The sound of crashing waves, the faraway cries of seagulls, the gentle ocean breeze—yep, it’s official: Beach houses are the ultimate way to relax and unwind. The only thing that can possibly ruin your little slice of paradise? A bad decorating job. Perhaps you made some poor interior design decisions after one too many mojitos (we’ve all been there). Or maybe you’re just trying to undo the design damage made by the previous owner, who took the carefree attitude of seaside living a little too far.

No matter what the reason behind your sad-looking beach house, it’s time to give it a much-needed makeover for the warm weather ahead. Here’s our best beach house redecorating tips to get your seaside abode into shipshape like a true design pro.

1-2 Sea Change: 8 Beach House Redecorating Tips

  1. Go Easy on the Beach Décor

Yes, your home is by the sea, and yes, it’s called a “beach house.” That doesn’t mean you need to decorate everything in fishnet, sea shells or anything else that could be found washed up on the beach. The only excuse for having that many fishnets in your home is if you’re using them to catch a tasty meal. In which case, feel free to ignore this advice and kindly invite us over for dinner.

If you want to incorporate coastal style into your home, do it in a tasteful way (read: Subtle). For instance, you could decorate one of your bedrooms with coastal bedding and complete the look with a few coastal throw pillows to add some nautical vibes to the space. Just a kiss of coastal goodness is all you need to make your home feel more authentic and less like a beach souvenir shop.

  1. Take Inspiration from Nature

Want to give your beach house a touch of local flavor? Invite the outside into your home. Not in the literal sense, of course (seagulls have terrible table manners), but through ocean-inspired artwork and natural elements you might find outside.

Incorporating natural elements into your home is the perfect way to give your seaside abode an extra “oomph” of coastal appeal without going overboard. To put this tip into action, start looking for furniture made from weathered wood. Use bleached natural weave rugs to add visual interest to a space. Decorate a table with jugs made from sea glass. These are all easy ways to elevate your beach house by giving it some local personality.

2-2 Sea Change: 8 Beach House Redecorating Tips

  1. Don’t Be So Blue

We know classic blue is Pantone’s color of the year, but all-blue everything in a beach house is boring and overdone. Sorry, but someone had to say it! Blue walls, blue rugs, blue windows, blue chairs—it makes us feel like we’re trapped in a bad ’90s song.

If you’re doing a head-to-toe makeover in your beach house, choose a color palette with a few bold accents to help balance out the blue. For example, bright colors such as orange, coral and chartreuse (a lime greenish hue) will instantly liven up a space and contrast beautifully against navy and sky blue.

  1. Lighten Up the Living Room

You’d be hard-pressed to find a beach house with a dark living room. Beach houses are beloved for their kick-off-your-shoes-and-stay-awhile vibes, and an airy living room that makes use of natural light is the ultimate welcoming space for friends and family.

The easiest way to achieve a light and airy living room? Painting your walls in light colors with underlying cool tones that reflect natural light into the space. To keep from making your living room appear too sterile, look for ways to incorporate unique textures. One of our favorite ways to warm up a beach house? Using grasscloth to give a room elegant and subtle interest.

  1. Slipcovers Are Your Friend

We’ve all been there before. You find a gorgeous white couch or armchair that is absolutely perfect for your beach house. Excitedly, you put it in your living room—sans slip cover—because it will be totally fine without protection, right? (Narrator: It was not fine.)

Sandy kids, dirty dogs and oily sunscreen are a constant threat to high-quality beach house furniture. If you don’t want to spend your entire summer vacation yelling at animals and kids to be careful around your precious furniture, do yourself a huge favor by picking up chic slipcovers for your furniture. Let this be your new beach house mantra: Decorate smarter, not harder!

  1. Be Strategic with Seating

Unless you’re throwing epic parties at your beach house like T-Swift, you probably don’t need to reinvent the wheel with your seating arrangements. That being said, it never hurts to choose furnishings that maximize space and utility.

If you’re renting out your beach house, it’s especially important to choose seating to accommodate guests and their friends. Simple things such as an ottoman that doubles as a chair or throw pillows that can be used as floor cushions will make your beach house party-ready (and get you a higher rating on Airbnb).

  1. Mix the Old and the New

The best beach homes we’ve ever seen are ones that have a treasure trove of interesting antiques and colorful knick knacks that have been given a new lease on life. Think old kitchen chairs painted in bright hues or galvanized ice cream containers upcycled into light fixtures, as seen in this 1932 beach house on Tybee Island, Georgia.

The benefit of this approach to decorating your beach house is twofold. First, it gives your beach house a one-of-a-kind look that is guaranteed to impress your guests. Second, it’s extremely affordable! Mary Kay Andrews, owner of the 1932 beach house we just mentioned, found all her best pieces by going to estate sales and keeping an eye out for unwanted antiques.

3-2 Sea Change: 8 Beach House Redecorating Tips

  1. Make it Peaceful and Cozy

Seriously, what’s the point of a beach house if it isn’t relaxing and cozy? We don’t know about you, but we want our beach houses to beckon us to kick off our shoes and enjoy a fruity cocktail while reading an awful beach read that we would never in a million years recommend to our friends.

When redecorating your space, channel your energy into creating a calm oasis that invites you to relax. Add a sleeping porch where you and friends can sip cocktails while listening to the sound of the ocean. Buy a few plants and reap the benefits of their mood-boosting abilities. Approach decorating by asking, “How can I make this space more serene?” and you’ll have an easy, breezy beach house that you can’t wait to visit each summer.

Stylish Beach House, Endless Summer

Owning a beach house is one thing. Decorating it is another challenge entirely. With these design tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a relaxing environment that will instantly switch your brain into vacation mode. Just think: After you’ve officially transformed your beach house into a coastal retreat, your victory margarita will taste all the sweeter for it.