Coastal Design vs. Hamptons Design: the difference

While our business mostly deals in shells and accessories – we do get lots of questions about how the things we sell fit into certain coastal design concepts. And one thing we notice that our customers get confused about regularly – is the difference between certain beach design themes – most notably coastal design style and Hamptons design style.

That being said, it’s pretty easy to do. The two styles share a lot in common. But when it comes to the details and overall feel – the two are worlds apart. Today, we’re going to spell out that difference for you so you know the difference! Let’s jump right in.

Florals and botanicals

Florals and botanicals is the one area of design where you’ll notice the most distinct difference between the two design styles. In a Hampton home, lilies and white roses are almost always part of the package – both inside and outside. Coastal homes are marked with more lush plants like snake plants, palms and succulents. As we progress, you’ll see that Hamptons Design relies on more traditional colors, smoother tones and a more traditional, wealthy and dignified look. Beach themes are more Earthy, natural, casual and laid back. The floral patterns and botanicals, well – they fit that description for both.

Accent colors

Neutrals are almost always the basis for both Hamptons and Coastal style homes. The difference comes from the accents, highlights and colors that pop. Coastal designs like both the laid back and lively aspects of beachfront living. Colors like yellow, coral and turquoise are a staple in this design family. Hamptons, go for more of a stately approach – with darker tones like Navy and stone featured prominently.


When it comes to coastal homes –think rough, rugged, but also laid back. Things like shells, driftwood and natural elements are almost always the focus of the feel of these homes. Think of laid back, as-it-is beach front living. Hamptons designs are more of the high life on the beach. Here, you’ll see things like dark, polished and smooth finishes like walnut and rosewood. Even when it comes to accessories, you’ll notice things like polished shells and stones and a more ‘put together’ ambiance.


By now, you’re probably noticing a theme – of formal vs. casual and as you’ve probably guessed – that holds true here, too. In coastal-designed homes – expect more casual. In coastal homes it doesn’t matter if you swap out a scatter cushion for a bright colored accent cushion and some trendy prints. On the other hand – traditional patterns are more the norm in Hamptons style homes – patterns like paisleys, geometrics and brocade. One tells you to unbutton your collar and sink deep into your sofa. The other tells you to get ready for a snazzy, beach front social hour. Either way – you can’t go wrong!


Hopefully you’ve got an idea of what the differences between the two styles are. And don’t come to us looking for a preference – as we think both look incredible! Whichever route you choose, we can help you find accessories that help take your design to the next level. Give us a call today and we’re happy to talk. Good luck!