Design a Coastal Kitchen that Doesn’t Scream “Beachy Kitschy”

May 11, 2016
Categories: Blog


Each room in our home should resemble our personality and interests. We spend a great deal of time in our home and the kitchen seems to be the place where family and guests congregate.  With that said, our homes should be a place of peace and tranquility; the kitchen is no exception.

For many people all over the world, there is no place that embodies peace and tranquility quite like the coast. The wind, waves, and sand all embody relaxation and peace of mind. Luckily, it is possible to bring that peace and tranquility into our homes with a little bit of creativity and the right materials. One can do a complete remodel to achieve the look or selected smaller changes to bring in the character of coastal living. Read below to learn about a few features that will help you perfectly design your coastal inspired kitchen!

White Cabinetry

When creating a comfortable, coastal inspired kitchen, it is important to design a space that feels light, airy and open; without being cold. Choosing white cabinets can help your kitchen look modern, yet inspired by the beach; especially with selected accents and accessories. Simplicity in line and style for the kitchen cabinets will evoke the shore.  If your current cabinets are worn but functional, consider painting them instead of replacing them to save a lot of money.  Use high quality gloss paint to allow for easy cleaning.  Blue accent colors with white kitchen cabinets are a classic coastal combination.

Consider removing a cabinet door and leaving the space open with shelving to display colorful dishware to bring in the cottage feel.  You can also replace part of the door front with glass to display items and keep a more sophisticated feel.

For other kitchen color ideas, check out our blog post here.

Kitchen Jewelry

If you don’t want to paint or replace your cabinets, consider just updating the drawer pulls and handles.  Here you can use your imagination.  There are thousands of styles and designs within reach at big box stores or online.  Consider shells or a marine life motif.  Simple glass knobs can be elegant and evoke an earlier era without screaming “beach”. Whatever you decide, continue the theme, with small touches throughout the space. 

A hanging pot & pan rack with sparkling stainless or copper pots and pans can bring a cottage feel into the space while being functional and freeing up cabinet space.


New LED lighting will brighten the space and save money on utility bills.  The new lighting styles can instantly update the kitchen space.  Streamlined pendant lamps will provide task lighting while not overwhelming the space like overhead lighting.  Under cabinet lighting can provide a warm glow to the space and additional task lighting. 


Want to give your countertops a unique and fun look? If so, consider using tiles for your countertop surface. They are extremely functional and could give your kitchen a dose of coastal excitement in an otherwise conservative space.

If your countertops are worn but you are not ready to replace them, consider painting them!  I painted mine with a metallic copper paint over 5 years ago and am surprised they have held up so well over the years.  I did use 3 coats of paint and 3 clear coats to provide a depth to the finish and to protect them from the teenagers in the house.  They look like they were wrapped in copper sheeting but at a fraction of the cost.

Glass Tiles

One of the best ways to add a little bit of coastal flair to your kitchen is through the use of glass tiles. Whether you are using them functionally as a backsplash or simply as an accent to the wall, glass tiles can easily add a unique look to an otherwise boring or plain space. Use glass tiles on a picture frame to completely change it.  Blues and greens are the most popular in terms of creating a coastal feel.  They are a reminder of the sea glass we find treasure hunting on the beach. 

For more ideas on using tiles, read this blog post.

Hardwood or Tile Floors

The flooring material in any kitchen often has the ability to set the tone for the entire home. Homeowners simply cannot go wrong with hardwood floors as they seamlessly bring the entire room together with a look that is timeless. The contrast between the natural hardwood and white cabinets will instantly create a chic coastal cottage look.

Another coastal flooring material with Caribbean fair is tile. Tiles will keep your kitchen cool on the hottest summer days and come in a plethora of colors and styles. Think Italian villa with terra cotta tiles or a deep blue tile like the ocean depths to contrast with white cabinetry.

Check out our article on how to avoid common flooring mistakes.

Ceiling Fans

Consider installing a ceiling fan to add comfort and style to the space.  A ceiling fan will help to remove heated air while cooking in the summer to keep you cool.  Select a style that continues the tropical and shore theme.  Many fans now look like palm branches to easily pull off the coastal “Hemmingway” design. 

Furniture, Accessories & Window Treatments

Here is where the fun is.  You can completely change the entire look of your kitchen with only small changes.  Perhaps, you create one look for summer and then change the look during the winter months. 

Bring in the wicker table and chairs from the porch or outdoor spaces to create a coastal feel in the kitchen.  If they have been outdoors for a time, consider a fresh coat of white paint.  Fresh cushions in bright blues and greens with a stripped or tropical floral pattern will make the table pop.

Window treatments should be simple.  Shutters are classic at the coast and utilitarian to be closed during storm events.  If you prefer fabric and a bit of softening in the space, use simple sheer or cotton curtains that coordinate with the other upholstery in the space.  Balance the colors, pattern size and type – floral, stripped, or another print.  A print with a beach motif is not necessary to provide a coastal feel. 

A colorful throw rug by the sink will make it more comfortable to stand and is a throwback to Grandmothers time of washing dishes by hand.  Make sure the colors and pattern coordinates with the rest of the room. 

Finally, keep countertops free of clutter to provide a relaxing space.  Store appliances not used frequently.  Baskets or canisters will provide additional storage for items frequently used without being messy and spread all over the place.

Accessories should be inspired by the coast.  But, this does not mean it has to be all lighthouses, fish, shells or the like. A bowl of fresh lemons will remind guests of homemade lemonade and lazy summer days.  Fresh flowers and plants help to bring the outdoors in.  Use your imagination to find unique items to your personality to pull off the look you desire.

You may notice that many of the features we have discussed not only give off a coastal feel, but are also integral in creating an area that remains comfortable in the hot summer months. This is due to the fact that classic beach homes did not often have cooling systems, so it was the tile and the hardwood on the interior of the home that kept residents and guests cool during their stay on the coast. Use these same features in your living room to show off the coastal theme throughout the entire home!

If you need help with any home improvement, repair or maintenance projects – Expert Home Services is your all in one provider!