January 19, 2023

Design Inspiration: Coastal Charm

Decid­ed­ly casu­al yet refined, coastal charm is a time­less design style that can be found in sea­side and land­locked locales alike. It embod­ies the relaxed, breezy qual­i­ty of a chic, ocean­side retreat, trans­port­ing you to a beachy par­adise, but with­out veer­ing into a too-obvi­ous nau­ti­cal theme that risks feel­ing over­done. 

We’re going to be div­ing into a few of our favorite sources of coastal design inspi­ra­tion, explor­ing three restau­rant inte­ri­ors that exem­pli­fy the under­stat­ed ele­gance and com­fort of this pop­u­lar style.

What is Coastal Charm?

Coastal style (often referred to as “coastal charm”) is inspired by the pleas­ant­ly serene, com­fort­ably cozy expe­ri­ence of relax­ing in the per­fect sea­side get­away. Often incor­po­rat­ing sub­tle nau­ti­cal touch­es through col­or palettes, tex­tures, and oth­er ele­ments, coastal charm inte­ri­ors feel put-togeth­er, but nev­er fussy. They are dis­tinct­ly liv­able while still being styl­ish, tak­ing cues from clas­sic Amer­i­can style. 

The col­or palette for coastal style is pri­mar­i­ly made up of a range of lighter shades, focus­ing on cool hues that are rem­i­nis­cent of the nat­ur­al tones of the beach and ocean. Neu­trals are often a sta­ple in coastal charm inte­ri­ors, though it is cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble to lean towards a more col­or­ful design as well. As you would imag­ine, a broad spec­trum of blue and green tones — from deep sea navy to pale green — are fre­quent­ly incor­po­rat­ed into coastal-inspired inte­ri­ors. Crisp whites and creams are also foun­da­tion­al in a coastal style col­or palette, as are light sandy browns. 

Brass accents (both pol­ished and unlac­quered) are often used, as a way to tie in a nau­ti­cal ele­ment with­out going over­board. Nat­ur­al tex­tures, such as wick­er, rope, and wood, are anoth­er key char­ac­ter­is­tic, and pale wood tones such as white-washed wood and teak cre­ate a pleas­ant­ly weath­ered look. In some coastal chic inte­ri­ors, design­ers find cre­ative ways to bring the out­doors in: for exam­ple, hang­ing drift­wood as wall art or using cedar shakes as an inte­ri­or accent.

Fab­rics for coastal inte­ri­ors tend to lean towards light­weight, easy-breezy tex­tiles, such as linen and cot­ton. Under­foot, jute and sisal rugs offer both prac­ti­cal­i­ty (in their impres­sive dura­bil­i­ty) and a tex­tu­ral­ly inter­est­ing style. Fur­ni­ture can be a mix of plush seat­ing, such as uphol­stered booths and din­ing chairs, and wood-top tables boast­ing clean, con­tem­po­rary lines. 

A coastal-style inte­ri­or wel­comes you to kick back, put your feet up, and rel­ish each moment, cre­at­ing an invit­ing space in which you can unwind and enjoy time spent in good com­pa­ny

Coastal Design Inspiration

One of the advan­tages of coastal charm as a design style is its ver­sa­til­i­ty, and the ways in which the foun­da­tion­al con­cept can be adapt­ed to suit a spe­cif­ic vision or desired “feel.” When you search for restau­rants with coastal-style inte­ri­ors, you can find excep­tion­al exam­ples rang­ing from upscale fine din­ing to laid back, quick-ser­vice cafes.

Here are just a few exam­ples of coastal charm style, fab­u­lous­ly exe­cut­ed in three restau­rants locat­ed in the east­ern Unit­ed States.

Rod’s Tavern

From the moment you step through the doors of Rod’s Tav­ern in Sea Girt, New Jer­sey, you’re pleas­ant­ly swept away by lay­ered shades of cool, sea-glass green. The green hues range from the deep emer­ald of sea­weed to fad­ed, almost-seafoam shades. 

Through­out the restau­rant, neu­tral woods are used to warm up the space, with light fin­ish­es select­ed for the floor­ing, tables, and booth pan­els. Cus­tom-built booths cre­ate a mix of invit­ing, inti­mate seat­ing areas, includ­ing U‑shaped booths in con­trast­ing green uphol­stery. The light­ing is a com­bi­na­tion of brass pen­dants and bas­ketweave pen­dants, with both styles con­tribut­ing to the coastal feel in their own way. Where­as the brass pen­dants have a dis­tinct­ly mar­itime feel, the tex­ture and light­ness of the bas­ketweave shades bring in an ele­ment of nature. 

