Interior design tips for coastal holiday cottages holiday cottages

Interior design tips for coastal holiday cottages

Elianne 02 March 2018

A well-designed holiday cottage on the Yorkshire Coast will always be popular. After all, who doesn’t love a family holiday or a romantic getaway to the seaside? Running a subtle seaside theme through your property will help establish it as a coastal cottage and reflect its proximity to the sea the moment that customers first lay eyes on your advertising photos.

There are several design decisions you can make which will give your holiday cottage a seaside feel without becoming overwhelmingly nautically themed. 

Here are our interior design tips for coastal holiday cottages.

1. Play it cool…

Owner tips for coastal holiday cottages

This light room at The Retreat in Sandsend is the epitome of seaside chic.

Light and bright interiors work really well in coastal properties. White clapboard walls and hues of blue and grey can all add to the seaside feel of a holiday cottage on the coast. A good way to decide on a light colour palette is to take inspiration from photos of pristine white beaches and blue skies. Nature has a way of compiling beautifully complementary colour schemes which have a calming effect when transferred into the design of your home.

The living room at Lilly's Cottage in Robin Hoods Bay combines coastal blues and whites

Lilly’s Cottage in Robin Hood's Bay expertly combines blues and whites for a coastal look and feel. The colour of the mats, wood flooring and heavy beams subtly reflect the sand in a natural seaside environment, helping to bring the outside in.

It is important, however, to avoid going overboard with stripes and nautical themed decor, or you could end up with a look that is cliched rather than chic.

The School house is a dog-friendly holiday home in Sandsend

We love the clapboard walls at The School House in Sandsend. Again, the sandy-coloured furniture alludes to the beach, while the beautiful landscape photography in muted tones gives visitors a real feeling of being near the sea. The flooring is reminiscent of a beach hut or weathered seaside boardwalks without being too ostentatious - it's all about subtle nods to the seaside without being tacky. 

2. Keep it cosy…

While light and bright can really add to the seaside feel, it is important to remember that you’ll need bookings during the winter period too.

Feet in front of woodburning fire

That means making sure people can get cosy and warm inside when the weather is cooler outside. The way your property is presented should enable people to feel that they can live an outdoor lifestyle in the summer, while setting the scene for cosy evenings in during the winter months.

Cosy lounge setting

This welcoming lounge belongs to Wykewood in Robin Hood's Bay. Its distinguishing feature is the wood burner which is a very popular element; many people actively search for properties with wood burners when booking their holiday. Dressing your property with throws, blankets and cushions adds warmth and enables people to picture themselves snuggled up out of the cold. Make sure that your fire is lit in the photographs, it gives the property a lived-in feel and is infinitely more inviting than a dark hearth. 

Little Pearl is a romantic holiday cottage in Robin Hoods Bay

Cushions and a roaring log fire keep things cosy at Little Pearl in Robin Hood's Bay. Notice that the colour scheme doesn't have to adhere to the typical nautical blue. The purple cushions and chaise longue give this property a stylish air, while the real wood, daffodils and spiral stems (to the right) bring a little nature inside. The clock on the wall is reminiscent of a compass, a subtle hint at the property's coastal location. The binoculars on the windowsill are a nice touch too, as they allude to a view beyond. 

For a slightly more overt seaside look, go for fabrics with stripes or a nautical theme. If used sparingly, they can create a classic coastal atmosphere. Rock Lobster, below, reflects its name and celebrates its obvious proximity to the sea with these tasteful printed cushions.

Lobster cushions in front of window

3. Kids welcome…

The child-friendly Vale View is a holiday home in Robin Hoods Bay

Running the coastal theme through the bedrooms, particularly the children's rooms, creates harmony within the home and will help guests feel the holiday vibes even when they're heading up to bed. 

The stripes and anchors of this twin bedroom at Vale View are a nice, inexpensive way of accessorising a room.

Coastal holidays often attract families and, if you have a suitably-sized property, making one or two of the bedrooms into twin rooms is a big bonus. Consider zip-and-link beds which can be made into doubles if required. They are comfortable and the flexibility that they provide makes your property attractive to both families and groups of couples holidaying together. 

Lenwood is a child-friendly holiday cottage in Robin Hoods Bay

We love the fun design of this room at Lenwood and there’s an extra day bed that children can use, making it even more functional and appealing to families. The seaside theme here is not as overt as in other properties, yet the whale and seagulls on the wall are a quirky suggestion of its coastal location.

