Hampton's Beach Style Interior Decorating Ideas

Written by erik devaney
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Hampton's Beach Style Interior Decorating Ideas
The Hamptons is a coastal area along Long Island's eastern shore. (Hampton Beach_1 image by Semsem from Fotolia.com)

Decorating the interior of one of the Hamptons' many elegant and expansive seaside homes requires blending visually powerful nautical elements with the more toned-down, modern American style. The Hamptons are a notoriously exclusive cluster of coastal resort towns and villages that dot the eastern shoreline of Long Island in New York. As the designer and Hamptons homeowner James Huniford notes, a good goal for decorating should be to strive for an American look without being too "Americana" or kitschy.

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Nautical Necessities

In order to provide interior spaces with a distinctively Hamptons' beach-style, furnish them with nautical and antique tables, chairs, chests, stools and other items. These decor elements, as opposed to walls and artwork, should provide interior spaces with a subtle coastal or "beachy" theme, which will help maintain some sense that you are by the sea without being too overbearing.

Possible options include hanging up a pair of wooden oars, using a large, antique steamer or ship trunk as a coffee table or bench, and, in general, using wicker and Colonial-style furniture, such as wingback and Windsor chairs. According to House Beautiful, you can also add a touch of subtle nautical to your Hamptons home by putting up a cool, grey-coloured trim around the ceilings of its rooms, as these features commonly adorn yacht interiors and can help tie rooms together.

Wall Color

While in a typical coastal cottage you might consider ocean blue or pinstripe walls, which imitate the colours and patterns of the sea, for a more refined look, stick with a solid, neutral colour for walls. Bold colours and patterns will make the interior of your beach home in the Hamptons appear garish and cluttered, especially when you begin incorporating attention-grabbing coastal items into your decor. One option, as Huniford recommends, is to use an off-white shade that he calls "foggy summer squall," which features hints of green and grey. These types of neutral tones work nicely as backdrops for nautical and antique items, as they create contrast.

Artwork

Instead of hanging up predictable pieces of coastal artwork, such as paintings of sailboats and ocean scenes and prints of shells and seagulls, maintain sophistication in your Hamptons beach home by utilising pieces of mid-century modern art. Huniford chose to put up lithographs from the abstract artist Robert Rauschenberg, who, while having an affection for "pop" art, often utilised bizarre means for producing it, such as applying paint to the tire of a car and running over canvas. If sculpture is more your forte, consider some of the works of Richard Serra--or similar pieces--which often consist of irregularly-shaped lead or steel structures.

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