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Design for your bach, adapt to your house

From the Resene decorating blog

Bach or beach house life is all about chilling out. It's about creating spaces where you can drift between inside and out without too much thought given to keeping things immaculate, and 'just so'. Coastal living calls for houses that let us live lightly, while still being inspiring and uplifting to be in.

Colours of the exterior coastal landscape are echoed inside

By mirroring the colours of your exterior coastal landscape inside, you will amplify the indoor-outdoor flow. These walls are in Resene Duck Egg Blue, with the floor in Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue and a coffee table shelf in Resene Unwind. The bamboo pot stand is Resene Quarter Tea. The pendant light shade, large bowl and the vase are Resene Raindance. Sofa from Contempa, rug, Atlantis Deco Object, mug, coasters and votive from Freedom Furniture, aqua cushion from Allium, round cushion and pot stand from Kmart, throw and mist cushion from Adairs. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

It's not a difficult vibe to achieve – and better still, it's one that can easily be adapted to suit your everyday living back at home.

Here are some ideas from Resene on how to make the most of life at the beach, that can also bring a little bit of the beach to you, wherever you are.

Bring the outside in

Indoor-outdoor flow tends to be the first thing we talk about when we talk about bach or coastal living. We all want that seamless connection to the outdoors; it's part of the point of being at the beach.

But good indoor-outdoor flow is as much about bringing the outside in, as it is having your interior spaces flow outside through some French doors onto a deck with a table, chairs and the BBQ.

If you do have that open connection to the outdoors, consider mirroring the colours of the exterior view, in your interior colour scheme. If your deck overlooks the sand and sea go for muted sandy neutrals inside of Resene Quarter Napa or Resene Bison Hide, with a muted aqua such as Resene Iceberg, a tropical vibrant turquoise like Resene Hullabaloo or a deep, open-sea blue such as Resene Cyprus.

But if your coastal view is a grassy, sandy backyard, pohutukawa and pine trees, or a bright floral garden, look for ways to mirror those colours inside as well, to really emphasise that connection to the outside.

The other way to bring the outside in is by furnishing your spaces with bare, weathered wood finishes, which naturally work well with your coastal themed colour schemes. Don't be afraid to add other beach touches with bowls of unusual shells, sea glass and other beach treasures. Natural fibres and finishes such as linen, hessian, rope, reeds and cane all help root your interior in its coastal surrounds.

A dramatic beachy look features in this lounge

A beachy outdoor shower showcasing Resene Green Meets Blue

Dramatic beachy look: Painted ply adds informal texture to this dramatic beachy look. These plywood walls are stained with Resene Colorwood Woody Bay, the floor is painted in Resene Sea Fog, the sideboard is in Resene Casper, the coffee table is painted in Resene Indian Ink and wiped with Resene Sea Fog to add a paint effect. The tray is in Resene Escape, the vase (with single palm leaf) and the tea light is Resene Lazy River. The white rattan votive is Resene Sea Fog, the textured vase (on the sideboard) is in Resene.  Outdoor shower: A colourful tongue-and-groove finish complements the natural-toned wood floor in this outdoor shower. The wall is Resene Green Meets Blue with the striped shower splashback in Resene Nepal and Resene Sea Fog. The breezeblocks are Resene Sea Fog and the show foot stand is Resene Pitch Black. The mirror is Resene Breeze, the soap dispenser and towel rail are Resene Nepal and the shelf is Resene Pitch Black. Showerhead from Plumbline, chair from Cintesi. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Bring the inside out

These days we ask a little more from our outdoor living areas, thanks largely to our increased awareness of the sun. Rather than just a deck with a table, chairs and maybe a sun umbrella, we like at least part of our outdoor living areas to also offer more shelter.

Fresh seafoam tones in an outdoor seating area

Fresh, seafoam tones make for a charming, comfortable outdoor area. The walls are painted in Resene Half Villa White, the deck is in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, the ottoman and side table are in Resene Double Pravda, the large plant pot is in Resene Aura, the ladder, tray and pattern on ottoman cushion are painted in Resene Peace, the pattern on the square cushion is in Resene Kandinsky and the vase and smaller plant pot are in Resene Bi Hoki. Chair from Johnston Imports, throws from H&M Home, cushion (with painted plus in Resene Kandinsky) from The Warehouse. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Pergolas that filter the sun's rays, but also offer all-weather use are hugely popular – and are often very appealing to buyers should you one day consider selling your coastal escape. It might take the shape of sturdy wooden frame with plants entwined overhead, or it could be a simple retractable awning if building a fully roofed, gabled extension is not on the cards. You can paint your pergola to match your home using Resene Lumbersider low sheen or Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss or consider Resene Waterborne Woodsman for a subtle stained effect. If you're choosing a dark colour, use a Resene CoolColour to help reflect more heat and keep the surface cooler than a standard colour.

Another fun way to bring the inside out at your bach – or to add a practical touch of bach living to your city home – is with an outdoor shower.

Adding a couple of non-slip pavers near where you have an outdoor tap should help ensure plumbing in a shower head isn't a major job. But you can go as fancy as you like, with tiles, wood screens, copper shower fittings and lots of surrounding large leafy plants. Finish walking areas in Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path for a non-slip finish.

If you don't want to involve a plumber, you can keep it super simple by hooking up a hand-held sprinkler head attached to a hose, either a tree or on a purpose built bracket against the house. For a cheap hack, that will mean a quick shower, drill tiny holes in the bottom of a metal bucket and hang it in a tree!

Head for the Hamptons

If you want a roadmap to follow in your quest for a quick and chic coastal makeover, have a look at the Hamptons style trend.

It might get its name from the elite North American coastal community at the Hamptons, but it is also an easy and budget-friendly style to emulate anywhere.

At its core Hamptons style is all about lots of layers of crisp white, paired with weathered wood finishes and another punch of colour, often in the form of nautical blues like Resene Bondi Blue or Resene Cobalt. But it can also be adapted to include layers of other natural-toned neutrals such as Resene Half Villa White and washed timbers in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash or Resene Colorwood Whitewash.

Coastal or 'Hamptons' colours don't have to include blue. If blue's not your thing, a mix of fresh white like Resene Alabaster, or a warmer neutral such as Resene White Pointer will give you a fresh base that works well with shades of bright green like Resene Green or forest green like Resene Zuccini. Or you could mix your blues and greens with a teal like Resene Wishing Well.

For a sunny, summery vibe yellow, golds and oranges will give your rooms dramatic impact, and are shades that work well with stone, or oaty-toned neutrals. Some combinations to try are Resene Reno Sand with Resene Narvik, Resene Sunflower with Resene Titania, or Resene Buddha Gold with Resene Quarter Thorndon Cream.

More beachy ideas:


Stay Cool – Use Resene CoolColours to keep your place cooler

Resene Wallpaper Collection P012-VD4
Resene Wallpaper Collection P012-VD4
Resene Amiata Wallpaper Collection 296012
Resene Amiata Wallpaper Collection 296012
Resene Wallpaper Collection P011-VD4
Resene Wallpaper Collection P011-VD4

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Colorwood Woody Bay

Resene Raindance

Resene Lazy River

Resene Aura

Resene Peace

Resene Bi Hoki

November 29, 2021

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