Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creating the Beach house effect in your space

Photograph by Dawn Gagnon
Nature often has a great deal of influence over our mental and physical well being. Ask any beach go-er what the lure of the ocean is, and they will no doubt tell you that there is a deep profound connection to the water, air and sun like no other place in the world. Whether it is the relaxed lifestyle that flanks our shores, or the feeling of being in the presence of something far greater, more powerful than ourselves, the beach is a living memory. Bringing this into our lives, can be done through well planned decor. The ending result? A tranquil environment that will bring the ocean into your everyday life, no matter where you live.

Color-To create the serenity and feel of the beach in your home, you must  start your project like an artist on his painting, working from the background forward. If you are trying to focus on what room would best work, always opt for the room that has the most natural light. However, it is often nice if you can brighten up a  dark room applying certain techniques to achieve this as well. Working from the background first, you have to decide and incorporate the natural colors associated with the beach. To get the complete feel, choose three prominent colors from the beach landscape. I suggest taking a lot of pictures of every scene that appeals to you for a reference. Don't be afraid to look at the objects you brought home from your trip either for color inspiration. Many people trying to replicate the beach go for sandy browns and pale blues, however, in all honesty, not every beach or ocean cast the same hues. There are many gray colors involved that range from gray tans to gray blues. There are few stark whites in the beach landscape, but oddly enough a lot of stark whites are used in the design of a beach themed room or house. Try antique whites as an alternative.

Furniture- A trip to the beach is all about catering to physical relaxation and comfort. Furniture that you may want to consider should be about comfort and relaxation as well. Taking pictures of the furnishings at a favorite beach condo or hotel will help you visualize the concept. If you have very comfy furniture already, but it is not the color or pattern that works with the beach feel, I suggest ordering slip covers that can either be dyed or already have the color you desire. This is a relatively inexpensive treatment and can really bring your design full circle. Another choice may be to have your furniture re-upholstered in a fabric that is appropriate. Only choose this option if this is a permanent design that you will not be changing any time soon. Since the beach lifestyle is about casual living at it's best, tables should be informal in feel and design. Use your creativity when chosing end tables and a coffee table if the room is to be a living area. Old trunks make great coffee tables, end tables that have been fashioned from old greyed weathered dock wood, all can carry into your theme well. Just don't go so far it looks like you are sitting in a seafood restaurant somewhere. Subtle design is always safer and more tasteful than obvious, forced and deliberate design.

Ocean accessories- Once you have gotten the color scheme down, and the furniture right it is time to migrate to the finishing touches to complete that relaxing resort feel to your room. I suggest doing a good deal of research online to find the right decor. One easy way to bring the beach home is through photography. The photographs you take can be the easiest and most beautiful accessory you can utilize. There are many digital photography software programs that can be installed on your computer that you can use to create unique and beautiful works of art from your photographs. For inspiration in decor, I would suggest visiting a few nice seafood restaurants, visiting water parks, ocean parks and gift shops near the beach. I would also suggest hunting for decor via the internet. When it comes to design and decor the most intelligent thing you can do is research. I have heard many people say, "I know what I like, I just don't know how to do it". Take a few weeks to plan, gather information from a wide variety of sources and collect photos, mementos and items along the way. Follow some of the simple guidelines in this article and you can bring the ocean home, and feel like you are on vacation, year round, and isn't that ideal?

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