10 Ideas for a Breezy Coastal Kitchen

Article by: Laura Gaskill

Whether you live at the coast or just love beach style, this fresh-as-a-summer-breeze look can make just about any kitchen feel a bit closer to the sea. From remodeling projects (hello, aqua appliances!) to smaller accents (striped bar stools) see which of these 10 ideas would be at home in your kitchen.

1. Striped stools. You can’t get much more classic coastal than blue and white stripes — pull up to your island a set of bar stools upholstered in striped fabric for a quick kitchen update. If you’re worried about spills and stains in this high-traffic zone, choose a stain-resistant indoor-outdoor fabric for easier cleanup.

2. Aqua appliances. Who says appliances have to be boring? Colorful vintage-inspired new appliances make a bold (and very fun) statement. Aqua and turquoise are beachy hues that look great in a crisp white kitchen. 

3. Shiplap or tongue and groove paneling.Covering plain drywall with shiplap or tongue and groove paneling (either horizontal or vertical) is a clever way to bring character to a newer build that lacks architectural detail. Continue the shiplap on the ceiling and cabinetry, and paint it all fresh white for a seamless look.

4. Iridescent tile. The shimmer of an iridescent tile backsplash calls to mind the glint of sun on crystal-clear water and pearly shells beneath the waves. Even a small tiled area can make a big impact when it’s this gorgeous, so consider splurging on the tile you really want, even if it must be in a smaller area.

5. Painted floors. If the wood floors in your kitchen have seen better days, a painted finish can revive them and give your room a fresh beach-house look at the same time. If you’re concerned about wear and tear, consider using marine paint — the type made for boat decks. It’s designed to stand up to saltwater, so it can certainly handle a few cooking spills. 

6. Textured pendant lights. Using natural-fiber textiles in the kitchen brings an earthy, casual vibe perfect for a beach-style space. Using pendant lights, like the ones shown here, is more practical in the kitchen than using a natural-fiber rug, since crumbs and spills can be nearly impossible to completely remove from a textured rug. For the best ambience, choose pendants with a filter to diffuse the light on the bottom.

7. Bicolor stools. Color blocking brings to mind nautical flags — navy and white is a classic (and more subdued) combo, or go bolder with yellow or red. If you can’t find counter stools already painted, buy plain ones and paint just the upper (or lower) third yourself.

8. Bistro stools. For a French Riviera take on the coastal look, go for counter-height versions of classic navy and white bistro chairs. They are chic, comfortable, lightweight and easy to clean.

9. Navy island. White may be the standard for a beachy kitchen, but navy isn’t far behind. For a moderate kitchen makeover, consider painting just the base of your island a rich navy blue — it’s a small area, so it won’t take too long or cost too much, but the impact can be huge.

10. Yacht-inspired details. Inspired by the boats in the harbor outside their coastal Connecticut home, these homeowners went with holly and teak flooring reminiscent of a ship deck. The cabinet hardware is custom made from boat handrail stanchions and teak dowels, creating a designer look at a fraction of the cost.