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How to Use Coastal Living Room Ideas to Create a Beautiful Home | 15 Design Tips

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This post includes:

  • Home Décor Ideas Packed with Coastal Style
  • Gorgeous Living Room Planning Solutions
  • Designer Tips for Saving Time & Money

Our living rooms are frequently called the heart of the home. We create memories here, whether nestled in front of a cozy fireplace on a chilly evening, hosting a festive party with close friends and family, or relaxing quietly while reading an insightful health & wellness book. We like to make our space look its best and create an extension of our personal sense of style. In a New York Times article, Tim McKeough writes: 

“Do it well, and you’ll end up with a comfortable, happy home. Do it poorly, and you’ll end up with a hodge-podge of furniture, fabrics, and paint colors that never congeal into a pleasing whole.”

With an adventurous mindset doing it well is an opportunity for a lifestyle reset, which can be thrilling (and a little daunting). And doing it well requires planning and researching the trends in your area and beyond. I often consult with an experienced Real Estate Agent to carefully analyze the neighborhood trends to maximize our clients’ investment. Give yourself plenty of time or establish a research end date to stay on track, whatever works best for you. 

We will share a recent project and cover behind-the-scenes home improvement tips that will give your living room and home the sophisticated coastal vibe you have been searching for. 

A Living Room Coastal Retreat That Will Be the Heart of Your Home

Our clients spent time researching ideas for their room to define and refine their personal style. They poured over hundreds of Pinterest images, dogeared dozens of pages in a few interior design books, and assessed vacation photographs they’ve kept for years.

The time my clients spent researching has pay dividends; just take a look at the before and after pictures that tell their story. The room looks streamlined and comfortable with few adornments, and at first glance, you may not imagine that the finished space would take so much consideration. When all of the pieces fit together well, it may look effortless, and that is the “pleasing whole” Mr. McKeough is referring to. 

15 Home Décor Ideas Packed with Coastal Style

1. My clients planned to make the living room more cheerful and welcoming. They imagined a more exciting, dual-purpose space given it’s proximity to the dining room. And they hoped for a convenient storage solution to store backpacks, purses, and daily mail as the entry opens into the living room. Armed with a handful of favorite inspirational images, they were ready to begin the next phase.

2. Designer Tip: Spend time assessing the cost of finishes and furnishings. Unless you are familiar with pricing going into your project, it may be challenging to develop a realistic budget  (Check out our 35-page Living Room Workbook).

3. Next, start with a floor plan (there are quite a few DIY online planning tools). We built our clients’ 3d model using the living room dimensions and adjoining spaces to help them visualize the changes we propose. There are heavy traffic patterns in this room, and we addressed them with an improved layout that flows well.

Do it well, and you’ll end up with a comfortable, happy home.

Tim McKeough, New York Times

4. Custom Storage: I’m a huge fan of capturing usable and easy-to-reach storage, especially in unexpected areas. To optimize a half wall dividing an entry, hallway, and living room, we increased the depth to 12″ (standard wall depth 4-1/2).” This is a convenient hideaway for all of the items on our clients’ wish list. And we turned this highly functional divider into an unexpected showstopper! Today, it is a perfectly illuminated display case with a finish that resembles the new flooring.

5. Fireplace: My clients had not planned to upgrade the fireplace, and I had strong reservations about omitting this important focal point from the project scope. I envisioned the newly renovated room; it would be filled with light and casually elegant, and evoke a sense of timelessness, except for the dated fireplace. Take a look at the finished room and imagine replacing the stunning new fireplace with the “existing” version. Thankfully, my clients were receptive and kept an open mind about the proposed changes.  

6. Designer Tip: This is a multi-room project that includes a kitchen remodel. We replaced a wall with an inviting peninsula, and we wrapped it in a beautiful quartzite that resembles the open sea. There happened to be a remnant large enough to replace the existing fireplace hearth. This is a win-win in the sense that we did not have to purchase an additional slab for use at the fireplace. And since unused portions of quartzite are nonrefundable, this allowed us to maximize our clients’ investment.

7. Furniture Plan: We created a more defined living area with an updated layout. We balanced the low profile sofa with two comfy upholstered chairs. Hardworking, stain-resistant fabrics were selected to inspire stress-free entertaining.

8. Designer Tip: Choose upholstered swivel chairs that may be turned to face the dining room to solve the occasional seating shortage.

9. Designer Tip: Finding the perfect coffee table to complement the sofa and chair selection can be challenging. Ideally, it should be about two-thirds the length of your sofa and either anchor the space or add visual lightness. A two-tiered glass-top coffee table doesn’t take up space visually, unlike the existing table in this project. 

10. Flooring: Low maintenance flooring – read this post for more information.

11. Lighting: My clients are passionate about art, so we removed existing track lighting and replaced it with recessed fixtures that wash the wall in light, making the room feel spacious and welcoming (without adding shadows). 

12. Crown Molding: Sometimes, a subtle crown molding has a significant impact. It works really well in this room because the architectural detail adds depth, texture, and simple, understated elegance. The molding also references the strong lines at the spectacular fireplace, picture frames, and crisp angles throughout the common areas. 

13. Finishes: Ever notice how certain wall and trim paints have a way of making a room feel more cohesive and expansive? Using a neutral beachy color palette plays up this room’s best features. 

14. The walls are painted in an eggshell for easier cleanup. Baseboards, moldings, doors, and other trim are painted the same color as the walls to visually recede. This is not a one-size-fits all-rooms recommendation. There are times where a contrasting trim is a better solution. 

15. Protective tabletop glass and shiny metallic frames reflect light back into the room. 

This small living room is filled with examples of artful editing. And we have mixed modern and traditional appointments that blend the couple’s highly individual sense of style, which is essential in creating long-lasting enjoyment. My clients call their “new home” the perfect staycation. With a little planning and project management, you will design a coastal retreat you will love. And when you do, we want to hear from you. Send us your before and after photos, and we may share your success story. It’s time to set sail…..

We have created a Coastal Lifestyle Collection that shares more behind-the-scenes projects in this home. This post is the first installment in a Home Remodeling Series spanning seven articles. 



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Gigi Day
Gigi Dayhttps://themoddaily.com/
Gigi Day is a designer and writer. Her blog, The Mod Daily, is full of life-enhancing home décor, lifestyle tips, and advice to optimize life at home.

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