The mill­work and mold­ing, which varies through the restau­rant, is the epit­o­me of New Eng­land nau­ti­cal design. Clean lines draw the eye through the space, ensur­ing that no detail is missed. Final­ly, por­tions of the restau­rant are wall­pa­pered in a botan­i­cal print that resem­bles sea­weed, a final touch that only ele­vates the space as a whole.

The Salt Line

he inte­ri­or col­or palette of The Salt Line is made up of light, airy shades, from the gray-green walls and crisp white trim to the wood floors and moss-hued booth uphol­stery. Large win­dows allow for ample nat­ur­al light, while archi­tec­tur­al arch­es enhance the sense of open space. 

In one sec­tion of the restau­rant, a wall cov­ered in cedar shake boasts a clas­sic dinghy, the repur­posed boat now embrac­ing its new life as a con­ver­sa­tion-start­ing art piece. Oth­er nau­ti­cal touch­es are more sub­tle, such as the brass globe pen­dants and nail­head trim on the din­ing chairs and booth seat­ing. Wind­sor-style chairs imbue the din­ing area with a clas­sic Amer­i­cana charm, bal­anced by mod­ern table tops with clean-cut pro­files. 

The Salt Line’s extend­ed, U‑shaped bar offers seat­ing along both sides, and is a mas­ter­piece of tile­work. The major­i­ty of the tiled bar is laid in a her­ring­bone pat­tern (yet anoth­er nau­ti­cal accent), with a weath­ered brass foot rail and sur­round­ed by sim­ple, yet sophis­ti­cat­ed bar stools.

Norfolk Yacht & Country Club

Of course, it seems only fit­ting that a yacht club would be designed with the con­cept of coastal charm in mind — and the Nor­folk Yacht & Coun­try Club is an out­stand­ing exam­ple. The recent­ly-ren­o­vat­ed din­ing area room isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly based in the pas­tel greens and pale blues that are char­ac­ter­is­tic of the coastal style; rather, it bal­ances a deep navy with lighter shades of sand and beige. 

A bold pat­terned car­pet with a wave-like design anchors the main din­ing room, catch­ing the eye with cobalt and dark navy col­ors. Bright white walls cre­ate con­trast with a vibrant blue bar area, where a sol­id wood bar top adds sailor-friend­ly flair. Wood ele­ments in the bar height tables, bar stools, and table tops are a spec­trum of nat­ur­al shades and fin­ish­es, com­ple­ment­ed by vary­ing hues of kha­ki-col­ored uphol­stery. 

Although the din­ing space is a high-traf­fic area that requires a cer­tain lev­el of prac­ti­cal­i­ty, its design­ers includ­ed thought­ful touch­es that ele­vate the inte­ri­or. High-back booths near the bar area have a sin­gle row of tuft­ing but­tons, achiev­ing a mono­chro­mat­ic look that is any­thing but basic. The back cush­ion on anoth­er sec­tion of booths is a light sea green with white and blue pin­strip­ing, an aes­thet­ic reminder of the ves­sels in the club’s mari­na and the region’s regat­ta his­to­ry. All of these details come togeth­er to present an adven­tur­ous take on clas­sic coastal charm, which seems fit­ting con­sid­er­ing the mar­itime fun await­ing the club’s guests.

Creating a Space Infused with Coastal Charm

There are so many dif­fer­ent ways to inter­pret and recre­ate coastal style, which is like­ly one of the myr­i­ad rea­sons it con­tin­ues to endure the ever-evolv­ing nature of design trends. Effec­tive­ly exe­cut­ed, coastal-inspired design can be the per­fect way to cre­ate an invit­ing, cozy, and relax­ing space — with­out sac­ri­fic­ing a cer­tain lev­el of refine­ment. 

With a port­fo­lio that fea­tures a diverse assort­ment of coastal-style restau­rant inte­ri­ors, Old Domin­ion Fur­ni­ture Co. can help you bring your design vision to life. And with our cus­tom design capa­bil­i­ties, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are vir­tu­al­ly lim­it­less — what­ev­er you’re dream­ing of, we can build it.

If you’re inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about how to design a coastal-inspired restau­rant, we would love to chat. Con­tact our team for more design inspi­ra­tion, prod­uct details, and more today.