As a homeowner, you’ve probably gone through a range of design themes or elements as you’ve worked to create a particular aesthetic for your home. Maybe you’ve incorporated a Boho style or a minimalist quality. But no matter what you’ve chosen, perhaps you haven’t yet nailed the perfect theme.

Coastal themes and modern design are often considered a rough juxtaposition simply because modern design typically incorporates crisp lines along with bold patterns or shapes. Coastal design, on the other hand, usually includes bright colors, pastels, and otherwise kitschy decorative elements. But if you can successfully bring the two together, you’ll have a completely unique style.

The idea of having a coastal theme doesn’t mean you have to bring images of the beach into your home. Rather, it means having the beach essence present while still enjoying the tight linear style of modern design. 

If you’re looking for an amalgam of coastal and modern design, the following will detail a few tips to get your space looking just right.

Keep Your Base Colors Soft

If you want to bring the beach into your space without it becoming an overarching, literal theme, keeping your base color palette soft is going to be the perfect starting point.

Modern design often incorporates a minimalist quality. And this means that bright oranges or deep blues (common with many coastal themes) will throw off the modern feel. As such, keeping your base colors soft and subtle will allow for the modern and coastal elements to blend together in a cohesive rhythm. 

For example, learn to love the color beige along with off-white tones. This will set your space up for other color opportunities while still keeping the foundational elements of modern design. And the best part is, this means that you can still incorporate an accent wall or utilize your favorite beach colors, but only as subtle reminders that will deliver that coastal element that you’re going after. 


If you’ve ever taken a stroll along any beach and studied the scenery closely, you’ve likely found that the beachscape is full of texture. From rolling barchan dunes to pockmarked sandscapes, to the rough textures of beach grasses and the nesting grounds of terns, the coastal scenery is full of varied textures. And this is a perfect place to start when assembling your decor.  

A few elements that you may consider are as follows:

  • Seagrass plants 
  • Woven tapestries 
  • Driftwood accents 
  • Wooden bowls with shells or pebbles
  • Bottled sand

It’s also good to note that having too much texture placed haphazardly about your home can cause your modern coastal theme to “drift” into a more Bohemian appeal. So unless you prefer the cluttered vibe, it’s best to keep your decor to a minimum and only use your decor sparingly to highlight muted colors and fill in larger areas of negative space.

Texture can also be used to give a cozy, coastal feel to any modern or urban space and reduce your impulse to renovate, even if your home includes exposed pipes, vents, or exposed brick that you may have considered covering up. 

Embrace Abstract Art

Most people are either confused or entranced by abstract art. And no interpretation of this art style will be the same from one person to the next. But abstract art, at its core, doesn’t attempt to literally represent reality. Instead, it seeks to nod toward realistic concepts using a variety of elements such as colors, textures, patterns, and shapes. 

Coastal-themed homes often incorporate beach prints or beach scene paintings that can otherwise cheapen the feel of your home and make the coastal theme entirely too literal. And when attempting to blend coastal and modern themes, beach prints can teeter the balance too far in one direction.

Abstract art can give the feel of water or the ebbing and flowing of the tide without being so literal. It can also glance toward a beachy feel without having a pronounced beachscape print as a focal point within your home. 

Large abstracts are great for focal points within a home. And not only can you incorporate beachy colors with abstract art, but you’ll also be able to enhance the modern design elements and tie them together nicely within your space.

Blending two design themes together is a difficult and delicate balance even for some of the most experienced interior designers. But if you follow the tips included here, you’ll be able to create this balance and enjoy the feel of a modern coastal space.