What’s The Difference Between Hamptons And Coastal Style?


Want the beachy look for your home but not sure what style is for you? Are you boho chic, cool Hamptons, classic nautical or calm coastal? And what does all that even mean!

We’re going to dive right in and define what these interior design styles are all about, so it’s easier for you to shop the look you love.

What is Hamptons?

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You might be familiar with the Hamptons as the holiday haven of the rich and famous. We’re talkin’ the likes of the oh-so-dramatic and fictional Serena Van Der Woodsen. (And maybe the Wayans brothers in White Chicks – classic!)

The Hamptons is a seaside community on Long Island, characterised by beaches and hamlets, enormous houses, and garden parties thrown by New York’s elite. What a life!

Hamptons style is all about that grandeur, but in a clean and modern way. Think eggshell white walls, lofty ceilings and white-washed timber alongside plush buttoned upholstery and exquisite chandeliers… In other words: just divine.

It’s a style encapsulating the comfort of a beach house, but dolled up with luxury finishes. It’s the best of both worlds. If you want to emphasise the ‘chic’ in coastal chic, go for the Hamptons look.

What is Coastal?

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Coastal is such a general term. It describes everything we love about sunny summer days and doesn’t care if you trail sand through the house. Coastal is made for living in. Coastal is chill.

It’s is the relaxed, boho-hippie little sister of Hamptons style. Unlike Hamptons, coastal is more of a feeling than just a style inspired by place.

Coastal style means a simple colour palette working with sand and sea hues, natural textures like shell, rope and rattan, and the raw, un-finished charm of reclaimed timber.

A little nautical-navy blue, a little white-washed wood… Coastal is as beachy as you want it to be! It’s flexible and contemporary, allowing for a lot more individual personality than classic Hamptons.

3 Style Tips for a Hamptons Home

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If the south-island elegance of the Hamptons is calling your name, follow these essential tips:

1. Paint it white

Start with a pure white or off-white base and build from there. Hamptons style is all about clean neutrals, and layering with lighter tones and shades. Don’t be afraid to go white-on-white with Hamptons!

2. Work with natural texture

Just because it’s luxe, doesn’t mean Hamptons should forgo texture and charm. Add choice pieces that showcase natural, coastal appeal: jute rugs, linen throws, and buttoned cushions are ideal for bringing a softer touch to your space.

3. Introduce upholstered pieces

Go glamorous in your furniture staples, such as sofas and armchairs or your bedhead. Upholstery with button-back style is classic and on-trend with Hamptons style; perfect for elevating the everyday coastal look.

3 Style Tips for a Coastal Home

Featured: Suyra Natural Dining Chair (Set of 2) from Satara, Ninette Bench, Natural from Iniko, Axel Glass Dining Table from Zanui, Sea Breeze Tortuga Handcrafted Flatweave Rug, Navy from Rug Culture, and Calm Ocean Framed Print from Home & Abode. Shop dining furniture online at Zanui.

Create a cool, calm home haven for yourself with these quick tips for a contemporary coastal look:

1. Balance your blues

Typical coastal style means a palette of blues, from deep navy shades to marine tones and pops of aqua or powder blue. But don’t go over the top. Keep it natural. (See our guide to natural beach colours here.)

2. Collect unique décor accents

Shells and tumbleweeds can give natural personality to your décor. Take a stroll along the beach and see what beauties you can find! For larger furniture, opt for reclaimed timbers for one-of-a-kind charm.

3. Let in natural light

Throw back the curtains and open the windows! The coastal life is made to be lived fully so embrace the freshness of the outside world. Adding string lights or candles also add boho-bonfire ambience when the sun goes down.

Kyra Thomsen is a writer and editor from Sydney, NSW. She has experience in copywriting, blogging, journalism, and social media. After completing two degrees in Creative Writing and English Literature in 2013 she began work with the content team at Zanui. Kyra was the winner of the 2012 Questions Writing Prize and her work has been published in print and online for numerous sources, including Writer's Edit, Seizure, and Fairfax Media among others.