Your home decor should be a reflection of its natural surroundings, so it’s no wonder that some of the most beloved design comes from seaside homes.

Taking cues from the natural beauty of the iconic Cape Cod seascape, designer Irina MacPhee of Pastiche of Cape Cod recently designed the interior for a cottage at the new Heritage Sands, the first new oceanfront cottage community to be built in Cape Cod in 50 years.

This new seaside retreat was constructed and designed so that it would stand the test of time with a simple, yet elegant, nautical feel. MacPhee shares her tips for creating a classic coastal atmosphere.

Keep your home decor simple

When it comes to decorating a coastal home, the simpler the better – just like beach attire. A coastal home should feel like a retreat after a long day of play, so it’s best to simplify your color story and stick to it throughout the home.

Add stripes on an accent wall if you like a bit of visual interest and a touch of drama. Or soften the vibe by adding a soft monochromatic accent wall with sepia-toned paint.

Bring the outside in

With so many natural and beautiful accessories on the beach, it’s easy to bring those elements inside to your coastal home. Take the kids on a seashell hunt and display their treasures in a sculptural bowl or glass vase.

Purchase household necessities, such as lamps, in coral or oyster shapes to create a sense of fun and play inside the house. Be careful not to overdo it, however.

You want your home to ring true to the style of the coast without looking like a gift shop. You also want to keep in mind which coast you want to accurately reflect in your decorating.

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“The West Coast and East Coast are like two sisters,” says MacPhee. “They both come from the same parents, but they look completely different even though they’re related and you can see the similarities.

“You really need to have a sense of place with the inside and the outside,” she continues. “If you’re by a river or lake, it also has a different sense of the water compared to the ocean.”

Add a little history

Adding in stylish antique elements helps establish that timeless look you want to achieve in a coastal home.

Hunt around town for unique little touches such as a framed vintage bathing costume, rescued life preserver from an old ship, or recycled glass insulators used in a light fixture. In addition to being fun to find, these accessories add depth and charm to your home.

Form, function, and fun

Coastal living means having a durable home. Don’t skimp when it comes to big-ticket items such as fabrics, upholstery, lighting, and flooring.

Going with what’s trendy might be great in the short term, but it’s well worth the money long term to spend it on things you know will last and look great for years to come.

“In a coastal home, form and function need to come together harmoniously,” says MacPhee. “There are certain materials and fabrics that help, such as tile flooring.

“When you’re in a beach community, you’re coming in with wet feet or sand, and your flooring needs to have an ease of use.”

Do more with less

In a coastal home, you want to ensure you’ re giving yourself enough room to relax, play, and breathe, so it’s best to have a minimal amount of furniture inside.

Cottage5Consider buying a large sectional instead of a couch and a love seat, or having a large dining table with benches instead of individual chairs to simplify and maximize the space.

Whether your home is right on the beach or hundreds of miles from the nearest shore, coastal style brings charm and warmth to make every day feel like a getaway.

Photos courtesy of Alison Caron Design.

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