I Need Coastal Home Painting Ideas!

by Teena

Current paint color and decor

Current paint color and decor


I found your website while searching for ideas to make my home have a more coastal feeling.

I am really stuck on paint. I have a cape cod home that has an open floor plan — foyer, living room, dining room and kitchen. I want to paint the downstairs to more resemble a Maine/coastal cottage type thing.

When I look at pictures of homes and think of the homes that we stayed at in Maine — the walls are always white, but I just can’t get the right shade. Maybe a creamy white?

And I want to paint all the stained woodwork. Maybe do that in a darker shade, or even a grayish white??? Is it ok to paint woodwork another color than white?

Can’t afford to do the kitchen cabinets — but I would redo the countertop in black, and add stainless steel pulls to the cabinets. New drapes and some accent pillows. If I would get a new couch — think Pottery Barn canvas.

Just really need some advice on the color of the walls/woodwork.

Any ideas/suggestions?


Teena, you are right - Maine cottages and coastal homes usually have white walls. But white is not always the best or only way to achieve the same look!

For example, a true white is not going to work in your home. First, you don't get enough natural light to make it look fresh and clean. Second, your finishes and decor are all earth-tones, and next to them your white walls will just look like primer.

At the same time, a creamy white will clash with your pinky beige carpet.

So what you need here is a greige - a pale warm neutral that will give you the look of white without actually being one.

Now as far as painting woodwork a darker color than the walls, you absolutely can do it - if you have a reason to.

In your case, a good reason to use a deeper color on the trim would be to help create a more casual, laid-back atmosphere, and define the windows without having to use curtains or drapes (also part of the coastal look).

Here's the color combination I have in mind:

The walls are 6105 Divine White - which is a soft, smokey greige that will look like white (only better!) in your home (and you can even use it on the ceilings).

The woodwork is 6106 Kilim Beige - a coordinating neutral with just the right amount of contrast for a coastal look and feel.

Both colors are from Sherwin Williams, and both have a touch of pink to them to look right with your carpeting.

But paint color is only half the job done - the rest is in decorating.

Right now you have too much brown and too much contrast going on in the decor, and coastal homes are mostly light and blended.

For accents, think grays, faded foam greens, blues and off-whites, and of course some natural textures and fibers to "anchor" the theme.

P.S. And I think you can definitely afford to do your kitchen cabinets - if you just paint, rather than replace them. If your cabinets are in a good shape structurally, no one will be the wiser!

Leave a Comment:

Nice demo!
by: JJ

It's amazing how a change in color can change the atmosphere. Nice demonstration !

Maine in the desert?
by: Lev

Ah, it's good to know that for a more Maine cottage style, it needs to be a shade of white. Personally, I'd love to transport that more coastal style out to the desert if possible. It'd be great to find residential painters in my area who can help carry out my vision.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Paint Colors Critique.

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets