At CRT Studio, we use our expertise to capture our client’s aspirations for a modern, focused approach to design, including contemporary, traditional, transitional, and coastal styles for interior design. While coastal design is gaining popularity as a preferred design style, many people are unsure how to utilize this style in their interior spaces. This guide can be a resource for those who want to incorporate coastal design into their homes. Check out the portfolio at CRT Studio and browse our extensive photo gallery to see how coastal can be executed with personality and class.

What Is Coastal Design?

Coastal Design is not what many people think of when they hear the term – seashells, anchors, and everything in navy blue. Often, coastal design is confused with nautical. There is a difference, which we will discuss later. For now, picture coastal design as “a feeling” — a beachy feeling full of natural light, soft colors, and a clean, tasteful style. Coastal design is one of the most sought-after decorating styles today. After reading this guide, you, too, will fall in love with the idea of a home filled with layered blue ocean hues and crisp whites, natural materials and fabrics, and a feeling of breeziness that is reminiscent of the last time you put your toes in the ocean.

How Is Coastal Different from Nautical?

When comparing coastal design to nautical, you will notice a few shared elements, such as blue tones and a light, airy aesthetic. However, nautical design features more literal representations of the sea and sailing elements. You will find more use of wood, rope, and metallics as decor and less of a subtle, laid back, chic composition. Often, the color scheme of nautical is bold and busy with stripes and patterns versus the easy and relaxing palette of coastal. Simply put, nautical can be a bit overwhelming when what you’re going for is a sense of peacefulness with touches of natural sea features.

The 7 Key Elements of Coastal Design:

  1. Tons of Natural Light

There’s a reason why light is first on the list for coastal design. If there is one design aspect that will set the tone throughout, it’s lots of natural light. You’re aiming to blur the barrier between inside and outside. Large windows, skylights, and glass doors are used in abundance for an open and airy feel with lots of bright light.

  1. Natural Elements

The perfect way to keep your coastal theme relaxed and easygoing is to incorporate natural elements in your design. Using wicker furniture, light weathered woods, and braided jute rugs are great ways to integrate attractive décor while breathing new life into your home. Getting this element right is often where an interior designer can be a huge help. There are myriad furnishings to choose from, and many people feel overwhelmed choosing complementary pieces without getting carried away.

  1. White on White

White has the amazing ability to create a space that feels fresh, open, and bright, all while enhancing the minimalist design that modern coastal emphasizes. You can still add pops of color throughout, but the organic look of white on white adds a special flair to coastal design that is just stunning. Imagine crisp white kitchen walls with white marble countertops and white cabinets with glass fronts to reflect all the natural light beaming through the windows.

  1. Greenery as Décor

Nothing provides an ambiance of serenity like the use of greenery in the home. Coastal design strives for the feeling of blurring the indoors and outdoors. To achieve this, greenery should be used both inside and out to keep the flow natural. The color and size of your plants and planters can be used as part of your design, so it’s important to select your living décor intentionally.

  1. Light Window Treatments

Less is more when deciding on window treatments for coastal design. Highlight the integrity of a beautiful window with sun beaming through with light-colored, linen, or flowy cotton drapes. Choose natural fabrics that will move with the wind and allow for natural light to pour through while also providing some privacy.

  1. Careful Pops of Color

Accent your space with your favorite coastal colors but be careful not to overdo it. It is possible to keep the simplicity and offset some of your crisp white interiors with color. Some of our favorites at CRT Studio include bold, tasteful art such as framed pieces for the wall, vases, accent chairs, and pillows.

  1. Avoiding the Obvious

Don’t fall for the temptation to include too much cliché décor like anchors, seashells, or things like ships and driftwood. Do pick a few favorites and carefully display them. Small touches throughout can be expressive and integrate your personality nicely in coastal design, especially if, at heart, you truly love the beach.

Depending on where you live or what area you’d like to emulate, the details of coastal design can vary among several specific categories. All have features and aesthetics that make them unique. These are the main subsets of coastal design:

  • New England Coastal Design style offers distinct architectural details on the outside of the home with a natural color palette inside as well as a considerable use of nautical accessories and practical coastal-inspired furnishings.
  • French Coastal Style is all about color. The palette is still neutral, but less white and more seagrass and shades of blue. Furnishings include charming coastal accents and the addition of antiques.
  • Italian Coastal design is set apart by its attention to architecture by way of arched windows and detailed ceilings. Sculptures, tiles, and ceramics are used as furnishings and décor that look luxurious but feel casual.
  • Scandinavian Coastal uses signature light wood in excess to support an interior that is calm and takes on the feel of being surrounded by driftwood in color and texture. This design is cozier than most. The Scandi coastal look has a muted color scheme and uses large coastal elements.
  • Florida Coastal Design is the strength of CRT Studio, and we design spaces using a unique blend of coastal, traditional, and contemporary styles to perfectly match your personality and love for the ocean. By centering our designs around the generous use of natural light, delicately accenting the space with carefully chosen ocean hues, and use of natural, soft furnishings — we accomplish an airy, laid-back, and comfortable feel that brings the joy of the ocean right into your home.

If you are interested in working with CRT Studio on your Coastal Design or want to learn more about coastal design style, reach out today by calling (407) 440-4446 or e-mailing Rob Turner at