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What Is My Decorating Style? How to Discover Your Interior Design Style And Bring It to Life

When beginning to design a room in your home, one of the first steps is to land on your interior design style, as that will guide the rest of the decisions you make. Easier said than done, right? There are so many styles out there—and between Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with inspiration overload!

If you’re wondering, “What is my interior design style?” we’re here to help! Today, we’re breaking down the most popular interior design styles to help you get a sense of what’s out there and what your options are. But here’s the best part: You don’t have to choose just one interior design style! In fact, most people don’t gravitate toward one pure style. Rather, you’ll probably end up with a mix of a few styles which will create a look that is perfectly suited to you and your home!

Our magically accurate Modsy style quiz is also here to help. By answering a couple of questions, we can help you discover and hone in on your personal interior design style. Taking this quiz will also help our Modsy designers create a space that beautifully reflects your style and preferences if you opt to use our interior design packages.

But for now, we’ll dive in and break down the most popular styles in interior design so you never have to wonder, “What is my decorating style??” again!

Minimalist Interior Design Style

Minimalist design upholds the principle that form follows function and is guided by the idea that “less is more.” Minimalist interiors are generally void of decorative objects and have minimal amounts of furniture. What is present is often geometric in shape. This look is all about creating a space with what you need, and nothing more.

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The Key Elements:

Furniture and decor found in minimalist interiors are often made of raw, natural materials such as concrete, stone, marble, wood, and steel. Walls and surfaces usually have smooth and natural finishes. Color palettes tend to be muted, with lots of black, white, and grey. But a bold pop of a single color isn’t uncommon.

You know this is your style when…

You crave functionality and no-fuss spaces, and if you prefer architectural elements over decor.

Explore Minimal Interior Design Ideas

Mid-Century Modern Interior Design

Mid-Century Modern design has long been the “it” look in the interior design world. Inspired by mid-twentieth-century design, this style combines natural wood with bold colors. Furniture designed in this style has slightly whimsical and organic shapes that seem to cradle the body. They tend to have minimal ornament beyond the shape of the piece itself—something this style has in common with minimalism. However, unlike minimalism, Mid-Century Modern interiors have more of a focus on comfort.

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The Key Elements:

Part of the comfortable element of Mid-Century Modern spaces is their focus on natural wood (typically a blonde, walnut, or teak wood). However, you’ll also find tweed, leather, laminate, vinyl, and chrome. Furniture pieces often have hairpin or tapered legs and feature an organic approach to their shapes and forms. You can have a lot of fun with color in a Mid-Century Modern space, using colors like teal, red, orange, yellow, and green.

You know this is your style when…

You love slightly whimsical furniture designs that feature organic shapes and love a blast from the past!

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Industrial Interior Design Style

Industrial interior design is characterized by vintage decorative objects appropriate to warehouse or factory settings. Overall, industrial furniture and spaces will have a distressed feel to them. This style fits particularly well in lofts with exposed brick or ductwork, but it can also come to life in a space that’s not naturally architecturally industrial.

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The Key Elements:

Anything with a reclaimed vibe or a rugged patina is ideal in an industrial space. Materials used in industrial interior design tends to include metal, brick, distressed or reclaimed wood, concrete, and piping. Many finishes include raw or untreated materials, or materials that show signs of aging. And color schemes tend to follow this rugged vein, gravitating toward greys, blacks, and browns alongside wood and brick.

You know this is your style when…

You love old looks with rugged edges, or if you’re trendy and hip and have an urban vibe!

Explore Industrial Design Ideas

Rustic or Farmhouse Interior Design Style

This is another incredibly popular design style. Rustic interior design celebrates the vintage charm of pre-industrial design styles for a look that is comfortable, warm, and inviting. It features traditional furniture made of natural, weathered wood, combined with simple accessories and one-of-a-kind pieces.

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The Key Elements:

Rustic spaces tend to feature a lot of texture and natural materials—like reclaimed wood, leather with a patina, linen, stone, brick, as well as sheepskin and natural fiber rugs! Furniture tends to have an antique or vintage-inspired flair, often with distressed finishes. Color palettes in rustic spaces tend to feature warm and neutral tones, along with plenty of beige.

You know this is your style when…

You love being home and relish that homey feeling. You may be a fan of Fixer Upper and Joanna Gaines, too!

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Eclectic or Boho Interior Design Style

Eclectic interior design features an approachable, informal mix of furnishings and decor from a wide variety of styles. This style often reflects a worldly collection of objects, combining bright colors and patterns and unexpected elements. It can come together in a million different ways—but it always ends up being a representation of the dweller’s life and personality.

