Everyone's idea of a perfect vacation or getaway is different. Most would agree, however, that a beach vacation rates up there with the best. Those with homes on a beach will tell you how great it is to live where others can only spend a short time, and that every day seems like a bit of a vacation. Relaxation at your doorstep. Beachfront residences are enjoyable projects to design. The sheer fact that they are on or near to the beach gives the project a certain allure.
Of course, each beach is different. The beaches in St. Bart's are different than the beaches in Miami, or the beaches of the Jersey Shore. Every location is going to dictate the tone or flavor of beach that an interior should have. Some locations such as Palm Beach, Florida, will require a bit of formality and fantasy to match the Mediterranean revival mansions, other places such as Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard bring to mind restrain and simplicity appropriate for cedar cottages. Every decoration and gesture should be a manifestation of its location.
Yet all locations share some common elements of a beach location. The ocean, sand and local flora; these elements can be an infinite source of inspiration. Those residences or condominiums that are on the beach or waterfront can benefit from the views offered. In these homes, the color of the water, which can range from aqua to blue and green will undoubtedly feel the impact of its surroundings. Homes that are not in visual proximity to the ocean can still introduce the color throughout. Walls can be painted to highlight or match a particular body of water and give a room a pop, or color can be brought in through flooring or area rugs.
The color of sand can be helpful in selecting a color palette, and can vary depending on the location. There are beaches with bright, almost white sand; others are tan; some are pink because of the small bits of shells; and still others that have gray or black sand. Some beaches even forgo sand and are adorned with pebbles. Here, too, the colors of the beach's floor can vary greatly. All of these earth tones though can blend with almost any other color.
The flora of a beach varies greatly as well. Palm trees abound in warmer climates from Africa to the Mediterranean, and pines trees, shrubs and sea oats are common to others. Shades of greens and browns are also very easily mixed and matched. Although the impact of nature is variable, a certain spirit of rusticity is always present in beach locations.
Bringing the ocean inside is always popular for beach locations. Shells, sea fans and driftwood can be used for decoration. Nautical themes for works of art and the shells, etc. themselves can be used as accessories for shelves and table top items.
Blue, neutral and white color schemes are safe, but adding a punch of color such as cherry red, chartreuse green, hot pink or fiery orange can make your beach decorating seem fresh and unexpected.
Joseph Pubillones' weekly column, "The Art of Design," can be found at creators.com.