Design Style Spotlight: Eastern Coastal - DezignSpace

Design Style Spotlight: Eastern Coastal

Style Vibe: Formal, nautical, refined, timeless


Because the East coast of the U.S. was settled much earlier (late 17th century) than the West coast, the influences that affect the Eastern Coastal design statement are truly traditional in nature. The decor and layouts are formalized with much more structure than the West coast style. However, for its newer iteration in the 20th century, a contemporary overlay is added, expressed through updated color palettes and the newer furnishings construction technologies, so the Eastern Coastal design style really can’t help but ultimately fall into the Transitional category. Nautical themes like bells, ship wheels, shells, nets, and buoys are a major decor cue- with seashells in particular as a staple. 🐚

Want to know which design style matches the vibe you’re going for in your space? Take our quiz to find out!


What are the Hallmarks of Eastern Coastal Design?

The Eastern Coastal design style is easily recognized by its nautical-themed decor, shells, navy and white stripes, rattan and wicker furnishings, shaker-style cottage architecture, and formal layouts.


Is Eastern Coastal Style For You?

This style is a perfect match for East Coast beach dwellers (obviously!) or those who wished they did. 😉


What Does an Eastern Coastal Home Look Like?

Eastern Coastal tends to have classic architectural envelopes because the structures were influenced by 17th & 18th-century architectural styles. Shaker-style cottages with peaked shale roofs, bayfront windows and/or smaller pattern-forming windows, and an abundance of glossy white trim and bead boarding are strongly featured in this style.

How to Design Your Space in the Eastern Coastal Style:

Color Palette 

The Eastern Coastal color palette is vastly different from the palettes seen on the West Coast. Even though both styles embrace natural ocean colors, the Atlantic Ocean is much greener than the very blue Pacific. The Eastern Coastal palette also includes a whole range of sand tones, seagrass, salmon, sea glass green, turquoise, and sunny yellows that mimic the rising eastern sun. A very strong nautical palette is also expressed, seen in midnight navy blue and crisp white.



Eastern Coastal furnishings feature traditional detailing paired with a fresh color palette. Formal, shell-shaped chairs upholstered in white linen with navy blue piping or skirted pieces in a navy or seagrass linen paired alongside an antique mahogany dining table are commonly seen.




Eastern Coastal style flooring includes lots of natural wood and stone. The wood can be a lighter color, like a bleached cherry, ash, or pine, but it must look more formalized than rustic. Patterned (especially nautical-themed) ceramic tiles like Portuguese blue delft can be blended into a little bit of a statement as long as it’s used with restraint. Eastern Coastal flooring also features medallions like sundials and accent trim around the perimeter. For even more details on flooring, check the handy dandy resources in The Library!



In addition to the nautical-themed decor, Eastern Coastal also includes jute and seagrass rugs, formal art like portraits and maps, formal antiques, and Murano glass. Textiles in a coastal palette feature traditional patterns like gingham, checks, stripes, damasks, calico, and chintz.


Window Treatments

Window treatments tend to be traditional, like drapery with Roman shades underneath. You can opt for breezy white linens if you’re going for a true beachfront statement, but typically, they’ll feel more formal. 

By the way, DezignSpace has your back when it comes to the ins and outs of window treatments; check out Drama-free Drapery: Your Detailed Guide to Understanding Window Treatment Basics

What to AVOID When Styling an Eastern Coastal Space

The Eastern Coastal design style avoids the informal lack of color or any color outside the beach-inspired palette.


Is the Eastern Coastal design style totally your jam? If so, be sure to hop over to The Store to check out some Eastern Coastal goodies that we love! If you’re looking for more, check out these retailers: 



Check out another design style that might light you up!  We think you’ll love the Design Style Spotlight: Califonia Coastal.


3 thoughts on this post

  1. This is the best……

    Provides the answers before I can even formulate what I really want.

    East Coast v. West coast….I have lived both places…you offer great spot- on info., like having Lisa or one of the crew, just sitting by, willing to jump in and help with info and ideas!

    Best of luck…to you all and me!



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