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The Key Elements:

This is a style that feels organic and like it came together over a period of time. You’ll often find a mix of natural materials in eclectic or boho spaces—like jute, rattan, wicker, bamboo, and woven or embroidered pieces. And a fun mix of global-inspired or botanical patterns is a must. Eclectic spaces tend to feature a mix of bright or jewel-tone colors like red, yellow, pink, and green—along with plenty of bold natural greenery!

You know this is your style when…

You want your home to be a curated collection of your travels and experience! It’s bold and fun, just like you.

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Glam Interior Design Style

Glam interior design is a bold, dramatic, and often over-the-top style that mixes unexpected elements. But it can also be very refined. There are several ways you can style your glam space, the look always mixes patterns and pieces from a variety of different styles in order to create a luxurious and unique feel. Glam spaces feel formal and designed and often have many statement pieces and bold artwork.

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The Key Elements:

Decorative accents in a Glam space tend to be very ornamental, and furniture usually has detailed carvings or soft, curved frames. You’ll find materials  like velvet and fur in a glam space, along with metallics and mirrored surfaces. Animal prints and large-scale patterns are always at home in a Glam home, while color palettes can range from a high-contrast black and white palette to bold jewel tones or bright whites and pastels.

You know this is your style when…

You may be a bit over-the-top, and you like it. You just have a taste for the finer things in life!

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Contemporary or Transitional Interior Design Style

Contemporary (or transitional) interior design is a comfortable and approachable style that feels fresh and clean without being stark and minimal. This style often relies on balance and symmetry within the space and follows the more traditional “rules” for interior design. While it has an elegant, polished feel, it’s meant to be lived in with and still has plenty of style!

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The Key Elements:

Furniture in Contemporary spaces prioritize comfort, with cushions and upholstery that are plush and inviting, and featuring materials like velvet and suede. You’ll find ceramics, wood, glass, and mirrored surfaces throughout, which add to the visual mix of traditional and modern. As for color schemes, Contemporary spaces tend to feature plenty of neutrals, along with navy, yellow, and pops of other colors.

You know this is your style when…

You like order and style! You want an aesthetically pleasing space without being too trendy or too traditional.

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Traditional Interior Design Style

When you hear the word traditional, you might think formal and stuffy. But that’s not the case with today’s Traditional interior design! Rather, this is an understated and less-formal style that pulls inspiration from Colonial and Craftsman interiors. While it’s not particularly popular or on-trend, there’s a reason this style has stood the test of time!

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The Key Elements:

Spaces featuring Traditional interior design tend to include furniture with dark leather upholstery or muted woven patterns, along with dark wood furnishings with minimal ornamental details. Incorporating antiques in a Traditional space is a perfect way to add a unique element and an authentic vibe. A classic blue and white color palette is often found in Traditional spaces, but you can also gravitate toward earth tones or deeply saturated colors.

You know this is your style when…

You like the comfort of traditional things and don’t care about following trends!

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Classic Formal Interior Design Style

Interiors decorated with classic formal style have traditional elements and expected arrangements. It’s a style that relies on antique and heirloom pieces of furniture to create an elegant, formal feel to a space. This style takes inspiration from old-school French, Neoclassical, and Colonial design styles. Ultimately, it’s a look that is formal and elegant.

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The Key Elements:

Classic Formal interior design relies on European and American antiques (or replicas) in perfect condition—not distressed—to set the tone for the space. Wood furniture will tend to be in mahogany, ebony, or cherry finishes. This style also features tons of classic patterns, from damask and floral to chinoiserie and toile. These patterns are layered in furniture upholstery, drapery, and bedding. Throughout a classic formal space you’ll see rich tones of reds, blues, yellows, and greens.

You know this is your style when…

You like antiques and a classic, symmetrical feel.

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Coastal Interior Design Style

Coastal style is meant to evoke the breeziness of the beach. It’s a style that has a clean, soft, and natural aesthetic. Nothing should feel too stiff or ultra-formal; instead, coastal style is inviting and comfortable with lots of soft fabrics and cozy silhouettes.

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The Key Elements:

Spaces decorated with coastal style should feature tonal blues and crisp whites mixed with soft earth tones. You’ll find a variety of natural textures in Coastal spaces—like jute, seagrass, driftwood, linen, wicker, and rattan. Wood tones should be light in color, like blonde maple or ash. Whitewashed wood and slipcovered furniture are also common in coastal spaces. A few beachy accessories like seashells, glass bottles, woven baskets are great, but too many and the space will start to feel kitschy and overly thematic.

You know this is your style when…

You like the easy and breezy feeling of being near the water. This style feels like a forever vacation in your home!

Explore Coastal Design Ideas

Want to hear a few of our style experts talk more about these styles? Queue up the first episode of our podcast, The Render, to get some in-depth insights on all of these styles and learn to spot them in the wild with fun examples from popular movies and TV shows! Find our podcast here.

