Minimalism is definitely having its moment. People everywhere are eliminating excess. They’re shedding stresses, commitments, and stuff with a goal of living their best lives. The minimalist movement is also evident in real estate, where many are downsizing to smaller (even tiny) homes, or simply paring down their existing spaces to the items that bring them joy.

So, what is coastal minimalist decor? It’s a style for people who strive for minimalism and love salt water (who may or may not live near the coast). It’s a decor of simplicity and laid-back living. Think Scandinavia meets the Hamptons — a decor that emphasizes airy, bright spaces and harmony with nature. If this sounds like a style you’d like to try, the following elements are an excellent start.

White walls

You just can’t go wrong with white walls. White walls instantly brighten and enlarge a space and create a calming vibe. My go-to white paint color is Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, but there are so many gorgeous white shades to choose from.

Natural fiber rugs

Once you have a clean white palette, it’s time to add texture with sisal, sea grass, and/or jute rugs. They’re soft underfoot and come in a variety of shapes. In addition to the standard rectangular and square rugs, I’m loving round macrame-style rugs like this one. Natural-fiber flooring is popular in beach houses because they’re accessible, pet friendly, and low-maintenance.

Gauzy white curtains

A bright and open space is essential to a simple, laid-back look and feel. Breezy, white, semi-sheer curtains give you privacy without blocking the sun. Hang curtains fairly close to the ceiling to elongate the room. We’ve used the Emery curtains in every room of our last two homes and love them.

Beaded or woven chandeliers

Another way to bring brightness into your space is with lighting. Use a variety of lighting sources including lamps, overhead lighting, and candles (see below). Lighting is also another opportunity to bring in some natural textures. Wood or shell chandeliers are statement pieces while open-weave pendants provide a more casual vibe.

Weathered wood

The next pieces to add are wooden case goods such as chests, dressers, shelves, and tables. When selecting these items, a coastal minimalist would look for painted white, naturally-light, or bleached wood. This style of wood is reminiscent of driftwood, sand fences, and old docks and piers. Or of white-washed fences and white wooden boats. This coffee table is one of my favorites.


Rattan furniture, once super popular in the 70’s, is now making a major comeback. It’s weather-resistant and can be used indoors or outdoors interchangeably. The best part? The durability — you and your guests can come right off the beach and lounge on it without being delicate. Rattan baskets and boxes also make excellent storage for towels and beach toys.

Coastal photography

If you feel aesthetically challenged when it comes to selecting artwork, coastal photography with clean lines is a great solution. Both black and white and colored seascape photographs can work well with this style. Creating a gallery wall? Use the same frame on all photographs. And if you’re looking for something epic, try a surfing wall mural.

Add color

Everything we’ve talked about so far provides a neutral foundation on which to layer. Coastal minimalism spaces are soothing, but certainly not boring. Once the base layer has been set, it’s time to add color with pillows, plants, and other textiles and collectibles. Choose colors that you’d spot in nature – soft blues, teals, sand and shell colors, greens and tans. Don’t worry about being too matchy. If the colors exist in nature, they’ll blend superbly.

Don't forget aroma and sound

Once you’ve added some color and character, complete your space with coastal fragrance and music. Light a candle with scents of summer–sage, coconut, eucalyptus, and/or sea salt to evoke memories of coastal bliss. Then, turn on some tunes like the “Coastal Minimalist Vibe” playlist we’ve curated just for you, our Crew Coastal crew, to help you get into a relaxed mood.

The goal with coastal minimalism is to design a space that feels like a summer day at the beach — spacious and bright, surrounded by nature, totally tranquil, and delightful. Who wouldn’t want to feel that way every day? The items listed here are often found in coastal minimalist homes but you don’t necessarily need them all. If you’re not quite sure how to combine these elements into your home in a way that fits your layout and style, we’re here to help. Just give us call — 919-768-2512. We’d love to hear from you.