Coastal Decorating on a Budget

Pastel blue and white abstract oil painting on empty white wall with console table with flowers in vase and books
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

If you love the beach look, good news! Decorating in a coastal style is one of the most budget-friendly ways to go. However, sometimes it takes a bit of inspirational help to achieve the appearance that you want. If you love the look of an all-white decorating scheme but are stuck on how to pull it off or need to use what furniture you’ve already got aren't sure how to transform that drab table into coastal chic, don't worry. It can be done!

Choosing Color

White is usually the predominant color in the coastal-style home, but really there are no firm rules when it comes to color. However, sticking with one or two colors is a very budget-friendly way to go coastal.

Choosing Accessories

Accessories turn a plain room into something fancier and they also easily help capture the coastal look on a budget. Found objects are free, so don’t forget to scour shorelines for a great catch. Just be green and leave anything living alone. Shells that still have their buddy inside won’t lend a lovely look or smell to your dwelling space.

Slipcovers and Soft Furnishings

Use slipcovers to transform shabby furniture to chic and achieve that effortless, beachside look. For fabric, look for muslin or osnaburg which is usually much less expensive than linen or canvas. Don’t pay full price, either–Joann’s Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and other fabric stores constantly offer sales and coupons.

There are several ways to fashion a slipcover but one of the simplest is to drape your sofa in fabric and add ties. If you have the skills or know someone who does, sewing a fitted slipcover gives your sofa a custom look and will appear as if you spent a fortune when really it’s just your old college futon underneath.

Wood Furniture Ideas

Outdated wood furniture can easily be transformed into a shabby chic coastal look with a bit of paint and sandpaper. Check unfinished wood furniture stores for great deals. Save even more by asking for distressed or dinged items or floor samples. Even a beginning DIY-er can slap on a coat of paint and then sand it off again—and it’s great fun, too!

The Seaside Home Secret

In a word, it’s the light. Choose things that reflect or channel light easily such as mirrors or mirrored furniture, chrome or silver, glass, and lightweight fabrics like linen, muslin, or cotton.

Seaside Reads: Beautiful Decorating Books to Inspire You

Books provide loads of inspiration and also look beautiful arranged on a table or shelf. Sign up at Paperback Swap to snag books for free, watch for Amazon’s deals, or check Ebay for bargains galore.

  • The Natural Home by Judith Wilson
  • Seaside Style for the Home by Andrea Spencer
  • Mary Emmerling’s Beach Cottages by Mary Emmerling
  • Beach Style House by Coastal Living
  • Coastal Style by Sally Hayden
  • Waterside Cottages by Barbara Jacksier