Still stumped on your interior design style? Take our style quiz!

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Americana design

Americana Design: 3 Fresh Takes on this Interior Design Style

When you think of Americana design, you might just think of Fourth of July-inspired stars and stripes. But there are actually many ways for this look to come to life—and some don’t even include red, white, and blue! But, no matter what way you approach it, there’s always a sense of timelessness and comfort to this style.

Made up of many classic design elements, Americana design celebrates the bright spots of our country’s cultural heritage, along with some of its history, folklore, and geography. Like our diverse country, Americana design embodies the many different backgrounds, experiences, and preferences of the people who use it. While one Americana room might lean very traditional and coastal, another is eclectic or industrial! What it always comes back to are the timeless designs and vintage influences that give this style a sense of nostalgia and causal approachability.

The History of Americana Design

Throughout our country’s history, the idea of Americana design has morphed and changed. In 1876, when America celebrated its centennial, people looked toward the early days of the country for design inspiration. Colonial styles, including woven baskets, hooked rugs, and Federal-style furniture, became popular again. In the 1920s and 1930s, Americana styles included bucolic prints and patterns and linoleum tiles stamped with Colonial-inspired brick patterns. By the 1970s and 1980s, Americana design was defined by the collecting of old signs and historic artifacts of the decades past. Replica designs for Route 66 signs and old gas station pumps began to pop up to play into this nostalgia.

In today’s Americana design, you can see mixed influences from all of these eras—including the historic and iconic Arts and Crafts design movement. This design style, which took off after the Industrial Revolution, was born out of a rejection of the fussy, overwrought style of the Victorian era. So, this style instead embraces simplicity and the natural beauty and traditional, artisanal craftsmanship of furniture and architecture. The simplicity of Arts and Crafts design comes through in Americana design, which celebrates livable, approachable spaces with rustic woodwork and traditional interior design ideas and elements.

Want to learn more about decorating with Americana design and see this look come to life? Tour our three takes on Americana living room design ideas and decide which one is right for you!

Americana designClassic Americana Style

As you can tell by its name, this is your everyday Americana decorating style, brought to life through a red, white, and blue color palette and the use of flags and stripes as decor. This is likely the type of room that comes to mind when you think of an Americana theme in your home. It has that classic, traditional-but-timeless vibe to it, with nods to the simplicity of days gone by. And, while it feels particularly fresh and relevant in the summer months, it’s a style that can be used and celebrated year-round.

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Americana designA neutral color palette makes this living room a bright, cozy, and inviting space, while varying shades of red and blue are used as accents to make the design pop. With a focus on comfort and livability, this is definitely a family-friendly approach to Americana decorating. (Even with a white sofa! Many parents swear by white slipcovers, which you can just bleach in the wash and keep it sparkling clean!)

You’ll notice rustic design influence throughout Classic Americana homes, with raw and natural wood tones and textures, along with various natural fibers, like the linen sofa slipcover and the jute rug. A room like this also demands some nature-inspired touches, like using greenery as decor, along with simple, everyday items like apples on the coffee table and wood in the fireplace.

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Along with rustic elements, Classic Americana design also has noticeable coastal interior design influences—of the Nantucket and Cape Cod variety, specifically. You see that in the use of furniture with caning, the natural materials throughout, and the white and light blue color palette, especially in the striped pillows. The room above even has some subtle nautical touches, like  the art prints on the built-in shelves.

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Americana designClassic Colonial Americana: AKA Grand Millennial

The most unexpected Americana decorating style of the bunch, Grand Millennial is a very particular brand of Americana style. With some serious Colonial American vibes, it definitely leans formal and classical in its design influences. You’ll see that come through in dark wood furniture, woven textures, and ornate decor—like the scalloped mirror in the living room design above, or the brass accents throughout.

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Americana designBut, where this style steps out of Colonial Americana and into Grand Millennial is with the colors and patterns. Florals are a big part of the Grand Millennial look, along with other vintage-inspired patterns, like chinoiserie, toile, or the wallpaper used in this room.

Grand Millennial Americana has a collected but polished look, and celebrates a thrifted or vintage vibe. Trinkets like a scottie dog figurine, small vintage paintings, and other collected objects give this style curated eclecticism. Stylize these decorative objects on a bookcase or console to really show off your collections!

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Ultimately, Grand Millennial Americana decorating is all about the mix of old with new. Along with decorative objects, think about the furniture as well. So, a chesterfield sofa with modern blue velvet upholstery, or a vintage-inspired coffee table with modern design elements.

And speaking of furniture, in a Grand Millennial living room, opt for sophisticated seating. Go for a comfortable but conversational set-up, where you can enjoy reading or afternoon tea just as much as conversation with friends! As for a color palette, pastels rule in Grand Millennial design. But make sure to incorporate pops of bright colors for a new millennial vibe!

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Americana designIndustrial Americana

As the name Industrial Americana implies, this style has some major industrial interior design influences. It’s ideal if you can use the architecture of your space as a foundation for this style—whether that’s high ceilings, brick walls, or exposed ductwork. Anything that gives off an industrial and rugged feel.

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Americana designThen, use natural materials used in a bold way to help your Industrial Americana designs come to life. In the living room above, we did this through an overstuffed leather chesterfield sofa and club chair, along with a mixed material coffee table and a metal bookcase. An edison bulb and piping floor lamp, along with other rustic metals throughout the space, add to the industrial vibe.

Overall, Industrial Americana decorating is very utilitarian. But it has a more sophisticated spin with the leather furniture, color palette, and decorative objects, which give it a bit of a cigar lounge vibe. But what places this style in the Americana camp rather than being strictly industrial is both the focus on comfort and the color palette.

While the room above has a darker color palette, which mostly comes from the natural materials throughout, classic American hues are used in a subtle and traditional way. This faded vintage-inspired rug infuses red, white, and blue into the space in an unexpected way, and you’ll also notice those colors in traditional patterns in the throw pillows.

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Americana designThe decor also has that folksy, collected Americana vibe in a way that is simple but rugged. In the living room above, we achieved this through pieces like a wood-carved ram head, iron dice, a vintage car, globe, maps, vintage prints, a vintage-style clock—all of which subtly speak to American ingenuity and exploration.

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coastal interior design

14 Ways to Nail Coastal Design at Home

When we think about coastal style, we imagine the perfect beach house that makes us want to ditch everything for a bungalow by the ocean.

You can probably picture the coastal dream home. The breezy rooms are filled with relaxed furniture and blue and white tones; there’s a mix of natural materials, such as jute, rattan, rope, and cane; and nautical-themed accents are found throughout, from striped pillows to seashell art. This home has all the comfy and cool coastal interior design elements that make it a dream getaway.

If you’re like us, you probably live far from any coastline and your home is more everyday practical than beachside bliss. No matter where you live, though, we’re here to show you can still bring the laid-back style of a coastal home to your spaces by simply layering in the various elements above. And you’ll quickly find that there’s more to this style than Nantucket cottage or California beach house.

For inspiration, we’ve rounded up 14 different spaces that play up the coastal look in big and small ways. Read on to see the spaces and get our tips for making coastal interior design work for you.

coastal interior designA Classic Coastal Dining Space

This tried-and-true look is rooted in a sophisticated coastal decorating approach, with classic rattan and cane details, light blue notes, and crisp accents like matching table lamps. The result is a soothing space that’s enlivened by beach-themed art, plenty of natural light, and pops of vibrant greenery.

How to Get the Look:

  • Add function and polished coastal appeal with a weathered-wood buffet.
  • Keep the room feeling light and airy with rattan dining chairs with open designs
  • Bring the ocean indoors with coordinating beach art and seashell-themed prints.

Great For… those who want an elegant take on coastal design that doesn’t sacrifice comfort and ease, especially when it comes to their entertaining space.

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coastal interior designA California Coastal Living Room

Casual and airy, this is a quintessential California coastal style that’s rooted in comfort and cool designs. You’ll find modern furniture alongside boho touches, like a rattan coffee table mixed with a slipcovered sofa and a vintage rug. It’s all arranged in an open, light-filled layout.

How to Get the Look:

  • Mix mid-century furniture, white upholstery, and woven designs for modern, beachy appeal.
  • Make a bold boho statement with pieces like this oversize beaded chandelier.
  • Play with geometric and block-print pillows in blues and whites for instant seaside charm.

Great For… lovers of the Cali-coastal look and anyone who wants a space that’s at once comfy, cozy, and colorful. This laid-back take on coastal interior design has it all!

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A Coastal Den With A Trad Twist

This office-and-guest-room shows how working in elegant white furniture staples can provide you a great jumping-off point for a coastal style room. Play up a timeless blue-and-white palette along with charming ocean-inspired art and accents, which will usher in major color and charm.

How to Get the Look:

  • Mix traditional white furniture with carved details and cutouts for a design with surefire coastal charm.
  • Bring seaside vibes indoors with relaxed, natural-fiber rugs.
  • Sheers and woven roman blinds help to amplify light and a laid-back beach style atmosphere.

Great For… those who prefer traditional style rooms but also want a space that feels airy and easy. This tailored take on coastal design captures that balance.

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coastal interior designA Moody Seaside Bedroom

This coastal bedroom is the perfect combination of Nordic style and seaside sophistication. The elements are thoughtfully layered in, from the table lamps and round mirror to the cane headboard and weathered-wood dresser. Cool and calming, this is coastal with a modern edge.

