Living by the ocean can be exhilarating and calming by turns. Just as the tide ebbs and flows, so the climate by the sea can be, and often is, as changeable as the seasons. When it comes to architectural design in a waterfront location, a seafront home provides you with an excellent opportunity to make the most of your favorite features and to dress your home in a way that is in tune with your surroundings. Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of living life by the ocean waves.


The nautical color palette

Blue and white are widely recognized as the classical colors for a nautical theme; however, there are others that can be used to complement these and to enhance your interior décor, while retaining that feel of living by the sea. Red, for example, appears on many ships’ flags and delivers a punchy additional keynote when used sparingly. Both pale blue to reflect a summer sky and navy blue to mimic the deeper parts of the ocean work well with white.

There’s also a place for subtle colors such as yellow or warm beige, which is reminiscent of a sandy beach, especially underfoot as a floor covering. Pale green for sea grass and a plethora of colors to reflect pebbles and shells can also be easily incorporated.


Fabrics and finishes

Driftwood and rope as well as nautical stripes are often used in home design for locations by the ocean. In terms of furnishings, distressed or bleached wood is very effective, as is wickerwork, while vintage leather steamer trunks can be transformed into excellent bedside and coffee tables. Traditional marine-style lamps look great in a kitchen dining area, and artwork that includes maritime maps and seascapes gives the whole of your seafaring décor a definite lift. Motifs such as shells, starfish, seahorses and sailing ships are lovely when used on cushions and throws.


Making the most of your room with an ocean view

Of course, the crowning glory of your home by the ocean is not inside but outside. Your view of the sea is probably what sold the property to you in the first place and it’s certainly going to be a magnet for your visitors. This is where you have the chance to be creative and make the most of an inspiring vista.


Key design tips

If your home is relatively isolated then a bay window offers you ample opportunity to showcase your superb view. Make the most of this by adding a window seat at low level along the bay and keeping your window dressing to a minimum, so that the window is wide open to the landscape. In the evenings, it is still wonderful to have an ocean view, especially if there are passing ships, lighthouses or just twinkly stars to enjoy.

If your location is not entirely private then you can make the most of your view by installing a reverse bay window. This curves inwards and because it covers a similar area to a standard bay, it has the same impact. In addition, it protects your interior from nosy neighbors.

If you have a standard plate glass window you can use shutters to protect your privacy and to control sunlight as well as airflow, which is often important if your building faces south or west, or has plentiful sunshine for part of the year. For advice on shutters to fit any size or shape of window, visit and check out the quality materials, styles and finishes available at great prices.

In your room with a view remember to keep distractions to a minimum. Opt for wall art that is easy on the eye, such as generic abstract images, and don’t diminish the space in the room by using busy or complex patterns on upholstery – white is generally a good bet in these sunny spaces.

If you like to relax and read and want to accommodate books in your favorite room, then make sure you use a bookcase that can be tucked away in a corner so as not to interrupt the view. Horizontal shelves, rather than vertical stacks, will work well in this respect.

Finally, if all the life and color in your home is emanating from the sea view, make sure the interior in that space remains subtle rather than overly strong and competitive. Think of your room as the sandy beach to complement the view of the sparkling sea.


Image Credits: Photo courtesy of Real Life Magazine.