Summer's in full swing in Austin, and that may have many people considering a refresh of their homes to fully embrace the season. For many, summer means beach breezes and long sunny days in the sand and surf.
For the best way to bring that beach feeling indoors, Texas design expert Teri Pugh of Teri Pugh Design Studio offers expert advice on how to achieve an iconic style.
"Coast style is peaceful," the designer says. "It really evokes this feeling of being on vacation or being at leisure. And it's about creating peaceful spaces."
According to The Spruce, coastal design is one of the fastest-growing design trends. And why wouldn't it be? Natural fibers, lots of light, and beautiful accents can call to mind a weathered cottage on Cape Cod or an airy Gulf Coast beach house, maybe even a sun-baked terracotta terrace along the Mediterranean. While all of those styles are different, they stem from the same idea that living by the water allows for relaxation and a feeling of escaping the everyday.
"[Coastal style] is a state of mind," Pugh says.
Let the light shine
Pugh says one of the most essential elements of transforming a home into a coastal oasis is natural light.
"I like using sheers on the windows," she says. "But I also like just opening up the windows first to let in as much light as you can. I think that really helps your mood."
Airy, sheer curtains not only provide a stunning filter for Austin's bright sunlight, they also make a space feel breezy and casual, like a chill day spent on the dunes. Wide open windows without curtains make a room feel bigger and brighter, an open canvas onto which tropical accents can rest.
Wooden plantation blinds or fiber shades can filter light, giving a room a soft yellow glow, while still evoking elements of coastal communities. And homes with skylights have a built-in edge when it comes to achieving this decorating style, letting summer light spill on in.
"There are a lot shading options," Pugh explains. "I use a lot of the Hunter Douglas Silhouette [shades]. They offer a soft, beautiful light, and I think that the light we get in these summer months is some of the most beautiful."
For Pugh, paint is a natural partner to the need for light in creating the coastal look. She recommends white or other neutral tones. White or off-white walls allow decorators to have a blank canvas that can easily be transformed, a great idea for those who want to frequently update their space.
"I know it sounds simple," she says, "But these lighter whites and off-whites are popular right now. We're [even] seeing a little bit of a gray, but not quite as much. I'm going back to a classic, timeless look that endures. Those colors are something that I think can go through decades."
Having a neutral backdrop doesn't mean a room looks boring. Pops of accent color in beachy greens or blues, even the vibrant pinks and oranges that dot Caribbean communities make for an eye-catching visual partnered with white walls. Those neutrals also offer a great foundation on which to seasonal artworks.
That reedy seascape that works so well in August can be easily removed and replaced with an abstract print in autumn tones once summer slides into fall, because an off-white wall works well with nearly every decorating decision.
A sea of possibilities
Pugh loves how accent pieces not only help transform a space into a beach house fantasia, but also how they can reflect an owner's own personality. Plus, she says, it's a super easy fix.
"Sea glass beads are really popular right now," she says. "And we use them in a tray or in a bowl or something like that. Some have a hemp or a natural fiber. Those I love. You can put them on a cocktail table, you can put them in a little vase. And the other thing I like is changing our your cocktail table books to make those be something coastal."
That might mean a book of art postcards filled with beach scenes, or it might be a stunning pictorial volume of gorgeous beach houses from around the country. Maybe it's a novel set by the sea with a stunning over that showcases its locale, or a collection of vintage photographs of pier-side fun.
Clear and light-colored glass vases or beach glass reflect light, and add an ethereal soft summer brightness to a room.
"Consider using light fixtures that cascade like a waterfall, tropical plants or prints, or patterns that mimic fish scales," Pugh advises. "Or throw down an outdoor rug with a nautical coral theme."
Know when to right the ship
Pugh acknowledges that some people are natural DIYers, and they've learned how to make their vision a reality. Most folks, though, need a little guidance, which is why she recommends working with a designer.
"A designer can help you really put together a theme that makes sense and has balance," she says. "They'll interview you to find out what your goals are, what you like and will help you achieve a beautiful space at the end of the day."