How to Get the Look:

  • Go for designs in high-contrast gray, black, and white for a modern coastal spin.
  • Layer beachy lighting that spotlights natural textures, like a rope lamp and woven pendant.
  • Lean into weathered woods, which is a hallmark when it comes to coastal design.

Great For… someone who likes the casualness of coastal style but doesn’t want the typical blue color scheme.

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coastal interior designAn Eclectic Coastal Dining Room

Clean-lined yet comforting and charming, this casual dining room focuses on the colors and textures that define coastal style. From the basket wall art to the sleek dining table, it’s the bright details that liven up the contemporary furniture mix in this space.

How to Get the Look:

  • A fringe chandelier is at once casual and boho, so it will add innate coastal appeal in any room.
  • Rattan is a mainstay in coastal design, so try chairs and a mirror made with the material.
  • Playing with textures is key, so mix in woven basketry and a sea-hued rug.

Great For… anyone who wants coastal decor they can dial up or down as needed. The streamlined furniture has staying power and you can easily swap the rug for a whole new look.

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coastal interior designA Beach House Kitchen

This breezy eat-in nook evokes the vacation house on the water we all dream of escaping to during summers. Here is coastal decorating with an obvious ocean theme, with its blue, white, and sand color palette, baskets and deep sea-inspired decor, and totally laid-back look.

How to Get the Look:

  • No need to hold back on fish and coral accents when you’re trying to go full-on coastal.
  • Modern woven chairs and a weathered wood table is a foolproof coastal design pairing.
  • Linen shades offer instant sophistication but also lend an airy seaside feeling.

Great For… anyone who wants to give their dining area a permanent beach home look and feel. Also if you love entertaining family and friends in a spacious, relaxed eat-in space.

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A Curated Coastal Entry

When it comes to bringing coastal style to a multipurpose entry, a balance of function and breezy decor is key. This approach pulls in elements from all the other coastal interior design looks to create a space that’s stylish and curated for daily living.

How to Get the Look:

  • A neutral-leaning color palette of blues, greens, and hay makes for a soft take on coastal decor.
  • Create a curated coastal look with small functional furnishings, like the rattan chair and baskets.
  • Look for pieces with a practical touch, like the chair, baskets, and mirror here.

Great For… a busy family home where you want to set a light and airy tone from the moment people enter into your space.

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coastal interior designA Minimalist Coastal Foyer

Say hello to high-contrast coastal design. This entry is focused on coastal furnishings curated with a minimalist’s eye for design. It’s about picking the one weathered-wood anchor piece, the most eye-catching ocean art, and the sculptural accent that truly captivates.

How to Get the Look:

  • To make a statement with coastal furniture, a driftwood console or bench is all you need.
  • Bigger and fewer is more when it comes to accents, like a coral object or ocean print.
  • There’s no going wrong with warm weathered wood and a black-and-white palette.

Great For… minimalists who also want to give their space a pared-down modern coastal look without the obvious blues, whites, and ocean themes.

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A Rustic Coastal Entry

Balancing style with function, this rustic approach to coastal design turns beach house decorations into practical pieces for living. Baskets are used for storage, rope lamps add task lighting, and a weathered-wood console serves as a display and catchall surface.

How to Get the Look:

  • Mix rustic style with a muted earth tone palette.
  • Add a coastal touch with pieces like woven cord lamps and a rattan mirror.
  • Make it practical with pieces like baskets or a coat rack.

Great For… any small-space home with a pass-through entry that needs to be functional enough for everyday life and make a big impact on visitors.

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coastal interior designA Classic Coastal Office

It’s all about layering in this office, where different coastal furniture and textures give the space a seaside cottage feel. This is a bold take on classic coastal design, with the rattan chair, shell-like desk, and pops of blues and greenery that inject a feeling of ease and warmth.

How to Get the Look:

  • Use plenty of natural materials like the rattan chair, side table, and lamp.
  • Go for colors that feel earthy but coastal like the greens, blues, and muted browns here.
  • Look for pieces that are as practical as they are pretty. The white detailing on this desk looks like seashells.

Great For… any small office nook where you can experiment and play up lots of different textures and colors.

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coastal interior designA Coastal Glam Dining Area

Bold colors can work with coastal interior design. The trick is to pick one color and commit to it. Take a cue from the bright teal walls in this dining room design, which work great with vibrant greenery. It’s balanced out with modern coastal furnishings, like the subtle-yet-cool striped jute rug.

How to Get the Look:

  • Go for ’80s Miami Art Deco by working a bold color with bursts of gold and bright white.
  • Geometric rattan chairs also add major unexpected Deco pop.
  • Leafy plants are the way to go with this tropical coastal design that’s all about lushness.

