10 Ways to Decorate a Beach House on a Budget

By Maureen Lawton, Guest Blogger


Vintage and antique add charm.  There’s a lot to be said about furniture and objects of yesteryear.  Nothing is more sturdy and made with such craftsmanship as those pieces.  Breathe new life into them.  Paint them.  Re-purpose them. Use them. Love them!


Paint goes a long way in making an impact and making things feel fresh.  And you don’t have to paint everything.  Try a pale blue ceiling in one room, or just paint the bottom half in another room.  How about a coat of dark navy blue on an old set of stairs?  It’s gorgeous!


Mix painted and natural woods.  Even though the chalk and distressed painted looks are awesome, don’t forget to use some of your beautiful old natural wood pieces in the mix.  Natural wood warms a space, brings depth and grounds us to our roots.


Use your imagination.  Hang something unexpected on the wall and it will transform your space. Use architectural pieces like an iron gate, a door or shutters for interest.  Be sure to include a mirror or two in every room to bring in light.  And hang things low on the walls to ground the eye.  


Always a pretty option. Go to a junk shop or flea market and look for something you can turn into a shelf.  Or find a weathered one.  Start with a seascape, then layer it by adding a lantern, a starfish, a block and tackle……


Lanterns or boat lighting are amazing in a beach house.  Did you know its okay to hang an exterior light inside your house?  You don’t have to spend a fortune to find unique lighting.


Don’t get caught up with millennial grays.  The days of gray are over. Coastal beiges and blues are back in style, classic and just as beautiful as ever.   Everyone loves the beautiful tones of the sea and sand in a beach cottage.


Choose ONE piece you love and build upon it.  It can be a bowl, a lamp, a rug, a couch or a painting.  Then search your cabinet, hutch and another rooms to find things to compliment that ONE piece.   You can change up a whole house with things you already have in the basement or in another room.  Re-arrange it.


Gone are the days of heavy drapery. A sweet valance in the kitchen or a shade and a valance in a bedroom is a nice touch. Or my favorite, use a white sheer that will blow in the breeze of an open window.  Be creative. You can use a scarf, runner, lace tablecloth, shawl or anything interesting to embellish a window.  Look in your drawer, go to the thrift shop or a church bazaar to find inexpensive gorgeous textiles.  Just love it!


We live in an area of all things nautical. It is easy to find “things of the coast” to embrace to make your home the quintessential beach house.  Dark woods and nautical objects of yesteryear are all around us.  Buoys, ships wheels, anchors, propellers, barometers, block and tackle, portholes, clam baskets, oars, rope, memorabilia are easily found in our area.  Go to a marine consignment shop or tag sale. Or just walk the beach and scour the dock for unique objects to incorporate into your décor.

Maureen Lawton is the owner of Cottage Cottage Chic, a Rhode Island design company located in South County RI that specializes in coastal property interior decorating, furniture and furnishings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *