Spring is here – and with it a multitude of coastal interiors ideas to throw out the old and invest in the new. But refreshing your look doesn’t mean spending a fortune, advises interiors writer CAROL BURNS.

Few things are as refreshing as the coast itself, perhaps that’s why so many of us choose the bare-bleached woods, stripes in whites and blues forever associated with ocean living.

In the winter, when the light is shorter and less intense, our interiors turn to features like the flickering of a real fire and the twinkling of Christmas decorations that seem to last longer each year! But with the change of the clocks and the lengthening days, our homes can look a bit tired.

So before you start scrolling those impossibly show homes for ideas, here’s a few simple tips to update your look.

Window dressings

In an ideal world, we would have two sets, one thick and cosy for winter and another light and airy set for the summer. You can’t underestimate the difference window dressings will make to your house.

If you can, take them down (spring is a great time to wash or air them anyway) and the room will be instantly awash in light. The downside of this is that the state of your décor will immediately reveal itself and a lick of paint – even the same colour – can make a huge difference.

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I’m a lover of throws at any time of year, and let’s face it even in the height of summer nights in Britain, it can be a bit chilly. Swap out your thick chunky wool and velvets for linens and cotton mixes.

Allow them to mingle on the ends of sofas and the backs of chairs and let them get as creased and crinkled as you can, it’s part of their natural texture. Keep the heavier textiles handy for lengthening those summer nights you want to enjoy outside.


Working for a bridal magazine, a boutique owner who favoured a black wedding dress in her widow, once explained its appeal: “Everyone is wowed by it and tries it on, but nobody ever buys it.” This can sum up high fashion when it comes to interior colours.

But if trend is important to you, it’s worth knowing that Pantone’s 2024 Colour of the Year is Fuzzy Peach. This tone will be found everywhere, and because of the international colour mix, you should be able to mix and match your accessories without fear they won’t quite match (in theory, anyway, so keep your receipt just in case!).

Always beware of refreshing your interiors to follow the crowd – high-fashion colours can age poorly (think of aubergine and avocado bathroom sets) so only use on-trend colours if you genuinely like them.

Blue is real staple for coastal interiors, alongside whites. But blue tones are seemingly infinite so have a wander through this season’s paint colours if you are keen to improve upon that Cornish-themed light blue and cream colour scheme, go for a soft powder blue. I vote for the wonders of the inky Prussian Blue, or even something with a grey tone (see my January issue column for some of the best blues).


I will just add a quick word for adding some new trinkets to your room. I’m a huge fan of the power of plants, and bringing a little of the outside in with a few well-placed palms or a ficus will power up your look. Go big for floor plants if you have the space, and move them around your room to find their perfect spot.

Darker colours will add zing to your interiors and the bright lights of spring are the perfect accompaniment to experimenting with darker tones that will also work during the winter months against that crackling fire.

Dark greens are classics for heavy rooms like libraries and dining rooms, but it can be tricky to pair up with. Dip your toes in green with a colour like sage. Collect plenty of paint and colour charts before embarking on a major project.

And if you do choose a strong colour, avoid pairing it with a glaring brilliant white. Softer tones of this interior staple will enhance your bold choice.

Happy decorating!