Great For… homes in coastal locations, or if you simply want to bring the tropical vibe to your spaces without having to factor in a wide range of colors.

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coastal interior designA Scenic Coastal Office

You don’t need a coastal home on the water with stunning views to bring the airy ease of this office to your space. If your space has windows, keep them free of shades and curtains and play up a sophisticated neutral furniture mix to maximize natural light and an open feel.

How to Get the Look:

  • Stick to classic coastal interior design elements, like weathered woods and tan hues.
  • Think anchoring colors that are easy on the eyes, like the soft coral stripe on this jute rug.
  • Rattan, wicker, and caning are the trifecta of coastal design materials, so play them up.

Great For… rooms that have get a ton of natural light as well as spaces where you want to highlight the exterior setting as a backdrop (beach view not required).

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coastal interior designA Sunny Coastal Living Room

If you’re looking for a way to work in coastal decor while maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere, this warm and welcoming approach is for you. By keeping to furnishings in light and neutral tones, you’ll set the foundation for a space that’s both cozy and airy all at once.

How to Get the Look:

  • Contemporary furniture in light woods and white tones create a sense of coastal comfort.
  • You can skip heavy woven materials here and keep to coastal furniture in wood and jute.
  • Go for another foolproof coastal design palette with neutral and sunny notes of yellow.

Great For… a family home that’s all about relaxed living, big comfort, and having a bright uplifting mood throughout all the spaces.

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coastal interior designA Warm East Coast Style Living Room

Take a tailored approach to coastal decorating that is equal parts sumptuous and thoughtful. The handpicked furnishings capture an East Coast coastal home aesthetic, where there’s no shortage of woven designs, natural materials, and plush upholstery. Here is a look that has it all.

How to Get the Look:

  • Classic furniture is arranged in a sophisticated layout tailored to elevated living.
  • Natural-fibers are the star of the show, from the curvy rattan table to the sisal pouf.
  • Beachy accents, like the beaded chandelier and dock art, balance out the rich textures in this design.

Great For… anyone who’s after the refined-relaxed coastal style look. It’s about the balanced high-low mix.

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Two Ways To Design A Coastal Living Room

Like everyone, we’ve been spending our days hunkered down and working from the comfort of our home offices (aka the living room sofa, then our beds, then our kitchen table, then back to the sofa).

With spring in full swing and temperatures getting warmer, we’re craving all the time we can get outdoors and, honestly, a real vacation. We know we’re not alone in feeling like we could use a major getaway right about now. Specifically, we’re dreaming of lazy days by the ocean and afternoons spent lounging out at a coastal-style beach house that’s filled to the brim with laid-back decor. Naturally, any real vacation will have to wait. But the good thing is that it’s easy to channel that calm and comfy coastal beach house vibe in our homes with some simple and affordable decor updates.

coastal living roomHow do I design a coastal living room?

For instance, you can layer nautical motifs and materials with bold stripes and beach decor. Or you can add relaxed furnishings and some handmade woven pieces that play up a sense of coastal ease. You can rearrange your spaces to create family-friendly rooms with breezy open layouts like those you see in airy, light-filled oceanside homes. And you can switch up your color palette to include more blues, whites, and earth tones, which are classic beach-inspired hues.

However, keep in mind that there are many ways to approach coastal living room design, which can range from refined and sophisticated to eclectic and modern. So before you dive in, take some time to consider the coastal look you want.

Do you prefer a casual and comfy coastal vibe? Or are you after a tailored and refined look? Knowing the aesthetic and atmosphere you want to play up in your spaces will help streamline your decor choices. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

To provide you with some inspiration and guidance, we’ve broken down two of Modsy’s most popular coastal-style living room looks—the refined Nantucket-style home and the comfy-casual California beach house. Read on to find out how to bring these looks into your rooms!

Coastal Living Room #1: East Coast Nantucket Style

Does your style lean more tailored and traditional? Do you love the idea of a space that’s less of a family hang-out and more like a sitting room in a charming seaside villa? If so, this East Coast take on a coastal living room design might just be the look for you.

With this approach to coastal style, you’ll get rooms that have a refined edge and more formal appeal. It’s the sophisticated Nantucket home you’ve probably seen on Instagram and Pinterest, with its classic and tailored furnishings, symmetrical layouts, elegant nautical motifs, and woven accents. It all adds up to a coastal living room that’s chic and composed but still perfectly relaxed and welcoming.

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The Key Elements

To pull together a Nantucket-style coastal living room, you’ll be layering lots of classic flourishes, artisanal textures, and seaside accents. Start with these essential design components.

A formal layout. When it comes to Nantucket-style living rooms, symmetry and balance are paramount. It’s what gives them their formal and elegant look, and you’ll often find these rooms decorated with furnishings and accents in pairs that mirror each other. This is a great way to kick off your design as it establishes a sense of order in the space.

