You've lucked into the perfect condo on the beach and are the envy of all your friends. Before you can invite them over to enjoy the ocean view, however, you have to figure out how to decorate your new place without breaking the bank. You can have a classy, comfortable beach-theme place by using "found" objects, inexpensive furniture pieces and colorful pieces of fabric.
Other People's Trash ...
Search thrift shops and consignment stores for one or two key pieces of furniture to serve as focal points for your rooms. Garage sales in upscale neighborhoods can also be good sources of high-quality, gently used items. Buy an old frame and glue seashells or starfish to the borders for an interesting focal piece for a bedroom wall. Look at yard sales or surplus stores for an old ship's lantern you can transform into a hall or bathroom light or an old Navy locker to refinish for use as a coffee table.
One of the most frugal ways to decorate a room is with a new coat of paint. A couple of $30 cans of paint can completely transform a dark room into an airy, fresh space. If you can't afford to do the whole room, consider stenciling seashells, seagulls or starfish around the room close to the ceiling. Even painting just one wall in a living or dining room can change the mood and give it a new look. Use a light, bright palette to evoke the feel of the ocean: cool blues, seafoam green, golden beige or soft coral all help bring the beach theme indoors. If you're artistically inclined, paint a faux window on one wall with a painted beach view or a mural of an ocean sunset.
Fun With Fabric
Fancy window treatments can be expensive, but you can create a beach-side feeling with inexpensive bamboo window shades. Use plain shades on windows or in open doorways, or paint one with a beach vista and hang it on a plain wall. Use soft throws with wavy or seashell patterns to dress up plain couches or easy chairs. Stitch up covers for simple seat cushions or throw pillows in coordinating fabrics to highlight your favorite ocean shades, sunset colors or seashell hues. Drape or tie a piece of the same cloth over a plain lampshade. Use sailcloth as the base of a painted rug or to recover an old easy chair and matching throw pillows for the couch.
Use natural accents to provide the finishing touch to your beach condo's decor. Jute or sisal throw rugs are good, inexpensive choices to break up expanses of floor. Hang a mirror across from the ocean view window to capture a little hint of nature indoors. Select a few large, interesting seashells to arrange on an end table and gather your collection of sea glass, coral or colorful shells in a large glass bowl for the coffee table. Arrange a few of your own favorite beach view photographs in varying sizes in coordinating frames over the back of the sofa or in the bedroom.
As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.