When Marisa and her family of four relocated from sunny California to landlocked Charlotte, North Carolina, she was determined to bring one part of her home state with her: the design style. “We’re native Southern Californians who love the water,” she shares. “I really wanted to create a beachy vibe with lots of neutrals, but with a family-friendly twist.”
But considering her new home had wall-to-wall beige paint and dated, early 2000s features, she certainly had her work cut out for her. “I’d describe Marisa’s style as ‘sophisticated coastal,'” adds her Havenly designer Kelsey Fischer. “We needed to add function, personality, and a light, airy feel to this home, top to bottom.”
The two collaborated on every square inch of the space, from the “man cave” and daughters’ bedrooms to the heart-of-the-home TV room. “While each space has a unique vibe, layered textures, pops of wallpaper, white paint, and a hint of edge tie the look together,” notes Kelsey.
Ahead, see exactly how to channel elegant coastal style in any part of the country, according to Marisa and Kelsey.
Start with Flow
Creating a breezy, coastal space starts with a functional floor plan. “The old home was definitely missing the mark in this area,” notes Kelsey. “It felt incredibly choppy, and there was zero consistency from one room to another.” She started by reconfiguring the first floor layout and creating a designated living room with a cozy sectional, a traditional dining room, and a casual breakfast nook. “In addition to selecting neutral, complementary furniture for each, we added new lighting to differentiate each space while speaking to the coastal style.”
Stick To a Neutral Color Scheme
Of course, white paint is the real workhorse in this elegant coastal home. “The old space felt really dark and closed off, with lots of muted beige tones,” explains Kelsey. With the exception of the moody man cave, they refreshed every square inch of the home with clean, bright neutrals, soft wallpaper, and warm brass finishes, from the lighting to the cabinet hardware. “The finished space feels very breezy and serene,” she adds.
Layer Texture on Texture
In any neutral home with a limited color palette, adding warmth and visual interest comes down to texture. In the daughter’s bedroom, for example, Kelsey went with a soft, whimsical wallpaper, layered rugs, whitewashed wood, and bedding with pops of elegant pink. “The use of different textures in each space really creates a warm, inviting atmosphere,” she adds. “The daughters’ room is definitely a fan favorite!”
Know Where to Go Bold
The so-called “man cave” is separate from the rest of the home, and therefore the perfect candidate for bold paint and edgy design elements. Made up of a poker room, bar and wine cellar, TV and game room, and home office, Kelsey brought in black, navy, and shades of gray to create a separate “zone.” “I wanted each room to have its own personality and flair, while creating a cohesive style throughout,” notes Kelsey. “The furniture, decor, and lighting still lean coastal, while the color scheme feels unique and bold.” In Marisa’s words, it’s her husbands’ refuge from the “palace of pink” upstairs.
Lean Into Performance Fabrics
For families with young kids, nailing the elegant coastal style hinges on neutral performance fabrics. Every communal space has a family-friendly element, from the easy-to-clean dining table and washable, replaceable slipcovered dining chairs, to the hard-wearing rugs and durable sectional upholstery. “We selected every fabric and piece of furniture with kids in mind,” adds Kelsey. “The finished space seamlessly marries form and function.”
Want expert advice on your actual home, straight from an interior designer? Start with our style quiz to work with a design pro one-on-one.