How To Create A Seaside Nautical Look

Q. I am renovating my cottage and need suggestions for waterside colours. I like Wedgwood blues, sandy beiges, greens, yellows and reds. I need the fabrics to be low maintenance. We’ll have hardwood floors with area rugs. I’d like to incorporate a nautical feeling for the stairs and cupboards.

A. Start by creating a charming backdrop. Off-white wainscotting with traditional beadboard can be purchased by the panel and is easy to install. Choose a simple chair rail to top it off, and if you have pictures you would like to display, think about choosing a chair rail with a width of at least 2” so you can lean a series of pictures on the rail in a dedicated area of the wall. Stick with sea blues and greens, like Farrow & Ball’s Green Blue (84) or Dix Blue (82). Both will look invigorating paired with off-white like Farrow & Ball’s Pointing White (2003).

Choose breezy, fine cotton or muslin curtain panels in off-white for a relaxed feel, just touching the floor. Straw-coloured sisal area rugs will lend a casual, seaside feel to the cottage. If possible, take the sisal carpeting right up the stairs as a runner, and use the beadboard wainscotting along the stairs for added interest. If you want to inject a little red, think about using throws in red or use a red and white stripe to stick with the nautical theme. Replace the wood on some of your kitchen cabinet doors with glass to further lighten the space and add some sparkle. Off-white slipcovers in a sturdy cotton twill are machine washable and offer the quintessential coastal-living, relaxed look.