Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making a Splash Furnishing a Beach House


The first lesson for furnishing a beach house or coastal home is to take an example from someone who has naturally wavy hair. When that hair gets too close to moisture – rain, humidity, perspiration – it wilts. The same goes for the wrong beach-themed furnishings. Items that look great in the city or country – like white carpeting and fabrics or wood furniture – do not withstand the ocean breezes very well. You don’t want coastal furniture that wilts or curls up at the wrong time.

Many beach houses are furnished with nautical-themed pieces, including antiques. If a piece survived many years on the sea in a boat or was manufactured for sailing, it’s a safe bet it will stay the way you wanted it to look at the beach house.

People also appreciate the irony of a waterbed at coastal properties. Business executives who wouldn’t consider such a “hippie” leftover at their city homes buy mattresses, heaters, pillows, and other accessories to bring the water into the house until they get outside to enjoy the water.

Much of the charm of beach houses has to do with the light that freely enters to assure a spectacular view. Special care needs to be taken when considering colors. All that light will fade bright colors (and artwork), so choose fabrics and even art that can withstand direct sunlight.

Although beach home decorating can cost much more than a comparable house a few miles inland, the furnishings do not have to match that formula. The beach house is for fun and relaxation, and the furnishings should be comfortable, low-maintenance and able to withstand traces or sand or mud that will somehow make their way into the house. Make a big splash with the unexpected in beach furniture and accessories. Put your toe in the avant-garde water.

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