A classic and crisp palette. Strong shades of blues, white tones, and light natural hues are the name of the Nantucket style game. That means these spaces often feature muted palettes with bold contrasts, like a deep-blue sofa amid creamy and bright white pillows and accents, and neutrals coming from materials like jute and cane.

Beautiful natural materials. A mix of elegant materials, from wicker and bone inlay to light driftwood and sisal and seagrass, are quintessential Nantucket. Combine all these gorgeous textures in your accents—like a jute rug, a woven lamp, an inlaid side table—with breathable linen to play up a soft and airy vibe.

Refined furniture. Opt for foundational pieces with a classic appeal to anchor your spaces. That means sofas with streamlined shapes, carved details on tables, and traditional-style armchairs and lamps. You want clean-lined designs that are rooted in comfort and formality. But pay attention to the details also. Design elements like rolled arms, gourd-shaped lamps, and even basketweaving texture can add major visual intrigue and truly shine in your neutral room.

Nautical touches. It wouldn’t be Nantucket coastal style without nautical and seaside accents. Consider coral sculptures, rope lamps, mariner art, and anchors for wall decor, bookshelf accents, and coffee table accessories. Start with a few large accents and layer in smaller ones throughout for an elevated look that’s easy on the eyes. And don’t forget to work in some natural motifs as well, like bird prints and floral patterns, which will complement the nautical theme.

This coastal design style is perfect if you…

  • Enjoy a living room that has an elegant formal look but doesn’t sacrifice comfort and ease.
  • Want a space for conversations that resembles a formal and composed sitting room in an oceanside mansion, except without the overt grandeur.
  • Prefer a more subtle coastal look where the accents are seamlessly worked in throughout the space without appearing overly beachy.
  • Love the idea of a living room that also doubles as an entertaining hub that can serve any occasion, from cocktail parties to cozy weeknights in.
  • Are after a living room that’s timeless and designed to last for many years.

Coastal Living Room #2: West Coast California Style

The California coastal look needs no introduction. Just think of the modern and slightly rustic houses lining the Western coast, from Malibu to Santa Barbara. Laid-back, cool, and unfussy are the underlying sensibilities of the West Coast Cali look. There’s also a bohemian edge to these spaces that make them the complete opposite of East Coast seaside homes.

So if you love the more bohemian living room look that’s all about keeping it casual, the California coastal style is for you. With this approach, the main focus is on casual comfort and an eclectic mix that combines mid-century modern designs, punchy fabrics, bright colors, and a range of beachy art. Just imagine a beach bungalow that’s open and exudes that laid-back West Coast ease.

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The Key Elements

To bring the coastal California look into your living room, you’ll want to combine big comfy upholstery, mid-century designs, colorful boho touches, and plenty of patterns. Consider the below pointers to get started.

A casual layout. Keeping your furniture arrangement open and asymmetrical will help set the relaxed tone for your California coastal living room. It also works best here given that there are so many eclectic touches, from bright colors and mismatched pieces to woven textures and beach art. The free-form layout provides a bit of visual levity to these various elements.

A vibrant palette. Here, neutrals and blues are the color foundations. From there you want to pull in more saturated hues, like red, ochre, yellow, and fuschia to play up a boho note. And don’t worry about going over-the-top with color; the neutral colors (white upholstery, earthy wood tones) will keep things grounded and cohesive looking.

Mix of breezy materials. What sets this look apart is the diverse mix of materials, which includes brass and leather along with natural woods and stone. There are also crisp white fabrics mixed with punchy textiles, like kilims and indigo-dyed pillows. The power is in the mix here! Start with your white upholstered pieces and then ground it with a colorful traditional rug. From there, you can work in colors that tie back to the rug and then a few additional bright pops.

Mid-century elements. There’s a strong mid-century modern design influence with this style approach, meaning you want to aim for furniture that’s simple and comfortable. Look for accent pieces that have a Scandinavian sensibility, like tapered legs, slender silhouettes, and warm wood tones. With so much color and pattern, these modern pieces will provide a versatile neutral foundation for all the bolder colors and accessories in the space.

Pattern play. Lots of patterns is a signature of the Cali coastal look. And the sky’s the limit when it comes prints you want to mix together—organic motifs, geometrics, traditional florals, you name it! The more diverse your pattern mix, the better too. Work these designs into your pillows, rug, and art to add instant colorful impact. And don’t forget to keep these outdoorsy, beachy, and nature themes in mind for your art—they add to the pattern mix, too!

