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How to evolve into country coastal style

From the Resene decorating blog

There’s a well-documented movement happening across many aspects of society these days: a desire to simplify, declutter, slow down and reconnect with nature.

When it comes to our home interiors – and exteriors – that is manifesting in a preference for relaxed spaces, soft textures, plants and natural fibres and a seamless flow between inside and out.

A country coastal style lounge

Raw and natural fibres in the furniture and soft furnishings add a relaxed finish to the fresh white, battened backdrop – in Resene Black White – of this lounge. The floor is stained in Resene Colorwood Dark Ebony. Console and coffee tables in Resene Merino, mirror, tall bottle vases and table tray in Resene Cloudy, smaller bottle vase in Resene Silver Chalice and coral in Resene Black White. Sofa, armchair, lantern, lamp base, linen shade and grey cushions from Johnston Imports/Ji Home, rug from Freedom, seagull, grey and white mixed stripe cushions and lighthouse decoration from Bed Bath & Beyond, tray from Freedom, small grey and white striped cushion from The French Villa. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

On social media platforms, it’s often referred to as country coastal style. It takes in elements of other modern trends like ‘coastal grandmother’ or ‘cottagecore’ and is really a combination of other familiar looks like the timeless Hamptons style or beachy bach style as we might call it. It’s more elevated, understated and elegant than a completely rustic country look, yet not as tightly styled as a Hamptons look.

At their heart all of these labels and trends are about living a simple life, taking comfort in imperfection, and evolving a look that feels naturally collected, rather than carefully curated as a result of intense planning and matching.

Here are some things to think about if you want to adopt a more country coastal approach in your home.

Start with wabi-sabi

At the heart of a relaxed country coastal style house is the concept of things being mismatched, imperfect or even unfinished. In Japanese culture this is known as wabi-sabi; a philosophy that’s been around for centuries that is all about finding beauty in imperfection.

More of a guiding principle than a design trend, wabi-sabi is about accepting things as they are and being authentic rather than forcing things to be a certain way.

When it comes to interiors, the concept might be applied by using raw materials, sourcing authentic pieces to be upcycled rather than using cheaper imitations and focusing on items that are functional rather than purely decorative. It might be expressed by having only decorative items in your house that mean something to you, rather than just because they suit the decor.

Having design rules for wabi-sabi is an oxymoron, but ultimately the philosophy frees you to occupy your spaces in a simple, uncomplicated way that enhances your life.

A modern monochrome country style space

Black contrast features add modern monochrome sophistication to this country-style space.

Upper wall painted in Resene Double Merino with lower boards and shelf in Resene Quarter Merino, mirror in Resene Nero, left wall in Resene Quarter Karaka, floor in Resene Foggy Grey with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Quarter Merino, floor planter in Resene Quarter Merino and small side table in Resene Quarter Crisp Green. Stool and bar stool by Jardin. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

A country coastal bedroom

Soft natural colours, handcrafted features and an emphasis on natural fibres mean this bedroom has a nicely balanced country coastal look.

Walls painted in Resene Eighth Joss, headboard in Resene Norway with a painted cross-stitch effect feature in Resene Quarter Joss, Resene Woodrush, Resene Planter, Resene Half Malta, Resene Bandicoot, and Resene Lemon Ginger, bedside table in Resene Bandicoot and lamp in Resene Karaka. Bedlinen, cushions and throw from Citta, fan from The Cane Collective, hat from Country Road. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

Imperfect finishes

Surfaces, particularly wood, that are finished to show their natural grain and texture are a big part of a country coastal look. As are weathered, or brushstroke finishes that give your space a softer, lived-in feeling.

A washed finish, as opposed to paint or stain, is a simple way to subtly tone your wood, while making a feature of the grain or any imperfections. Resene Colorwood Be Calm or darker Resene Colorwood Shore Thing from the We Speak Beach collection will give your wood surfaces the weathered finish of driftwood which nicely embraces the coastal theme.

There are many ways to add texture to your walls with Resene products such as Resene FX Paint Effects Medium, Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, Resene FX Crackle, Resene Resitex Coarse or Resene FX Metallic paints.

One of the most popular textured styles is a limewashed concrete style, reminiscent of Mediterranean villas or mudbrick homes. Try a muted base shade such as green-tinted Resene Secrets with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium in a deeper toned green like Resene Paddock for a blended textured effect.

Feathered brushstrokes are another look that works well with country coastal design. Try adding bold brushstrokes of paint in one shade over your background wall colour. Using Resene FX Paint Effects will give your strokes a textured, slightly worn effect that resembles luxury hand-painted wallpaper.

This brushed or matte effect finish can also be continued onto your furniture and even fittings like cupboard handles or tapware where you could opt for brush metal finishes rather than high-shine.

Top tip: Experiment on a spare piece of plasterboard, paper or wood, using Resene testpots in different colour combinations to see what you like best and to practise your overlapping brushstrokes.

For a faster way to add a brushstroke finish to your walls try a wallpaper design like the crosshatch strokes of Resene Wallpaper Collection 37532-5 or the bold sweeps of Resene Wallpaper Collection 99347.

The colour palette

A beachy-toned bedroom

The use of soft washes and timber grains in this beachy-toned bedroom give it a distinctly cosy, yet chilled-out vibe. Left wall painted in Resene Half Biscotti, plywood wall behind the bed in Resene Colorwood Becalm from the We Speak Beach collection. Floor finished in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy and headboard, coat hooks and stump stool in Resene Bask. Duvet cover and pillowcases from Foxtrot Home, washed linen cushions and throw from Adairs, rug from Mocka. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

The colour palette for a country coastal finish tends to include muted shades of blues and greens with mustard yellows and earthy deep browns against a heavily neutral backdrop in beiges, sandy colours and creams.

For this kind of relaxed look, it’s hard to go past neutral walls in Resene Bon Jour or Resene Eighth Tea to showcase a mix of wood finishes. In fact, if you like a lot of wood furniture and fittings in your home, adopting the wabi-sabi or country coastal approach will help you because it will always be hard to get two different wood surfaces the same shade – particularly if you’re upcycling.

To keep to this minimalist finish just dot leafy green plants around the space and maybe a rug or throw for some texture.

You can easily add more colour without going too bright by opting for shades that have a lower colour saturation, which makes them more muted and restful. For example, a vivid or primary blue would be Resene Fun Blue, whereas a muted blue, like Resene Duck Egg Blue or Resene Bismark has that dusted or weathered look you want in a relaxed restful space.

The colours that really work in a country coastal space are the colours that connect your space with the outdoors. That means botanical greens like Resene Flax or Resene Palm Green, and earthy browns like Resene Sandstone or terracotta red Resene Sante Fe. For a little more brightness try mineral yellows or golds like Resene Yukon Gold or Resene Apache.

Other country coastal design tips:

Take your colour swatches with you when you shop for accessories to help you co-ordinate the look and keep true to the style you are trying to create in your home.

Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy

Resene Colorwood Be Calm

Resene Colorwood Shore Thing

Resene Bask

September 08, 2022

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