Providing useful items like buckets and spades for little ones will go down a treat, especially as families travel with a notorious amount of luggage, so extras like these are often left at home.

Book a family-friendly holiday cottage to the Yorkshire Coast


4. Add some character….

Colourful dining room setting

When you're decorating your holiday home, plain and pedestrian should not feature in the design brief. Holidays are all about fun and spontaneity and nothing shouts a good time more than splashes of colour and characterful touches here and there. Be discerning though, and hold back a little if your wild side is fighting to be let loose. A sprinkling of rainbow cushions within a light and bright room, or a dainty string of colourful bunting are much more attractive than a random selection of mismatched items reminiscent of a jumble sale. 

Take Lenwood above: playful splashes of colour in the form of the blue door, chairs, bunting and soft furnishings are more effective than daubing the walls with crazy colours. 

Another way to give character to a property is to retain its original features where appropriate. An old stove, rustic fireplace, or stone floor are attractive reminders of a property's long past, and help it feel cosy and homely.

Many properties on the Yorkshire Coast have lots of history, and visitors love to discover how things have changed. Displaying black and white photos featuring the cottage or the local area is a good way of showing some personality and connecting your guests with the property's past.

Millbrook is a characterful holiday cottage in Robin Hoods Bay


5. Shop locally

When you are searching for decorative pieces for your holiday home, shopping local is definitely the way forward. Not only will you be contributing to the local economy and supporting independent businesses, but you're also sure to find some unique items to add character to your property. 

Whether it’s artwork, antiques or table lamps, where better to find items that embody the coast than at the coast?

Local artisans often use driftwood or locally-sourced materials to create artworks and homewares, which is a nice way to connect your visitors to nature and the coast. 

The Yorkshire Coast is peppered with independent shops which are a treasure trove for interior designers. Places to try include Berties of Bay in Robin Hood's Bay, LillianDaph in Saltburn and Eskdale Antiques in Sleights. There’s also a variety of antique and collectable shops in Whitby old town.

Interesting copper lamp

We love this stylish lamp at Rock Lobster.

6. Dog-friendly or not dog-friendly

Dog sat in the sun outside on a bench

Whether to go dog-friendly is a decision that all cottage owners need to make. On the Yorkshire Coast, in particular, there is a big demand for dog-friendly holiday cottages. Many beaches, cafes and pubs will allow dogs and people are looking for somewhere they can stay with their whole family, including their four-legged friend.

Wooden floors at The School House Sandsend are perfect for muddy paws!

It is important to consider your canine visitors when designing your property. Wooden floors at The School House Sandsend are perfect for muddy paws!

Washable floors are a must for a dog-friendly property and floorboards or whitewashed floors can be very seaside chic too! It's a great idea to leave an easily accessible vacuum cleaner, mop and dustpan and brush for guests to use to keep the cottage looking spick and span throughout their stay.

7. Make the most of outside space…

Enjoy sitting out on your own terrace, elevated to the rear of the cottage.

It’s not always possible to have outside space on the coast – especially in traditional fishing villages like Robin Hood's Bay. Often, people are willing to compromise on outside space if proximity to the sea is important to them. However, if you do have a patio or garden, no matter how small it is, you can make the most of it with potted shrubs and seating. For example at Little Pearl above, a small table and chairs to eat breakfast on or have a glass of wine in the evening makes the little terrace usable and inviting. 

Sit out in the beautiful garden at The Retreat in Sandsend

The large garden at The Retreat in Sandsend has different areas and sections. If you're a keen gardener or you employ someone to keep things neat, you can use plants, patios and borders to create outside spaces which are as usable as the inside during the summer.

Big gardens can be a real selling point for a property so you can make a true feature of this. If you wish to welcome guests with dogs, you will appeal much more if you are able to enclose your garden so dogs and children can play safely with no escape routes! Providing a BBQ and outdoor furniture for use in the summer, particularly near the sea, helps guests make the most of all the space available to them and dining alfresco will make their holiday even more memorable. You can even keep the coastal theme going in the garden, with old anchors, ships wheels, ropes and chains dotted around (in moderation!).

We hope these tips have given you some inspiration for your coastal holiday cottage. For even more inspiration, browse our range of Yorkshire Coast holiday cottages.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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