5 Steps to Create A Coastal Outdoor Living Space For Your Home

The days are getting shorter, but you can extend your time outside by creating a coastal outdoor living space.

What is coastal style?

When I talk about coastal style, I’m talking about using the colors and textures of the coastal environment to create the atmosphere or feeling you get being in the outdoor environment on the coast or by the water. You know, that relaxed feeling you get breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sunshine on your face. You can get this feeling using cool hues like blues and greens paired with warm sandy tones and textures. If you’re looking for something more nautical in nature, you would want to stick with crisp blue and white. To me, the nautical look is part of the broader coastal style. If you want to learn more about the different types of coastal style, you can read some of my previous blog posts here.

In today’s blog post, I’m sharing how to create a coastal outdoor living space for your home. As an interior designer, most of my work is focused on the inside of our client’s homes and bringing the outdoors in with our coastal style. However, more and more people are looking for comfortable living spaces outside. So, here are my suggestions for creating a coastal style outdoor living space.

 Coastal Style for Outdoor Spaces

The space just outside your back door can become your living room for the summer (or year round if you live in the right climate…) How do you make that space feel cozy and comfortable and coastal you might ask?

Step 1:Layout

 Start with a good layout that allows you to move around the space. This is the same principle for your indoor living space, but you don’t have walls. Here your deck, patio, or porch creates your perimeter. Your access to your home or pathway should be clear. Below is an example of a floor plan from one of our projects…

Step 2:Furniture

 Choose high quality furnishings that will hold up to the elements outdoors and are made to last.

Metal furnishings:

If you’re familiar with Sea Green Designs at all, you know we’ve been carrying Fermob outdoor furniture since I started the business over 20 years ago because of the quality, their color choices, and their high environmental standards. You can take a look at their pieces both online and in our Southampton Design Shop. Their pieces are made of either aluminum which is perfect for any location on the coast because aluminum can’t rust in the salty air. However, Fermob is more widely known for their steel pieces. While there is no guarantee against rust, all of Fermob’s pieces are powder coated so they do stand the test of time. If you like the look of metal furniture for your outdoor space, I do highly recommend that it’s powder coated for durability.

Teak furnishings:

If you prefer the look of wood outdoor furniture, teak is probably what you have in mind. Teak is a great choice because it’s strong, water-resistant, and rot-resistant. If you decide to buy teak furniture make sure it is sustainably harvested because the high demand for this material has led to deforestation of old-growth tropical forests. Certified plantation grown teak or even reclaimed teak wood is what you want to look for. I personally love Sika Designs George Teak tables made of recycled teak from old fishing boats and houses. It looks good AND is sustainable, too! Add their chairs or mix it up with colorful Fermob bistro chairs for a fun outdoor environment. 

Step 3: Fire pit/ Fireplace

To extend your season, add a firepit or a fireplace. Small properties can incorporate a fire pit with comfortable lounge chairs like these. If you have more room and the budget, by all means add a fireplace with sofa or sectional and a nice big cocktail table like our clients did at a project we did a couple of years ago.(below)

Step 4: Throw pillows

Once you get your lounge seating in place, you definitely need to add throw pillows in weather resistant fabrics to really make your space feel comfortable. There are so many amazing indoor/ outdoor fabrics, there’s really no end to your options. I tend to like combining textures and solids in coastal hues, but you could also add a playful, yet sophisticated pillow with a coastal motif. Below is a group of four fabrics I put together from Schumacher to demonstrate possible combinations of pattern, scale, and colors.

Step 5: Outdoor rugs

You can use an outdoor rug to really make your outdoor space feel like your living room. Just like you have so many choices with outdoor fabrics, you have many choices for outdoor rugs. (We use them inside, too, for families that need something that’s stain resistant and easy to clean BTW). There are outdoor rugs that look like sisal, outdoor rugs that look like wool, and our favorite at Sea Green Designs, woven outdoor rugs made of phthalate-free certified PVC that look like flat weave cotton.

Well, there you have it. 5 steps to create your own coastal retreat outdoors. I hope it inspires you to do a little something to your outdoor space so that you can spend a little more time outdoors. I believe it really enhances your well-being.

Let me know if you have any questions or tips of your own you want to share. Leave a comment.

meet shannon

Creator of coastal retreats for families to feel good in, lover of beach walks, and sustainable living.




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