7 Subtle Ways to Do Beach Decor Right

Tips for achieving tasteful coastal charm.


Add ceiling beams

If you have a 9-foot-high ceiling, consider boxed ceiling beams. White beams against a white ceiling creates a clean look. For an extra-coastal atmosphere, stain the beams the color of driftwood.

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Create a reclaimed-wood wall

Even restaurant dining rooms are riffing on this trend. Consider placing the boards in the popular random-width pattern—or, go a bit bolder: “What’s really coming on the scene is a herringbone pattern,” says Barbara Anderson of Barbara Anderson Design in Lewes. “It looks like an old boardwalk. People embrace that.”


Dress up your doors

Shaker-style five-panel doors are reminiscent of Old Rehoboth, Anderson says. She’s also started using single-panel doors for additional impact. Crystal doorknobs, too, will amp up the nostalgia factor.


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Courtesy of Lane Builders

Courtesy of Barbara Lane Designs

Go for whites and grays

Stay away from stark whites, Anderson advises; instead, use white hues that are tinged with beige (but not yellow!). For a soothing atmosphere with dimension, mix multiple slightly varying white tones.

If you gravitate toward more color, try Sherwin Williams’s “Agreeable Gray” wall paint, which bridges the gap between gray and beige tones.


Use an accent color

Navy goes with most anything, Anderson says. She’s also currently seeing a lot of dark grays.

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But avoid super-bright teals. If you want a touch of the Caribbean, consider a paint color like Sherwin Williams’s “Lagoon,” a deeper greenish blue with a gray undertone.

“Another color making a big comeback is Tiffany blue—the color of [Tiffany & Co. jewelry] boxes—which is a great, happy color to put in the powder room,” she says.


Mix metals

Metal accent trays are part of the farmhouse decor trend that’s trickled down to the Delaware coast. They’re an ideal spot for stashing shells collected on beach walks—and, in an entrance hall, notes Anderson, a convenient place for renters to put their keys.

Brushed nickel is big for fixtures, and acid-washed gold knobs on kitchen cabinets are a fun touch. Square and rectangular knobs are trending, and wrought-iron knobs are a popular part of the farmhouse-chic fad.


Integrate smaller beachy accessories

Apothecary jars and lanterns are favored accessories—and perfect for filling with shells, sponges or sand.

Stack books on a table and top with a single shell, and use boat cleats as towel or clothing hooks. Anderson also suggests putting shell- or starfish-shaped knobs on a dresser. “It instantly gives you that beach look,” she says.                                                                 

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