Décor spotlight: Australian coastal style

This branch of decoration and design pays homage to our nation’s picturesque beaches with that unique sense of laid-back luxury for which Australian interiors are so well-known. Even suburban abodes can feel the serenity that a sea change brings. Let’s dive into the characteristics of this style inspired by our homeland’s beachfront retreats.

Mollymook holiday house interiors, oceanic surrounds. Calming coastal scheme for Cape Beach House in Byron Bay. Left: This Mollymook holiday house flows seamlessly with its oceanic surrounds. Photography by Anson Smart for Inside Out. Right: The Stables team created a calming scheme for Cape Beach House in Byron Bay.

The base: colour and finishes

Start with a colour palette grounded in earth tones. Neutral whites, soft greys and sandy hues conjure images of the shore and open up a space. Small touches of charcoal provide a hint of masculinity reminiscent of the charred bushland that borders the coastline.

Timber is an important staple of this style; you can’t go wrong with copious amounts of it in different applications throughout the home. Wooden floorboards, weatherboard exteriors, panelling, beading and moulding all present the charm of waterfront living. A matte finish is generally preferred, with gloss finishes reserved for glass windows large enough to allow natural sunlight to stream in.

Beach house interiors with neutral colour floor, walls and ceiling. Timber and natural materials throughout the space. Rattan pendant lamp shade. Left: An uncomplicated base can be layered upon, as in the home of JSW Landscapes & Design. Styling by Kira & Kira Design. Photography by Brock Beazley. Right: An open plan layout makes use of natural elements in Grace Loves Lace founder Megan Ziems’s Queensland beach bungalow. Interior design by Jared Poole Design. Photography by Andy Macpherson.

Foundation pieces: lighting and furniture

Achieve a combination of comfort and rugged splendour with texture; seek out crushed linen, twisted rattan, natural grain timber and woven straw. Distressed timber items resembling driftwood and native trees are ideal for a rustic vibe. Wicker and cane furniture, once popular in the 1970s, is again having its day in the sun with contemporary interiors. A classic coastal home will be served well with simple mid-century or Scandi-style pieces.

Texture comes into play when selecting decorative lighting for a residence. Again, angle for organic weaves of rattan and straw in neutral colours. Large shades of loosely woven natural materials are the next wave in lighting trends and cast beautiful shadows across the room when lit.

Lumi Lighting collection of pendant lamps made from natural materials, woven rattan, straw, sand colour. Embrace the relaxed vibes of Australian coastal style with Lumi Lighting’s selection of organic pendants and wall lamps.

Finishing touches: décor accessories

It’s not necessary to go over-the-top with the nautical theme when decorating. Reel in the clichés and instead select items that are authentic to your tastes. Incorporate your own personal flair, such as a flash of your favourite accent colour (sage and terracotta are fresh favourites for a seaside sanctuary), a holiday memento or a vase brimming with Australian natives or tropical fronds.

Bedside table with coastal style decor, terracotta colour bed linen, sage walls, rattan and cane furniture, earth tone artwork, vase filled with Australian natives and plants. Left: A boho flourish by Greenhouse Interiors for artist Georgie Wilson. Right: Love Tree Interiors set the trends for contemporary cane furniture. Photography by Alex Reinders.