Special Guest Blogger Week: Beach-inspired design with Tania from TLC Design

Special guest design professionals sharing their know-how on The Unexpected Chic

Wow, what an honour it is to be guest posting on The Unexpected Chic – I know that this blog is new to the blogosphere, but I can tell it’s going to be a big hit!

Last year, I decided to finally make my dream of living aboard in a tropical country a reality, and my fiancé and I took our savings and moved from our home in Toronto, Canada, to Panama – one of the most developed countries and impressive cities in all of Central America.

But really, when it comes down to it, I am simply not a city girl. Never have been, likely, never will be. I moved to Panama to be surrounded by exotic nature and the salty sea air, and for that reason, I chose to live by the beach.

Photo by Tania LaCaria

I love the beach, and I love beach-inspired design – especially because there are so many different ways to achieve a coastal design aesthetic.

There are some simple things you can do to infuse some coastal décor into your city flat to set a peaceful and comfortable ambience that is sure to feel like your own private oasis (even if you don’t have a view of the ocean).


Tip 1: Go for a Soft Colour Palette. Just because you’re going with a coastal theme, doesn’t mean you have to paint your entire house white and teal (…but you can do that too). Opt for softer colours that you find relaxing – soft lavender, light pistachio, robbin’s egg blue, soothing coral and even a light buttery yellow. Strong, bold colours tend to invigorate – but at the beach, life is all about relaxation.


{soft colours From phoebehoward.net}

{Coastal interior. Image courtesy of coastalliving.com}

{light colours from Zimbio.com}

{Coral colour palette from thelennoxx.com}


Tip 2: Up the Natural Finishes. Introduce a variety of furnishings and accessories with natural finishes into your space to play up the organic feel of the beach. Natural finishes are great because they make any space feel inviting and informal, and can also infuse a decent amount of texture (always a good thing!). Opt for stone, rope, rattan, wood, cane, cotton and linen accessories, and introduce a straw or jute rug to tie it all together.


{driftwood table coastaldesign.blogspot.com}

{modern costal decor from moderninteriordesignideas.net}

{seagrass ottoman from crateandbarrel.com}

{seashell decor from coastalliving.com}

{source:white walls natural finishes Image courtesy of inspiracionline.blogspot.com}


Tip 3: Avoid the clichés. Leave the jars full of white sand and cheap painted seashells out of your new beach-inspired space. While several large conch shells on your fireplace mantle can instantly impart a beach-y feel to any space (See #5), the small, dinky, souvenir trinkets from your last trip to Mexico will not. Opt for more subtle ways to bring the beach to your home, and leave the cheesy paintings of the sandy shoreline and the faux palm tree planters for someone else.


Tip 4: Embrace Distressed Wood. For a more dramatic coastal-inspired statement, invest in a piece of furniture that will set the tone for the entire space, and there’s no better way to do this, than with a distressed wood console table, coffee table or armchair. You don’t have to choose a distressed white painted finish, but it does seem to have an unmistakable beach-iness to it. Imagine what a piece of painted wood furniture might look like if it was sitting for a month on the beach exposed to the wind, salty air and coarse sand – that distressed finish is exactly what you’re looking for.


{decorative distressed wood ledge. Potterybarn.com}

{distressed wood from Mywhiteroom.tumblr.com}

{natural finishes Image courtesy of brabournefarm.blogspot.com}

{etsy StiltskinStudios shop}


Tip 5: Group Seashells Together. If you’re a fan of sea shell décor (and let’s face it, they often are used in coastal design), try to showcase a beautiful collection of shells in a group. Instead of placing one or two piddly little shells on a table, arrange a big bowl of a dozen. A collection of shells is always more impactful than one or two – try a long tray of shells on your mantle or shelf, several glass jars full of shells in the same room, or just let the beauties lay strewn about on a floating shelf.

{traditional space with coastal accents Image courtesy of thelennoxx.com}

{groups of shells From coastalliving.com}

{light colours and natural finishes from zimbio.com}

{shell shadow box from seasideinspired.com}


It might seem pretty obvious to you by now that there are many different ways to go about achieving a beach-inspired space of your own. You can mix and match the above tips or stick to just one or two to give your space a custom feel. Although there may be some guidelines to follow when it comes to design and decorating, there really aren’t any rules! So … have fun and experiment!


Thanks again to The Unexpected Chic for inviting me to be a part of this fab blog for a day…it’s been a blast!

3 thoughts on “Special Guest Blogger Week: Beach-inspired design with Tania from TLC Design

    • Thanks Kelly! Glad you’ve enjoyed :) I loved Tania’s coastal design post as well! Be sure to keep visiting, I will check out your site as well!
      Best, Liivi

  1. Hi Tania,

    I very much enjoyed this blog on coastal design. Many good design ideas on how to avoid the cliches and capture the coastal spirit with style. I am wondering how you ended up in Panama and how you like it. We have beachfront property in Punta Chame but currently reside in coastal SC. You’re brave to make the move!

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