Photo: This bohemian bedroom is filled with Native American influences. Credit: Shutterstock
If you’re looking for a way to decorate a shore house, or you simply want to switch up your decor for the summer, you could seriously consider Boho Beach Hut style. It’s also known as Australian Coastal style, with some slight variations. In Australia, there are little beach huts where surfers are known to live so they can wake up with the sunrise to catch the best waves. They have a simple, minimalist life, and the objects they collect often represent their travels. The style was made famous in America by the Australian actress Margo Robbie’s video interview with Vogue, where we got to see her beach hut style home in Los Angeles. If you have fallen in love with the style as much as we have, here are 30 tips on how you can achieve the same look in your home.
30. Light Wooden Floors
When surfers come in from the beach, they will track in sand and moisture nearly every day. This kind of lifestyle and carpeting simple does not mix. Since most of these huts were made from wood anyway, almost every single Australian Coastal home has hardwood floors. Most of them are a very light shade, which helps to brighten the room. They are easy to sweep up sandy or mop up salt water, and the light color helps to hide any grains that may be hiding.
If you don’t already have hardwood floors in your home, a cheaper alternative is to install faux vinyl wood flooring. Amazon sells the under-padding much cheaper than what you can find at most hardware stores. But it’s best to buy your flooring boxes in-person rather than getting them shipped, just to be sure that nothing breaks in transit.
Since Boho Beach style has light color, woods, rattan, and vintage elements blended together, it only makes sense to get a rattan light fixture. These are difficult to come by in places like Home Depot, and you might find one in Target if you’re lucky. Sometimes, you might even find one in a thrift store. Rattan was very popular back in the 1970’s, especially in seaside towns. So if you have the ability to travel to a thrift shop down the shore, it might be worth a trip.
But if you want to get exactly the right look, you are most likely going to have to order them online, or find a specialty home decor warehouse near you. Depending on the style, these can be around $100 each. If you would rather skip the rattan, a great alternative would be modern industrial light fixtures, which seem to blend in very well with the style.
One of the most trendy plants right now is the fiddle fig. These trees have large, round leaves, and it can grow up to 6 feet tall. You can buy them at garden centers like Home Depot and Lowes for only $20 each. The only problem is that they take a long time to grow, and you need to educate yourself on how to properly care for them. If you get a live fiddle fig, we recommend watching video tutorials on how to care for one. If you want one that is fully grown, you will pay a bit more than just $20.
For most people, a fake fiddle fig tree might be better, since it won’t need time to grow. You never have to plant it or worry about how much sunlight it’s getting. The only downside is that you will need to pay around $150. Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper fame has a collection called Hearth and Hand at Target, and she regularly incorporates these faux trees into her spring collections. You may also be able to find them at a discount at Hobby Lobby or Home Goods.
Most beach huts don’t have insulation, since Australia is warm all year long. But no one likes to live inside of a brown wooden box. So all of the shiplap has either been painted white or a light pastel, which echoes the traditions passed down from English culture. Even if you live in a normal house, you can still achieve the shiplap look with white wood wall panels. Depending on the size of your space, this could be a very expensive job. So some people have opted just to do one accent wall in shiplap, while the rest of their home is regular drywall.
If you cannot afford to install shiplap in your home, you can just stick with drywall, and paint the walls either white or a light cream color. Lighter colors help a room feel arm and sunny, even on a darker day. And dark colors do the total opposite. They make you feel dark, snug, and cozy.
Earlier on this list, we already mentioned rattan chandeliers. Of course, you should also try to find rattan furniture to match. This was very popular back in the 1960’s and 70’s, and has since gone out of style in most stores. Sometimes, you might see pieces pop up at places that sell bohemian pieces like Anthropologie, but they are usually very expensive. If you’re lucky, you can find these pieces at affordable prices at thrift stores, Home Goods, on Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
Rattan furniture is sturdy, and tends to last a very long time. Once you have these pieces, you will probably hold onto them for decades, so long as you still want your home to have an Australian coastal vibe. Even if you decide to change your look later on, these pieces look really great as outdoor furniture. Just make sure they are protected under a porch or awning.
Everyone has a “dream kitchen” in their mind, and very few people will actually do a total makeover like what you see on Fixer Upper. But if you were to create a boho beach hut kitchen from scratch, it would be all white. We already mentioned how the shiplap walls were painted white, and that carried through the kitchen. Usually, these small beach huts had tiny kitchens, so you needed as much help as you can get to feel large, bright, and open in a cramped space.
When you watch the 73 Questions With Margo Robbie video, her kitchen is small, but the fact that it’s white helps to make it feel much bigger than it actually is. Her appliances are white and silver, and her ceramics are white and blue. It looks clean, sophisticated, and chic.
If you’re going to live by the ocean, it only makes sense to have nautical decor. You can choose whatever decor you like. At stores like Home Goods and At Home, you should be able to find nautical decor all year long, or wait until the summertime to find it in places like Walmart and Target. And if you own a house by the sea, you might already have a few items to use in order to complete the look.
However, if you’re not careful, too much nautical decor can make a place look really tacky. We recommend finding pieces of art that reflect the ocean, but aren’t so in-your-face. For example, you could have a large conch shell sitting on top of a stack of coffee table books, or a coral reef bowl sitting on top of a dresser. Or, you might be able to keep what you already have, and just reduce the number of items you have in your home. Remember that clutter never looks good, and that objects should be displayed tastefully.
Macrame is the process of tying knots in cords in order to create works of art. You can make all kinds of shapes and sizes, including hanging plant holders, as well as intricate artwork for your wall. This was super popular back in the 1960’s and 70’s, and it has since made a comeback in bohemian decor.
Since these need to be handmade, they can be bought online from Etsy, or you can buy a starter kit online and try to make them yourself. If you love crafting, this can be a great way to have a hands-on experience and feel proud that you made something for your home. There are loads of YouTube videos online that will help you go through tutorials on how to make them.
Australia’s Bondi Beach is famous for surfing, and of course, these beach huts were mainly inhabited by surfers. So it only makes sense to have some sort of artwork in your home that pays homage to surf culture. During the summer, it should be easy to find surfing inspired at work in most decor stores like Home Goods. Or, you could search Etsy for surfing prints that inspire you.
Remember that your home doesn’t have to be a total replication of a surf hut, so you don’t have to go overboard on the artwork. But having at least a little bit of a nod to the culture should be enough to make the look complete. If you are looking for more inspiration, one of the best books on the style is called Surf Shack: Laid-Back Living by the Water.
There is a timeless elegance about black and white photographs. No matter what the decor is in your home, they will instantly help to make it look more sophisticated. This is especially true when they are blown up to the size of a poster, and used as one of the main pieces of artwork in a room or gallery wall. Your home is your canvas, and it’s your opportunity to show your guests what matters to you.
Maybe it’s a suave black and white poster of James Bond, or a famous photo from an award-winning photographer. You could even visit the local historical society to see if there are any old photos from the area. You might be shocked to see just how different the town looked a hundred years ago. It could even be as simple as turning a picture of your kids black and white on Photoshop. If you want to do this on a budget, you can take your photos to Walmart, and they will print any size poster that you want.
Even if you don’t know how to surf, having a bright and colorful surfboard in the corner of the room can serve as a piece of art in a coastal home. If you live anywhere near a Ron Jon’s Surf Shop location, that’s a great place to go find a surfboard for an affordable price. Keep in mind that surfboards are normally expensive, but you should also be able to find them used on Craigslist.
If you’re going to go through the trouble of buying a surfboard, you should consider taking lessons. They are not too expensive, and people of any age can learn how to surf. It can be a great workout, and when people ask if you actually surf, you can say “yes!”
Surfers love to sit around a campfire on the beach and play guitar. It’s a great opportunity to relax, listen to beautiful music, and have a nice conversation over a beer. Ukeleles are also popular in beach culture, especially in Hawaii. So if you have either of those instruments already, you will want to display them in your home.
If you don’t know how to play an instrument, you could still buy a cheap guitar of ukelele online if you just want to have it as a piece of decor. Sure, some of your friends might call you out for being a poser. But it really can tie a room together.
Most Australian people go on vacation to Bali at least once in their life, because it is so close to their country. It’s also an incredibly affordable place to go. So if you can find anything that is Bali inspired, it will fit right in to a boho beach shack home. Ever see the movie Eat, Pray, Love? Well Bali is one of the places where Elizabeth Gilbert went to find herself. It’s a dreamy, beachy, beautiful place to find your zen.
Your Balinese inspiration might be a statue of Buddha, floral patterned pillows, elephant statues, and dharma carved wall panelings or headboards. If you haven’t been to Bali yourself, maybe watch some YouTube vlogs of other people traveling there in order to get a feel for the vibe you are looking for.
Sea glass are pieces of broken glass that have been tossed in the sand and ocean water for so long, they become smooth. Sometimes, they even look like little blue pebbles. These are beautiful, and a lot of people turn them into jewelry or wind chimes.
Blue bottles are also popular in coastal homes. Depending on where you go, people will find old apothecary bottles that were once buried in the ground. (Years before trash collection existed.) These bottles sometimes turn blue with age, and they also look beautiful on top of a dresser.
A bohemian lifestyle is usually reflective of someone who doesn’t have a lot of money, but they still have great style. This is why it’s a great idea to go to a thrift store, antique mall, or flea market to see if you can find something vintage to add to your home. Earlier we mentioned how the rattan furniture was popular in the 1960’s and 70’s. So if you could find something that is reminiscent of hippie culture, that should fit into your beachy home.
If you can’t find anything that suits your taste locally, check out Etsy. They have handmade artwork from artisans around the world, as well as vintage finds that have been hand-selected by people who have amazing taste. If you already have a Pinterest board, you might be able to search for individual items that sparked your curiosity.
Earlier on this list, we already mentioned how you could incorporate macrame plant hangings into your home. Even if you don’t have the time or money to create these, it would still look nice if you had hanging plants in a bohemian style home. Plants help to clean the air, and they have been known to make people feel happier in their living space. They also add a pop of color to the home, especially if you are following the suggestion to have white walls.
If you travel a lot, or you are afraid that your plants will die, you can always buy faux plants that will last forever. Real plants are always a lot cheaper to buy at your local garden center. But if you have no experience caring for plants, please look up a YouTube video online. Plants are all unique, and they need different amounts of water and sunlight. As long as you find out what every plant needs, they should live a long and healthy life.
If you are planning to decorate your home like a hippie, it only makes sense to incorporate Mandalas and Sacred Geometry into your home. Mandalas are symbols that are used in Buddhism and Hinduism, while “sacred geometry” can be found since ancient times all over the world. The patterns have become more well-known in modern spiritual practices. These are very beautiful, and can often be found as wooden plaques and artwork.
But no matter what shape or size you find, it all means the same thing. It represents the universe as a whole, and the fact that everything is connected to one another. These are peaceful symbols that are meant to encourage love and acceptance of all living things. So no matter what religion you believe in, we can all agree that we need more love in the world.
In England and France, you will find a lot of taxidermy in people’s homes. In Australia, the original European settlers were from the UK. But in such a hot climate, people weren’t able to hold onto entire taxidermy animals so easily. Collecting skulls and antlers became more popular, just like the old west in the United States.
Here in the US, you might not see bones hanging on the walls of a seaside home. We usually associate that with western culture. But somehow, it actually does look really good together mixed with the bohemian flare of a surf shack. Just like everything else in the home, it is a natural element that brings out the color scheme of the other decor.
Every comfortably decorated home needs some cute throw pillows to go on your couch and bed. Bohemian style includes a lot of embroidery, and it wouldn’t hurt to add some tassels, too. Anthropologie has a lot of these embroidered pillows, but they can be very expensive. The Opal House line at Target usually comes out with really cute pillows, and you can try to find some at Marshalls and Home Goods.
Since a lot of the colors in a beach shack home are very white, throw pillows can be an opportunity to add a pop of color into the space. Or, you could choose to continue with the white and creamy muted colors.
We have mentioned more than once that you will want a lot of white in your seaside home. However, if you want a bit of color on your walls, you should probably go for blue or sea foam green. These obviously remind us of the ocean, and they should fit in with a lot of the other pieces of decor that you are buying for the home.
Remember that dark or bright colors usually looks strange or off-putting mixed with the light bohemian vibes. So if you do choose to paint in blue and green, make sure you are choosing very light pastel paint colors. The muted tones will help to add to the softness that you are trying to achieve in a relaxing atmosphere.
If you have a real beach house, you will probably want to incorporate some of your local flare into the home. After all, a house in Nantucket is very different than a house in Malibu. Depending on where you live, there is probably a signature style that you have seen that you totally fall in love with. A great book for inspiration is The Seaside House: Living on the Water.
You can also buy some artwork that will represent your town. These could be little tourist signs bought from a local gift shop, a shadow box frame collection of beach tags from over the years, or locally made wares. If you have a local artist co-op in the area, they are likely to have created pieces that you can only find in that local area. Even small trinkets like a Hawaiian hula dancer doll can help to represent your local area.
Tying in with the 1960’s inspiration, it would be wise to find mid century modern furniture. You should be able to find pieces made out of light wood that will match the floors and any rattan pieces you may have purchased. Since mid century modern has come back into style, you may be able to find some brand new furniture that has been inspired by the decade. Bonus points if you can find furniture that is lighter, because it will match your floors and the rest of the decor.
