Home Touch


Make waves inside your home. Having waterfront property need not be a prerequisite to create a home with beach appeal.

"People want the calm and peace they feel at the beach inside their homes," says Ashley DeLeon, interior designer and co-owner of Sirene Coastal Interiors in Venice, Florida. "Your home should be a sanctuary, and for many, that means bringing natural colors and textures into the spaces they live."

If a trip to the beach isn't on your vacation itinerary, you can still surround yourself year-round with sea colors and motifs without spending all of your traveler's checks. Whether a homeowner's design aesthetic is contemporary or cottage, bringing nature's color and shapes into a home soften a modern edge.

"People respond to natural colors and organic shapes, such as shells, rocks and driftwood," DeLeon says. "The blues, greens and natural colors found at the beach make for an inviting indoor environment."

A light, bright and white color palette is the backdrop for refreshing nature themes, says Kendra Stewart, spokeswoman for Pottery Barn, based in San Francisco. Stewart also says to ditch the kitschy beach signs and opt for a more natural beach-scene approach in home design.

"Incorporate organic elements like textural nautical rope, faux coral and seashells to evoke a peaceful beach scene and create a serene and relaxing space," she says. "The key to making neutral beach decor stand out is to incorporate a pop of color to create a focal point in the room and add contrast."

Sea colors and natural motifs can swimmingly accentuate every room in the home. While furniture and walls can be in neutral tones, accessorizing with pillows, linens and draperies that mimic coral oranges and sea-glass blues make a seaside statement.

Linen pillow covers in the colors of sea and sand, as well as embroidered pillow covers with oceanic motifs of sea stars and shells range from $25 to under $50 at Pottery Barn. Bedding in soothing blue tones becomes a quiet respite when coupled with an all-white headboard and bedroom furniture, whether it's purchased new or is a repurposed and repainted flea market find.

DeLeon actually brings water elements into her house with fountains that make a big splash in her modern home. "There's something very soothing about running water," she says. "The sound a fountain makes while water is circulating is as important as the look of the water feature itself."

When making a bubbly buy for your home, there are a number of fountain types from which to choose, depending on the space in which you want to create a Zen-like zone. Pedestal and cascade fountains are the most typical freestanding water features that can either be comprised of a series of bowls or mimic nature with a steady stream to create a waterfall effect. A wall fountain can add life to a room, mounted as a piece of artwork, while a tabletop fountain fluidly works on a family room sofa table, bedroom night stand or bathroom vanity.

To balance out the beachside decor, DeLeon likes to bring the element of fire into a space as well. "While the water in a home is cool, the fire brings warmth to a space," she says. "Candles not only are elemental, they also make the space smell inviting."

But a beach aesthetic doesn't have to be watered down into an all-or-nothing endeavor in your home. Sometimes, a contemporary coastal look can come from a need to extend a vacation experience. Start small -- by creating small tabletop vignettes -- or limit the space -- by creating a reeflike refuge in your home office.

Use shells and rocks gathered beachside for inspiration, but Pottery Barn also sells faux coral display pieces that start around $20. "Decorating with organic elements works well for beach decor because it brings beauty and a sense of balance found in nature into your home," Stewart says.

A well-designed watery respite should be a sensual and multi-sensory experience, says DeLeon. "Your home should not only feel good to you, but also be pleasing to the eyes, the ears and the nose," she says. "A home that brings a beach vibe inside is very soothing and should make you feel like you're not surrounded by four walls."

Make a Splash

-- Search "shell" at PotteryBarn.com, 888-779-5176

-- SireneInteriors.com, 941-488-3830

(For editorial questions, please contact Universal Uclick at -uueditorial@amuniversal.com)

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