Decorate your seaside home with sheer curtains, light colors and soft textures.

How to Decorate a Small Seaside House

by Mary Cockrill

Ocean breezes, warm sand and sunny days make up the carefree lifestyle of seaside living. When you live in a small house beside the sea, the emphasis is on the outdoors -- beach, ocean and sky. But, don't forget to decorate your home's interior spaces to provide a comfortable, functional environment where your family can create happy memories together. Choose your home's furnishings, colors and textiles to reflect the soothing ambiance found in coastal living.


Give your walls a charming cottage feel by affixing white beadboard over plain drywall. Turn the beadboard vertically on the walls, so the grooved panels are perpendicular to the ceiling. This creates the visual illusion of taller walls and a higher ceiling. Paint the white beadboard a muted turquoise, pale yellow or weathered green for subtle seaside color. If you prefer, attach the beadboard to only one wall to fashion a feature wall, and apply a heather or royal blue coat of paint to the remaining walls. Paint the baseboards and wood trim in a slightly darker shade of blue to add visual interest in a hue that won't show your kids' fingerprints and scuff marks as easily as light-colored paint. The semigloss finish provides a shiny wall surface that's easy to clean.

Windows and Lighting

A small coastal house needs all the indoor natural light it can get to deliver the airy, open feel you expect in a cottage beside the sea. Install white-painted wooden blinds with 2-inch slats to complement simple beach-house style while allowing you to control the direction and amount of natural light that filters into your home. Interior shutters in a weathered finish convey a rustic cottage feel; they are ideal for creating a dark sleeping environment when your kids need an afternoon nap. Lightweight lace or sheer curtains allow natural light to permeate a room while offering a soft fabric touch. Hang a small chandelier in the center of your living or dining room to wake up the area with sparkling illumination that doesn't require any valuable floor space. Opt for wrought-iron wall sconces and recessed ceiling lights to flood your small seaside home with bright illumination that also saves precious floor space in a small home.

Furniture and Floors

Add cozy texture to hardwood, tile or laminate flooring by placing a large area rug over any cold, hard surfaces. Choose a light-colored sisal rug to complement the natural, earth-friendly style of a seaside cottage, or place a plush-pile area rug over undressed floors to supply a soft surface for your kids' bare feet. Furnish your seaside cottage with furniture pieces that are in proportion with the small interior spaces. Upholster sofas and armchairs in a durable fabric, such as microfiber, that's also easy to clean and ideal for active kids and pets. White wicker settees, accent tables and rocking chairs add breezy coastal charm to almost any room.


Use beach-inspired accessories to enhance the coastal feel in a small house beside the sea. Deck the walls with framed prints of gliding sailboats, sandy shores, glistening oceans and nautical-themed pictures. Glass jars filled with seashell treasures, large pieces of weathered driftwood, old lanterns and chunky candles placed in small bowls of sand serve as budget-friendly home decorating accents. Let your kids comb the beaches for unusual seashells and driftwood to help you with your seaside decor. Pillows and furniture throws featuring nautical or coastal-related prints enhance the casual beach style.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.

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