Modern Coastal Style

By Kate Riley April 14, 2011

I’m loving the arrival of spring, and all of the flowers and plants blooming again.  I realize that summer is around the corner and the kids will be out of school in less than two months, so it’s time to start planning ahead for those lazy days. 
I’m dreaming of the sand between my toes, gauzy sheers blowing in the breeze, and the sounds and scents of the sea.  What is it about the beach that creates such a sense of calm?  I’m thinking it’s time to plan a summer getaway and a trip to a warm sunny beach.  San Diego?  Hawaii?  Who knows, but I’m going to make it happen! 
So many of us love coastal inspired interiors, so today I have a new contributor to introduce to you.  Meet Michelle of Ten June who is here to share her tips to bring modern coastal style into your home.  Take it away Michelle!
“With summer just around the corner, so many of us are itching to bring some beach chic design into our homes.  Personally, I like to have a bit of a relaxed coastal vibe in my home year-round.  Coastal decor creates a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere that just seems to say “kick off your shoes and stay awhile.”  
Luckily, beach decor doesn’t have to be about bikini-clad starfish art or lamps shaped like dolphins.  Coastal design can be done in a modern way, and with some major style.  Yes it’s true, decorating with a coastal style can be both classic and sophisticated!  Think about using distressed wood paired with clean lines, crisp whites and woven baskets.  Also soft stripes, plus the variations of classic blue + white, and even pops of rattan, or decor as simple as the use of shell, driftwood, and coral accessories. 
Take a cue from some of these inspirational designs, and notice how these relaxed spaces include fresh modern furniture mixed with elements of the outdoors.  Present in each space is a simple decorative accessory or two that captures a coastal vibe, but doesn’t scream ‘beach house decor’.”


Decor Pad.
Decor Pad.
Decor Pad
Country Living.
Decor Pad


Shelter Pop.
Are you inspired by these images of modern coastal design?  What are your favorite ways of bringing coastal elements into your home?


  1. Gorgeous images. Phoebe Howard is one of my favorites. Her store Max and Co is filled with eye candy (in Atlanta, Charlotte and Jacksonville). I used to go all the time until we moved away last summer. Coastal chic is my fav personally and yes, you can def showcase it in a way that is current without being literal. Great post! Oh, and who DOESN”T want a hanging bed….they had them on my last trip to Mexico at this awesome resort called Azulik. Happy Thursday!! xoxo SHelli

  2. Love those pictures, but I would probably not have called them coastal… but they are beautiful and very calming indeed.

    Personally, I’m forever in love with when it comes to coastal style, and I love the use of glass balls (?), ropes etc to create a costal feeling.

  3. Thanks so much for these images! Every year I look for ways to make things look cool and coastal during the long hot summer here, and these pictures really gave me some good ideas to use! Love the calm soothing looks that I can incorporate into my existing decor! since I live in Kansas, I have to keep it simple and the little touches shown here are just enough to do the trick! thanks your blog, by the way!

  4. I absolutely am in love with coastal style, the combination of modern and coastal works great together. Coastal style gives such a feeling of calmness and serenity to a space and modern is a little less fussy, it is a beautiful marriage of style.

  5. We just got back from a week in Laguna Beach — these photos make me want to go right back! LOVE the driftwood sculpture in photo #14 — what a great and easy way to elevate a found object. Think I might just have to try that myself…

  6. We recently relocated from the east coast to north county San Diego-and I’m transforming my house from formal/lots of reds to California coastal. I love this look/vibe-it’s so relaxing!

  7. These pictures SPEAK to me!!! I love the soft coastal look so much. I think the use of coral & seashells, the lantern w/ sand, rattan bins, driftwood, BEACH sign, & soothing blues are gorgeous and relaxing as well. Thanks for sharing these inspiring photos! I’d love for you to “like” me at Gracious Spaces on FB. Love your blog!

  8. I’m a new follower of Michelle’s and I found her blog through your one of your Linked In parties. I love her style. Great job Michelle!

  9. Wow. I just had a moment. I think I just had my style defined. Modern Coastal. I think I repinned nearly every picture here to Pinterest. LOVE! And thank you!

  10. Kate, I love your “can do” attitude. You make it happen girl. You have inspired me to change up my house and get what I want, even if funds are limited. I live in So.Cal, (Orange County) and it is so materialistic here. Some of my friends would not be caught dead in a thirft store and living here you get used to the idea that you have to spend mucho bucks to live well. Not true and you prove it!

    Your blog proves that living well takes thought, planning, some elbow grease, an open mind and a can of spray paint!

  11. I was just thinking of decorating our living room in a coastal feel, as we already have blue walls and light tan furniture (kind of boring at the moment). I wasn’t sure about having a ‘themed’ room, especially since we live in Wisconsin! But this blog has made me think it might be okay to go ahead and throw a few coastal elements into the space to warm it up a bit.

  12. This post makes me miss the beach! I love that there are fun and stylish ways to bring the beach home with you…without having to have a plastic hermit crab cage or a wooden lobster on your wall. ;) Great contributive post, Michelle. :)

  13. I love coastal style…, and there are endless ways to bring beach ambiance to a room in style. Clean modern combined with cottage comfy…, and a few beach finds displayed here and there is my favorite approach. So I’d feel right at home in many of the pics you chose!!!

  14. Well, I just found another blog to stalk ;) Thanks for the beautiful pictures! I love seeing “not-themey” coastal decor. The modern twist makes it fresh. LOVE it! Love your blog as well!

  15. Love this post, Kate. Who doesn’t love coastal style, which can encompass so many different colors, patterns, and textures. Living in a coastal N. San Diego town, I am influenced everyday by the constantly changing colors in the water, sand, and sky. We have a sand collection in small jars from all the beaches we have visited on our family vacations, my son has an enormous collection of shells in display cubbies (all “vacant” when collected – i.e. no animal was harmed in the collecting of our shells!) and beach glass that is in various glass containers. I have a coral-looking shell that washed up on the beach here in Cardiff that I planted with succulents, and my all-time favorite – a whale bone that my husband picked up after a morning of surfing.

  16. I love the starfish mirror so much and haven’t seen it before even though I spend hours there for my own blog! Maybe you can teach us how to make a similar one!

  17. Great post — I love all the photos as my house has a similar feel. My starfish and sand dollars will be coming back out soon. We always bring back treasures from our beach trips and work them into the house decor.

    LOVE seeing Michelle over here….love her more than my luggage!

  18. Great summer inspiration! I especially love the all white room! In the beginning stages of redoing our master bedroom right now and I LOVE the crisp clean feel of white.

    Delighted Momma

  19. Love this post- great eye candy. I especially am drawn to the navy blue and crisp white bedroom from decor pad the second from the bottom. I am starting to reconsider my previous phobia of too-dark colors (which probably came from painting my bedroom maroon in high school- eek!)

  20. I have been planning a coastal design series for my blog, and would love to link to this post. I incorporate coastal style in just about every room of my home, and always feel like I walk the line of “too much.” Friends and family have told me it’s subtle enough, but I’m always editing to ensure it’s a sophisticated space, not tacky!

  21. Can we have any more in common?? Live n Memphis but hubby’s family from tybee…we visit at least 5 times a year.. Married there.. My twins were born there … (accidentally i might add) I’m an attorney & do family law & am completely addicted to pinterest. I am redoing my pool house based upon ur pics!!!

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