Search through local thrift shops, yard sales, and Craigslist if you want to find authentic mid century modern pieces on a budget. If you have more money to spare, you shouldn’t have any problem finding gorgeous pieces on Etsy and eBay. Unlike the furniture you buy from somewhere like Ikea, these pieces are built to last a very long time. So you can consider this an investment in your home. It may even be passed down to your future children.
We already mentioned incorporating Balinese decor into a home. The idea of a bohemian is that they have the freedom to travel the world whenever they like. So this is why we sometimes see Moroccan lanterns in boho decor. This fits in nicely with a beach house too, and could potentially serve as lighting on a porch, or made a bedroom feel cozy and romantic.
Moroccan lanterns are hard to find out in the wild. Even when a shop does put them in stock, they are bought up very quickly. You will most likely have to find them online, or go to a wholesale interior design warehouse that specializes in light fixtures from around the world.
The original surf shacks were not insulated, because they were meant to sit on the beaches of the warm climates of Australia. At night, it can still get chilly, even in the warmer months. Without a proper HVAC system or a chimney, these tiny houses need wood burning stoves to make them warm and toasty. Certain wood stoves, like the vintage Malm fireplaces can tie in with the vintage 1960’s vibes, if that is what you are going for.
Or, you could find a black wood burning stove somewhere like Home Depot or Lowes for a few hundred dollars. They even make fake wood burning stoves if you don’t like the idea of chopping wood and sweeping up ashes.
In a bohemian home, they have a lot of layered fabrics and textures to make things more interesting. Instead of plain blankets, why not make it fluffy? Same with the throw rugs and pillows. Vegans out there don’t have to worry, because there are plenty of faux fur rugs out there. As an added bonus, your dogs and cats are likely to fall in love with these fuzzy blankets.
The only downside to these types of products is that they might be difficult to clean. You may need to instill a “no shoes” rule in your house if you want to keep these in good condition. And look up a video on how to properly clean a fur rug, because throwing it in the washing machine could spell out disaster.
Since we have already established that bohemian homes usually have a vintage vibe, you might want to do the same with your kitchen appliances. Years ago, appliances were made to last a very long time. But companies realized they could profit by building machines that broke down more easily. So in a lot of cases, vintage appliances are actually better, and they are much more stylish.
The British appliance company Smeg has been around since the 1950’s, and they still have the same retro style that they did decades ago. They also come in pastel colors, which fits perfectly with the color scheme of a beach shack home. They are so well-made, that their products last a lifetime. Even though they are expensive, you can feel good knowing that they should be worth your investment. You may even be able to find some vintage appliances at your local thrift shop that still work.
People love going to the beach because it’s a place where you can relax and listen to the ocean waves. So if you have a summer home with a back yard or porch, why not add a hammock? Together with a wind chime, you can have one of the most relaxing naps of your life. Or, you can lay out in the sun with a good book. Friends and family will be excited to sit on the hammock every time they come over.
Even if you don’t actually have a shore house in a warm climate, you could still buy an indoor hammock. Sometimes, designers have been able to incorporate a macrame hammock beautifully indoors. However, be careful not to let this overcrowd a small living space.
One of the key elements to the bohemian style is that there are a lot of natural materials being used throughout the home. So, when it comes to choosing couches and chairs, it would only make sense to find leather pieces. If you want to continue on with the midcentury modern flare, you could splash out with an Eames chair. Or, you could go to a local antique flea market to see what you can find.
If you plan to get real leather seating, make sure you also buy leather conditioner and cleaner. We recommend using the Leather Rescue brand. This will help you keep it looking supple for a long time. And if you find a piece at the thrift store that has been scuffed up, chances are that you could actually restore it with the cleaners and some leather dye.
Earlier on this list, we mentioned how a lot of young Australian people will travel to Bali. Here in the United States, the border countries we can drive to are Mexico and Canada. So it only makes sense that our bohemian styled homes are going to have Mexican and Native American influences.
Both cultures have their own unique patterns and styles. Mexico is famous for their gorgeous floral embroidery, while Native Americans have patterned blankets and fabrics that could be used for rugs or throws. You can find these handmade products on Etsy. If at all possible, support your local tribes people by visiting a reservation gift shop instead of buying products that are ripping off of their culture.
Last and not least is a little decor item that you will see in a lot of lake houses and shore homes. Anyone who uses a row boat will need to use oars. While some are made of plastic, many people use vintage wooden oars as pieces of decor. These are oars that have been painted with geometric shapes. Some people even write out the name of their family, and they will use it as a wall hanging. You can buy plain unfinished wooden oars online, or at a craft store.
Before you get started, scope out some images on Pinterest to find a style of oar you like. Once they are painted, make sure you spray them with a sealant to ensure that they will last for years to come.