Soft blue tones reinforce the coastal feel of this home interior by Annabel Berry.
If you are asked to describe the colours of summer, it’s likely you will look to the coast for inspiration – the sea, sand and sky.
Coastal style is a look that never dates; it’s not dependent on fashion.
Resene colour consultant Carolyn Atkinson says traditional coastal palettes were once just used for holiday homes. “But we have seen more and more urban homes adopt a coastal look.”
The designer says homeowners are looking for more coloured base options than straight whites, with duck-egg blue becoming popular as an alternative to white walls.
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“Coastal palettes bring an instant soothing sense of relaxation to interior spaces – a respite from busy everyday life and are easier on the eye than all white walls.”
While coastal style can be interpreted in different ways, inspiration stems from a similar palette built on weathered blues.
Atkinson describes weathered blues as shades that have a grey-washed look to them with a slightly worn-in, matte effect – like your favourite pair of faded jeans – that sets the tone for a relaxed look.
“They’re helpful for creating a space you want to feel comfortable and at ease in.”
Atkinson suggests light duck-egg blue shades as an ideal base. But the key to keeping watery denim shades from looking too shallow is to mix in a “healthy dose of contrast”.
“Add in one or two darker shades of blue or grey, such as Resene Indian Ink or Resene Coast, to anchor your look. And for a touch of warm, soften the look with sandy tones, bringing a little of the beach home to enjoy.
“Sandy shades can help to break things up a bit if you use them on key pieces of furniture. But you could also go for a blusher look with on-trend sunset pinks. If you want to play it safe, stick to pale greys or blues.”
You could also opt for more of a Cape Cod look by teaming a deep-blue charcoal with a creamier white, such as Resene Poured Milk.
Interior designer Sonya Cotter used a variation of this theme for her own family bach – a very old tongue-and-groove Lockwood.
“We painted the complete interior in a colour that reminds me of sun-bleached pumice. It had a very narrow hallway with no room for any artwork or decoration, so I painted all the doors blue.”
Cotter says the coastal style reflects an “eclectic, collectable approach”. “I will often ‘mix and match’ sofas or I have fun with the dining chairs. I like to look for vintage options.”
This is much of the charm of a bach, Atkinson says. “You can replicate this in your coastal look, or if you prefer a more co-ordinated approach, you can repaint or refinish furniture on Karen Walker Chalk Colour paint to bring it into your look.
“Coastal-inspired furniture tends to be focused on comfort and lounging that invites you to sit back and relax. Furniture is practical not overly fussy or formal – everything you need but no frilly extras.”
You might like to take a cue from Julie and Ken Dykes, who rebuilt their Riverton beach house after the old one burned down. They wanted a link with tradition, so sourced recycled furniture and bricks – the floor was salvaged from an old hall.
The walls and ceilings were painted to look whitewashed in the traditional Cape Cod style. Furnishings are mainly neutral, with a touch of blue in cushions and jaunty striped bedding in the bunk room.
Bare timbers and natural fibres fit in perfectly with a coastal look. Atkinson suggests adding accessories in woven fibres, such as cane, rattan, sisal, rope and hessian. “To keep things light and casual, you could incorporate a plywood feature wall and stain it – along with your other wood surfaces – in Resene Colorwood Whitewash.”
And if you are feeling the need for a little sunshine to finish off your look, you can add colourful accessories in tones of rustic orange, mustard yellow or bright aqua.
If you are still unconvinced of the benefits, we’ll leave the last word to Atkinson: “Coastal living (decor) encourages you to be mindful, to relax and focus on the here and now, rather than being distracted by what happened yesterday or by what might come tomorrow. It’s the perfect antidote for over stimulation from screen time and busy schedules.”
This article was produced in partnership with Resene. Read more about our partnership content here.
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