This coastal design is perfect if you…

  • Love a casual and cool living space that’s less by-the-book and more organic in its design and layout.
  • Enjoy an open living room that’s all about kicking back with friends and family for game nights, movie viewings, and takeout dinner get-togethers.
  • Are a fan of the beachy California bungalow look that’s big on Mid-Century comfort and ease but still has elements of fun.
  • Need a space that’s versatile and family-friendly but still feels curated and calm.
  • Want your home to evoke a beach house without it feeling theme-y or overly traditional or rustic.

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coastal style

Destination Style: Get Nantucket’s Classic Coastal Look

coastal styleTo celebrate summer, we’re taking inspiration from the all-American tradition of a cross-country road trip. We’ll be making our way across the USA and exploring some of our favorite cities and their signature design styles along the way. Buckle up and get ready for some major destination design inspo. Final stop: Nantucket, Massachusetts!

You’re probably familiar with our love of California coastal style by now. But right now we’re equally smitten by the crisp and breezy look of Nantucket’s charming cottages. The island has long been a quiet escape for East Coasters during late summer and a peek inside its homes shows us why it makes for the perfect getaway. Rooms exude a sense of serenity and ease with their laid-back white upholstered pieces, natural-fiber rugs and artisanal accents, and classic stripes and nautical nods. All of which are set amid a coastal blue-and-white palette. For us, these elements add up to a feeling of pure barefoot bliss.

Nantucket itself is also known for its artisanal spirit. It’s home to textile makers and weavers who still work on traditional looms, ceramists putting out hand-thrown pottery, and painters and artists capturing the island’s gorgeous landscape and quiet beauty. All to say, Nantucket, with its distinct blend of island and coastal charm, has a design aesthetic that we find simply irresistible and endlessly inviting.

To provide you with some quick inspiration, we dreamed up our idea of the perfect Nantucket home with a few stylish tips to help you translate the look into your space. Read on to find out the simple elements that make up Nantucket’s classic coastal style.

Start With a Cozy Layout

Nantucket homes are first and foremost guided by comfort and warmth, and their furniture arrangements often play that up with a sense of coziness. The easiest way to capture this vibe in your space is by opting for furnishings and accents in pairs. Yes, you heard that right: Twos of pretty much everything. The idea is to establish a symmetrical layout which instantly creates a cohesive look that also instills charm and coziness.

Begin with your biggest pieces. Place sofas to face each other and then do the same with your other side furnishings, such as armchairs, side tables, and lamps. All of this will transform your space into an intimate conversation spot that appears layered but also elegant.

The only exceptions? You’ll want to choose a blue-and-white area rug that functions as a neutral anchor to the space, and the same applies for an airy looking coffee table as well as a light fixture that will draw the eye up. They’ll also serve as focus pieces that will help to balance out the one-to-one symmetrical look.

Nantucket StyleKeep To Classic, Clean Lines

The trick is to keep your furnishings simple and classic. That means nothing too modern or sleek. But look for sofas and armchairs that have clean-lined appeal, such as a standard boxy framed piece and high-back armchairs. Nantucket style leans more traditional but it’s not overly formal or fussy, so you’ll want to match these pieces with pristine white upholstery and slipcovers to give larger furnishings an airy, relaxed look.

Bring In The Perfect Coastal Palette

Like any other coastal home, there’s no going wrong with a blue and white color scheme. What gives the palette an East Coast feel, however, is the different shades of blues that are used. Think specifically navy, cerulean, and ocean blues, all layered on to a consistent bright white – meaning skip the off-whites and beiges. The effect is an elevated blue-and-white coastal look that looks polished but feels none too precious.

Nantucket StyleStripe Out

And speaking of what really sets the Nantucket palette apart, try to incorporate a wide range of blue-and-white stripes in impactful ways. Pile on pillows featuring stripes in different sizes and styles (wide, narrow, multi) and make sure to work the motif into some of your upholstery as well. Nothing says Nantucket nautical like a mix of pillows in navy and sky-blue stripes!

Add a Consistent Pop of Color

While we love the crisp look and unifying effect of blue and white, we believe that every space needs a bright burst of color that provides a playful punch. With blue and white, one of our favorite contrast colors is yellow. Whereas a touch of pink can give the palette a boho vibe and a dose of red offers a lakehouse feel, mixing in a sunny yellow hue is in keeping with Nantucket’s charming aesthetic. Reason being yellow maintains the sea and sky theme, and it also lends a decorator-like element of fun to the sophisticated approach to blue and white here.

Nantucket StyleNod to Nautical

Last but not least, Nantucket’s coastal style brings the outdoors and its ocean surroundings in through various nautical motifs. We’re talking everything from starfish and shell patterned pillows, to jute door mats and seagrass rugs, to rope lamps and glass floats as accents. These are the finishing touches that will bring together the whole Nantucket look, which combines elegance and whimsy. With nautical accents, don’t be afraid to go big – the more nautical the motif and accents, the more cozy and charming your space will end up feeling.

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