the epitome of simplicity and ease.
A rustic beach cottage with whitewashed shiplap and white slipcovered furniture is very coastal.
A geometrically printed striped jute rug is rustic and modern at the same time. Black metal scroll work is a stark contrast to the white walls and is mirrored in the frame of the glass top coffee table. This room is easy and comfortable for escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
21. Create the feel of the coast on a budget with simple additions.
Incorporating contemporary coastal design elements into your living room doesn’t have to break the bank. The key is to keep everything light and simple. Paint the walls white and cover your furniture with white slipcovers.
Add a sand colored or woven rug over hardwood floors to center the seating area. A tropical style or wooden coffee table tops that, and elements of greenery can be brought in with a couple of easy to care for plants and tropical leaf print pillows.
22. Keep it bright and airy.
Contemporary coastal rooms should be light-filled and relaxing. Pale gray furniture is accented with blue pillows for a little touch of color.
A white wooden console table can double as a television stand. Add woven wicker baskets to help corral loose objects, and cute ocean themed decor, like the gold dolphins here.
Take It Easy
The calm and relaxing vibes of contemporary coastal design are all about ease and simplicity.
Clean lines, light colors, natural fibers and light wood like pine or golden oak are all the hallmarks of the style. Stay away from kitschy overtly beachy themed decor or anything that is too literal. And above all keep it easy!