Coastal kitchen ideas — 7 ways to bring beachy beauty into your cooking space

We've asked experts for their chicest coastal kitchen ideas

Coastal kitchen ideas are so pretty. Here is a coastal kitchen with white cabinets and wooden wall shelves to the left, a white kitchen island with wooden drawers and an oven to the right, gold and gray pendant lights
(Image credit: Frances V Isaac)

Coastal kitchen ideas are one of our favorite ways to turn spaces into vacation havens. They're easy, breezy, and oh-so-beautiful.

We've asked interior designers and even a color expert about the tricks they use to make any kitchen feel like it's next door to the sea. From light and airy colors to subtle nautical nods, they have plenty of useful tips.

If you're searching for kitchen ideas with a touch of whimsy, going for a nod to the beach is a beautiful way to go.

Chic coastal kitchen ideas

This classic style works well for small kitchen ideas and for larger cooking spaces, too.

Our designers have recommended specific furniture and decor throughout, which we have shopped wherever possible.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Go for contrast

A white kitchen with white cabinets on the walls, a white kitchen island with light blue cabinets underneath, and four white rattan stools next to it, with rich brown wooden flooring underneath

(Image credit: Megan Moura)

Keeping everything completely uniform can look lovely, but when it comes to coastal kitchen ideas, you’re going to need to think outside the box.

“I love a blue cabinet, oak floating shelves, and brass hardware — it just screams coastal to me,” says Shaolin Low, interior designer and founder at Studio Shaolin

She continues, “If you’re looking for a more sophisticated coastal, I think white with brass hardware and then a pop of pink, cane, or textured material is another great way to bring coastal into a kitchen.”

For a subtle way to bring a coastal motif in with metallic hardware, this Coinkoly Champagne Bronze Cabinet Pull from Amazon would work well.

2. Pick natural materials

A kitchen with white cabinets, cream wallpaper, wall sconces on the wall, a black window, and a white kitchen island with a wooden tray of flowers on it with four wooden stools underneath it

(Image credit: Charlotte Lea Photography)

Embrace the beauty of natural textures in your coastal kitchen to create a warm, inviting look. 

“Choose materials such as reclaimed wood, weathered driftwood, rattan, bamboo, and seagrass to add texture and visual interest to your space,” says Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design.

This being said, make sure not to go too overboard with these textures.

“I love to bring a rattan/woven piece into the space, like with island pendants or counter stools, but I wouldn’t recommend having the woven/rattan style for both of those,” adds Leigh Jendrusina, principal designer and founder of SALTHOUSE Collective.

A few of these Breakwater Bay Vayden Pendant Lights from Wayfair would look seriously chic above a kitchen or dining room area.

3. Look for seaside materials

A kitchen with light blue cabinets, a kitchen island with a weathered wood countertop and white tableware, three wooden stools in front of it, and a sink to the right with wooden shelves above it

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

If you own your home, you can go for coastal-inspired renovations in your kitchen to create a relaxed look.

“Choose whitewashed or weathered wood finishes for your cabinetry and flooring to mimic the style of sun-bleached driftwood,” suggests Nina.

She adds, “You can also pick countertops in materials such as marble or quartz to emulate the natural beauty of sand.”

We also like the idea of bringing stone-like tiles in for a pebble beach look, such as these Tile Connections Stone Wall and Floor Tiles from Wayfair.

4. Maximize light

A coastal kitchen with a large window with striped blinds and plants, a bird figure, and a white pot on the windowswill, and a white sink unit with mint tea towels on it and gray cabinets

(Image credit: Sophie Allport)

One of the best parts of heading to the sea is feeling the sunshine on you, so it makes sense to bring this brightness into your coastal kitchen.

Nina explains, “Create a light and airy ambiance by maximizing natural light and optimizing space.”

She continues, “Install large windows to let in plenty of sunlight and showcase views of the outdoors.” If you can't install windows, make sure to learn how to clean windows properly to allow as much light in as possible.

You can also choose sheer or light curtains (these Your Zone Ruffle Curtain Panels from Walmart are so pretty) to allow light to filter through while still providing privacy and shade. These will also brighten up a small kitchen.

5. Add relaxed seating

A kitchen with dark blue cabinets, white countertops with a toaster and fruit bowl on it, or a curved white kitchen island with a glass vase with brown stems and two dark blue velvet bar stools

(Image credit: Simon Taylor Furniture)

Whether you’re diving into oysters or fish and chips, having comfortable kitchen seating ideas will make for relaxed coastal dining.

“Choose dining chairs and barstools in natural materials such as rattan, bamboo, or wicker for a relaxed and laid-back vibe,” suggests Nina.

She adds, “Add soft cushions or upholstered seat pads in coastal-inspired fabrics such as stripes (these Pillow Perfect Stripe Cushions from Amazon are cute), checks, or sea life motifs (we like this Beachcrest Killeen Throw Pillow from Wayfair) to enhance comfort and style.”

6. Choose coastal colors

A coastal kitchen with white cabinets and wooden wall shelves to the left, a white kitchen island with wooden drawers and an oven to the right, gold and gray pendant lights above it, and a wood floor with a runner rug

(Image credit: Frances V Isaac)

When designing with a coastal aesthetic in mind, the best colors for kitchens are lighter shades.

“Colors that always work well include whites and neutrals. I prefer crisp white paints with no yellow undertones, but using earthy tones as a base is also peaceful and lends as a nice backdrop to kitchen accessories while allowing some playfulness,” she adds.

Gaelle recommends trying colors from her beachy paint range, which you can shop on the Ring's End GLDesign A La Plage page.

“The goal is to always feel like you are being transported into vacation mode in your own home," she adds.

7. Finish with nautical nods

A coastal wall art print with a birds eye sea and sand scene with a wooden frame, a starburst wooden mirror next to it, and a rattan sideboard with two books and a ceramic vase with a leaf in it on top

(Image credit: Desenio)

Adding just a couple of nautical finishing touches to your coastal kitchen is an easy way to finish off your look or dabble in the style if you want to test it out.

“Hang framed beach photography, vintage fishing nets, or hand-paint signs with whimsical seaside quotes on the walls to bring in coastal charm,” Nina suggests.

We like this fun Richard Podgurski Print from Desenio for a summery feel (Desenio is also one of our favorite places to get cheap wall art from).

The most important thing of all is to make sure everything feels effortlessly put together.

“Beachside living is all about that laid-back feeling, so the goal in a coastal kitchen design is to have a space that feels put together, but also feels like a place you can roll up to after a long day at the beach,” Leigh finishes by saying.

If the kitchen isn’t the only place you want to decorate in this style, these coastal bathroom ideas are also gorgeous.

Eve Smallman
Staff Writer

Hi there! I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses.