So let’s start! One of the biggest challenges I hear again and again from clients, is the ability to envision their new space. So I always create at least three pieces for all of my Postbox clients: a Floor Plan, a Mood Board, and a 3D Perspective. So I’m going to share all three with you today!
A Mood Board gives a vision of what the space will look like. It is the inspiration or sets the “mood” of the space:
How to Decorate a Coastal Casual Living Room
by Postbox Designs
This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure policy here.
When designing a space, I want the elements to not only be pretty, but also practical. Whether you live near the surf and sand, the woods, have children or dogs, selecting the right materials for your furniture is the key for a long lasting look. Here are some rooms beautiful enough to inspire you to go cottage style! All feature coastal casual charm AND floating furniture arrangements. Some tips for picking materials and furniture that hold up to summer fun include:
Slipcovers. As a mom of three young kids and a Labradoodle pup, I know a thing or two about messes. Slipcovers on my furniture have saved my frazzled nerves a hundred times over! I think the most hotly debated piece of furniture in the design world could be the white sofa. You love it or hate it. But it is a sure winner for me. I have had my white sofa for almost 10 years now. This Pottery Barn loveseat is a winner because you can simply bleach out the stains.
Dark fabric. I chose this dark navy Target wingback because, well, dark fabrics hide stains better! And when you think of the traditional coastal cottage theme, navy and white are the classic color combinations.
Sisal and seagrass. A sisal rug is an ideal surface for dirt and sand. It cleans up easily with a vacuum or a bit of water. And did you know sisal fibers don’t attract static or dust? Plus, I’m thinking it is the color of that dirt we are trying to hide! This World Market version comes in five different sizes, one is sure to fit your space. I chose this Pottery Barn seagrass wingback for a similar reason. No upholstery makes for an easy clean up, and the cushion zips off for easy washing.
Embrace Imperfections. Take advantage of the current love of rustic, distressed furniture. This Target reclaimed driftwood coffee table will hide a multitude of sins. If you are trying to live the carefree cottage life, you don’t want to be bogged down by water rings!
Keep walls light and bright. In this room the stone and ship lap fireplace, along with the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows are the stars. I kept the walls airy and bright with Benjamin Moore's “Decorator White”.
A Mood Board is a great place to start, but then what? The next step is how to arrange the selected pieces in the space. This room is gorgeous with the high ceilings and walls full of windows, but it creates the problem of how to best arrange furniture. Here is a layout I created:
Tips for Decorating an Open Floor Plan or a Room with No Wall Space
When you are dealing with a room without a lot of wall space, maybe due to windows or an open floor plan, here are some tips:
Make sure you have clear walkways. Walkways should be a minimum of 36”. Aim to create somewhere between 4’-10’ between your seating options, to allow conversation to flow.
Float your furniture. Furniture should be a minimum of 18” away from the walls, but if you have a larger room, ideally you should be able to walk all the way around your furniture arrangement. If you have a TV in your room, allow the main seating area to be around 7’ away for maximum comfort.
Think about function. In this case, the fireplace is the main attraction, so I created a U-shape of furniture that allows for conversation. However, if the main function was to watch TV, I would have used a longer sofa facing the TV with a couple of chairs facing the grouping.
Use a (large!) rug. To avoid looking like a little island of furniture in the middle of the room, ground the space with a large area rug. Ideally, at least the front two feet of all furniture should be placed on the rug. An 8’x10’ or larger rug usually works well, depending on the room size.
So the combination of the Mood Board and the Floor Plan give the directions of how to put the space together. But how can you REALLY visualize it and get the feel of the space? Before I go out and buy all of the furniture for a room, I want to know I’m gonna LOOOOVE it. And sometimes that is hard (even for the most creative of us!) This is where the 3D Perspective helps bring the vision to life:
This perspective shows everything in the Mood Board as you would arrange it in real life. I added in all of the artwork, accessories, and more that really bring the space to reality! This quirky, fun lobster pillow brings in the not-so-subtle hint of the coast, while the red striped pillow ties in the pop of red. As I mentioned before, I'm a Michigan gal so I chose destination posters of local beaches we visit in the summer. Art should reflect you, and these posters remind my family of sweet memories. Inexpensive posters for a multitude of locations can be found at sites like Art.com.
And when the sun sets, we still have layers of lighting for this space. Polished nickel sconces shine on the oversized art, and a show-stopper of a chandelier ties in the coastal elements with the rope detailing.
There you go! A coastal casual cottage living room that is also practical, durable, and…affordable! It doesn’t get much better than that. I hope you also picked up a tip or two for arranging furniture without walls.
If you are a lover of free design ideas, tips, and want to see some real Postbox Designs projects, come have fun with me over on Facebook and Instagram. If you have any questions or need some advice with your personal space, come find me over at Postbox Designs.
Thanks to the amazing team at Remodelaholic for letting me hang today. I’m always blown away by the creativity of the folks around here!
More coastal casual beachy home decor: