February 23, 2020
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How to turn coastal decor from beachy to cozy for Maine’s coldest season

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Dominic Dinardo, a photographer from Dracut, Mass., poses for a self-portrait in front of his tripod-mounted camera beneath The Pier at dawn, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

Mainers are proud of their seafaring heritage, so it’s no wonder that coastal decor is popular in the homes of those who live here. But inherent to the oceanside aesthetic are visions of balmy beach days, taunting us come the dead of winter (unbeknownst to the beach-combing tourists who have long since left).

When your home decor is inspired by the sea, there’s a fine line between “ocean chic” and “perpetual beach cottage.” To keep your style seasonless, Deb Dall, of Deb Dall Designs, Inc., and owner and president of Mainely Interiors based in the Greater Bangor Area, said that balance is key.

Dall loves incorporating antique accents into her nautical designs. She said that her go-to palette includes “colors representing elements of sand (tan), sky (blues), [and] sea (greens), combined with basic neutrals, soft whites & light greys.” plus a sprinkling of soft floral and striped patterns throughout. “Winters [in Maine] can seem long — actually, winters are long — so having a bit of summer in our surroundings can go a long way to alleviating the blues,” she said.

Coastal decor can be timeless and just nostalgic enough to keep you warm through the coldest months, if you know a few tricks of the trade.

Opt For Weathered Finishes

To capture a nautical vibe that’s relevant year-round, Dall suggests gravitating toward warm-toned wooden furniture that’s “aged and on the heavy side — [pieces] that remind us of a time when things were less disposable and used for practicality.” As opposed to opting for airier materials like wicker or rattan, the driftwood-like texture “will add a comfortable, well-worn feel and help balance out what may otherwise seem too light [for the winter] season.”

Cozy Up with Natural Textures

“Accessories are the easiest and least expensive way to shift a look from one season to the next,” Dall said. When the weather outside gets frightful, there’s nothing better than hunkering down and wrapping up in a blanket. Try cozying up your space with accent pillows and throws. Both stylish and practical, Dall said the key to keeping materials cohesive (and coastal) is to stick with natural fibers. “Organic materials such as cotton, hemp, wool, [and] rayon feel comfortable because they breathe and tend to have more texture,” Dall said.

Stash Beach Cottage Decor

Cottage-themed decor can be cute in the summer, but tiki lights and flip flop photos look awkward once it snows. “Put away the word signs, like ‘Life is a Beach,’” Dall said, admitting she’s generally not a fan, no matter what time of year. “I tend to stay away from things so kitschy. You see them everywhere, and quite frankly, they are not lasting [as timeless home decor].”

Invest in Art

Speaking of seasonless style, the designer said that changes in art can shift the feeling of a room. “Swapping art out or moving a piece from one location to another can help adapt your decor to the season and can make your place feel fresh and new,” she said. “Another suggestion I make to my clients and family and friends is to buy any form of original art — whatever speaks to them and fits their budget, but be sure to make it real. Visit local art walks, galleries, museums, gift shops [and] don’t be intimidated.” This, she said, is how people learn what art speaks to them.

And lucky for us, local talent abounds (and will seamlessly integrate into your sea-inspired style). “In the state of Maine, we are a mecca for some amazing artists and craftsmen and craftswomen,” Dall said.

 


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