Living in the Caribbean, the sea has a profound effect on our lives. So, it is no wonder that when it comes to decorating, many turn to palettes and schemes inspired by the coast.
But, just as there are many beaches in the world, there are also many ways to incorporate the beach into your home. From the pristine coasts of eastern Asia to the shingled houses of the New England shore, making this design work for you depends on your environment, the space you have to work with, and, most importantly, your imagination. In Cayman, the sparkling turquoise sea and sugar-white sands provide the perfect inspiration for your home décor – Caribbean coastal chic. And, with coastal-inspired furnishings in stores across the island, it looks like this trend is here to stay.
Many people may be deterred from changing the design of their homes, haunted by images of hours spent labouring over colour choices. However, coastal chic does not have to be a nightmare to implement. Simply imagine standing on the beach. Or, as we are lucky enough to live in Cayman, go and dig your feet in the sand while you admire the view. The panorama is all you need to choose the colours of your walls, fabrics, furnishings and accessories. The azure of the deep and the cerulean of the shallows; the frothy white of the crests of breaking waves; the beige of wet sand beneath your feet – all these colours can be used to create a coastal chic scheme.
Walls and Floors
For the walls, it is best to use the lighter colours of the coast as these will enlarge the space and keep it airy. Stick to soft blue shades, or, for a classic touch, choose simple white, off-white or cream. These will give you more freedom with furnishings and accessories. Floors should also be kept simple, with neutral-coloured carpet or distressed brown or white wood.
In the past, many took Caribbean coastal chic to mean white wicker chairs with bright floral fabrics. However, this scheme offers much more than that. Even the subtlest touches can make the room both Caribbean and classic. Rattan and wicker are popular pieces, and the use of light-coloured fabric with dark wood is stylish and strong. The Adriana Hoyos Chocolate collection, using ebony and seike wood, is a perfect example while Budji’s Minerva sofas are also a great fit.
Distressed or aged wood gives an authentic coastal feel and can be used throughout the home. But coastal furniture does need not to be restricted to indoors; let the pieces overflow to your patio or deck in the form of dark wood sun lounges and hanging rattan egg chairs. Dedon outdoor furniture is durable enough for outside, yet stylish enough to work inside.
Ornaments and Accessories
Beaches are decorated with hints of contrast that can be used as accessories in the home. Dark driftwood makes a great statement piece, perfect for a feature in the corner of the room or a unique base for a coffee table. Wood, in many forms, can be used throughout the home; carved wood candle holders, bowls, napkins rings or distressed wood mirror frames are just a few ideas.
Sea shells and coral are beautiful additions to the coastal theme. Natural Curiosities and Oly Studio produce diverse shell and coral pieces. Pebbles can be equally as stunning as shells and are in vast supply on our rocky shores. Simply place the pebbles in glass vases for a unique and classy centre piece, or similarly, fill a glass vase with sand and place shells on top. Manmade items rejected by the sea can also be used around the home to great effect. Sea-worn glass bottles make interesting shelf adornments or dramatic book ends, and fishing nets draped over wooden barrels can add to your outdoor space.
Any style of window can be adapted to coastal chic. Shutters have always played a part in Caribbean architecture, keeping the sun’s rays out but allowing cooling winds to flow through the house. Plantation shutters, available in many styles, introduce glamour to the home. For a similar option, dress your windows with more coastal appropriate fabrics. Replace heavy curtains with soft floating material that moves when the breeze wafts in. If privacy is an issue, blinds can be installed, which are rolled up and hidden in the day and pulled down behind the curtains at night.
It is easy to transform your home into a coastal chic hideaway. With a soft colour tone, the right accessories and finishing touches will transform the home. Remember to keep it simple and take advantage of the great design stores and natural materials right on your doorstep.