Sometimes I feel that we are overdone here in the OC.  We have the ocean close by, the warm sand between our toes, ocean breezes to cool our summers, palm trees punctuating our neighborhoods and a surf board in every garage - but our homes look like carbon copy Spanish villas with red tile roofs and stucco walls and our interiors bear no resemblance to the coastal region we pay so dearly to be near.  

Granted, we don't all live ON the beach, but shouldn't there be some kind of reference to our coveted shores in our homes?  Isn't there a way to include coastal elements in our homes even if we live in stucco and red tile and not a charming beach cottage?

Coastal decorating doesn't have to be in your face 
It can be as simple as a seascape
or a playful surfboard in an unexpected place

it can be as easy as a wicker accent here and there 

or the injection of a few fresh painted furnishings
Color plays a big role in coastal decorating
white keeps things fresh
blue echoes sky and ocean
as do greens and blue greens

but don't forget the red of coral 
and the gold of ocean sunsets
paired with plenty of fresh white

a nod to the beach is acceptable
and expected
and clearly beautiful

but not required...

 if you are lucky enough to have one,
the furnishings should never detract from - the view

bring a little of that view indoors
but don't be limited by your location
if you love coastal style
rock it, no matter where you live!

And now, a question from someone who IS that lucky!

Love your advice..so helpful!! Have a beach house..dark maple floors everywhere, even in kitchen and downstairs bath..Just have tile in two upstairs bathrooms..Lots of light, windows, French doors, a screened in porch, pool, etc. Problem is the wall color. I wanted to go milky, "slightly" creamy wall, with white trim throughout house. Using Benjamin Moore paint. Anyway, in certain light, walls in upstairs bedroom and entrance foyer, look soft yellow. Wanted more neutral. Have lots of built ins that are white (which I plan to cozy up with beadboard), and an open kitchen, with white cabinets. Wanted some contrast between walls and trim, but used Calming Cream, and it's a bit much. 
Benjamin Moore CALMING CREAM
[Garden Web]
Any color suggestions? Someone suggested Sailcloth, or Bone White. 
Benjamin Moore SAIL CLOTH
Benjamin Moore BONE WHITE

Had Linen White in my old farmhouse..
Benjamin Moore LINEN WHITE
Thanks, Jeanette. 

Hi Jeanette!  I think all my readers are drooling at this point.... I know I am.   So Calming Cream didn't work for you - was it too much pigment or too yellow???  Linen White, which you had before, is very light.  There are myriad of beautiful 'whites' that are not quite white but the palest of pale color and will show up against fresh white trim and cabinets.  Whites, like gray, have undertones.  See the chart below - these are all considered white.  (the computer image shows up darker than actual paint color)  Some are pale grays, greens, tans and creams.  So, I don't know if I can recommend a wall color, not knowing what it was you didn't like about Calming Cream, but I can give you some colors to try out.
1. Full Moon, 2. Grey Owl, 3. Misty Gray, 5. Icicle, 6. Moonshine
(Benjamin Moore)
1. Ivory White,  4. Atrium White, 5. Acadia White,  6. Elephant Tusk
(All Benjamin Moore)
I prefer the slightly grayed down tones - here are some of my favorites:

Benjamin Moore TITANIUM

Benjamin Moore SEA PEARL
Benjamin Moore PALE OAK


Similar to Benjamin Moore CHINA WHITE

Benjamin Moore GRAY OWL
Benjamin Moore ASHWOOD GRAY

Benjamin Moore HALO
Benjamin Moore HORIZON
Try out a few good sized color samples on foam core poster board - two coats with drying time in-between, just like you would do on the wall - and a good 2" border of white board around the edge.  You can move the color from wall to wall this way, as well as look at it against trim and flooring.

Good luck!  If you want more specific help, let me know what specifically you are looking for in terms of undertone.

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