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Style Files - Nautical and Coastal

Updated: Jan 19

Some of the most satisfying styles that are very popular in the coastal regions of Australia, are the nautical and coastal interior design styles. These design styles are inspired by the sea and coastal living, and while they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences. Nautical interior design is characterized by its use of navy and white stripes, anchors, and other maritime symbols, while coastal interior design is more focused on natural elements such as beachy colors, driftwood, and shells. Both styles are perfect for creating a relaxed and inviting space, but the key elements used in each style can vary. In this post, we will explore the key elements of both nautical and coastal interior design, as well as provide some inspiration and ideas for incorporating these styles into your home.

Costal decor in a PJ Burns Home
Coastal Decor - PJ Burns Builder

The Characteristics of the Nautical Style

The nautical style can also be described as naval or maritime in its aesthetic. It is a style that celebrates the relics of maritime exploration and lifestyle. A nautical styled home can take on the materiality of a boat, surf shack or a lighthouse and display the instruments of maritime life; anchors, rope; along side striped blues or yellows with white.


Navy & striped textiles are the hallmarks of the nautical style. Navy is easy to match between decor and is commonly on timber surfaces or stripped with white on textiles. Yellow or other bright colours are sometimes used also however this is far less common. It is usually the navy and/or stripped textiles that differentiates the nautical style from the Coastal style.

Consistent timber accents are typical in a nautical styled home. Typically timber will be natural coloured of any tone (usually a reclaimed style and mid-dark tone) and there will be very little variation between surfaces. Timber can also be painted usually a white as to contrast the navy blue and will not be as consistent. The timber will be what captures the natural light to keep the space from being overly cold.


Repurposed maritime decor not only is very unique to the nautical style, but also makes for a very interesting and story rich home. There is no real limit to how big or inconvenient the decor is, if it is from a water vessel (or a water vessel), it is in the home. The decor, like the timber, will also give life to the home with typically gold or brass, with rust, timber and other earthy tones of ochre. Maritime symbols also feature in the nautical style, typically those that are easily recognizable (anchor, helm wheel, boats). They will frequently be depicted in either white or navy blue and often in conjunction with striped textiles.




The Characteristics of the Coastal Style

Where the nautical style is a call of the ocean, the coastal style speaks to the beach. It is a goal that's very purpose is to relax the mind and respect the eye. The elements of the coastal style are very natural and reminiscent of the happy, sunny days on the beach that we all enjoy. The coastal style is also referred to as a beach style of home. It is important to always obtain coastal decor in an ethical and environmentally conscious manner that is reflective of local laws.


A neutral palette with blueish accents is consistent through the coastal home; sandy tones of white, creams and beige. There are subtle blueish accents with the occasional green tone both typically introduced with vegetation, paintings or painted timber, pillows or rugs.


Natural beachy repurposed and handcrafted decor is found in all coastal styled homes. The shells are common and somewhat intentionally cliche, handcrafted timber decor like bowls, ladders, sculpture, mirrors and macrame. Other ideas, sometimes depending on the vernacular of the region, elements such as wicker or driftwood, reclaimed furniture, rope or the occasional nautical or sailing themed decor can be used also.

Clean white, light, and open spaces accented by oak is best for the coastal home. Exposed rafters, beams, high ceilings and playful form and light access is what can take the style to the next level making the home a true beach paradise that feels like an airy luxury cabana right on the beach.


Local art is what makes the coastal style so special. Keep en eye out for local stalls, cafes, gift stores or galleries that are selling the work of local artists. Depending on the region there is sometimes a wealth of unique and interesting decor or artwork that can make your home unique to you (and your local region). These pieces are crafted with care, a specific passion for the beach, and usually handmade.



How PJ Burns Builder can help you achieve your Nautical or Coastal home.

We have a lot of experience at PJ Burns with different styles of home. If you are thinking that a coastal home may be the best for you then be forward with it. If we know that you are looking for a nautical or coastal home we can ensure that we help you in the right direction. Initially we can discuss your budget and the form that you may be able to achieve for your home, weatherboard and decking options, and later on, your colours consultant has all of the samples and tools that give plenty of choice for timber tones floors, various bench tops, cabinetry etc.

The good thing about these styles is that there is no wrong answer. Your consultant can put the most suitable options on the table and share some advice when needed then its just up to you to decide what speaks to you the most. In the end when you have some collected decor everything will no-doubt come together. You will find your abode before you know it and then just sit back and watch it develop and change through the years.


It is always a good idea to collect some decor or inspiration early on in the design process - see a clock that takes your breath away in a local back-street cafe? Grab it! Don't worry about the imperfections they make it unique. It may be a one off and you can keep it in the back of your mind when planning your home. Also be sure look at what other designers and home owners have done, bring some photos along to your consultations and feel free to discuss them with the staff as this is how we can best find you the right advice.


Coastal Decor in a home by PJ Burns Builder
Coastal Decor - Home by PJ Burns Builder

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