10 Elements for a Gold Coast-Style Home | Elizabeth May Design
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10 Must Have Elements for a Gold Coast Style Home

10 Must-Have Elements for a Gold Coast-Style Home

Ah, the Gold Coast—a place where the sun kisses the ocean, and homes are more than just four walls; they’re sanctuaries that capture the essence of laid-back luxury and natural beauty. If you’ve ever stepped foot into a Gold Coast-style home, you’ve felt it—that undeniable sense of warmth mixed with a dash of coastal sophistication.

But how do you recreate that feeling in your own space? Well, my friend, you’re in for a treat.

Let’s embark on a journey to discover the ten must-have elements that make a home quintessentially Gold Coast with a detailed overview of each.

1. Natural Light Galore

Let’s start with the basics. The Gold Coast is all about embracing that glorious sunshine, and your home should too. Think large windows, perhaps even floor-to-ceiling ones, that invite the sun to dance across your living spaces. It’s not just about illumination; it’s about creating a mood, a feeling of openness that mimics the expansive Gold Coast skies.

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The Window Wonderland

First things first, let’s talk windows. If you’re in the planning stages of your home, consider incorporating large windows or even floor-to-ceiling glass panels. Not only do they serve as a visual bridge to the outdoors, but they also allow sunlight to flood your interiors. If you’re working with an existing space, consider replacing small or dated windows with larger, more modern ones. The investment pays off in the form of a brighter, more inviting home.

The Magic of Sheer Curtains

Now, you might be wondering, “What about privacy?” That’s where sheer curtains come into play. They diffuse sunlight, creating a soft, ethereal glow while maintaining a sense of privacy. Opt for light, neutral colours that complement your coastal palette, and you’ve got yourself a win-win situation.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirrors aren’t just for checking your reflection; they’re a designer’s secret weapon for amplifying natural light. Place a large mirror opposite a window, and watch how it doubles the sunlight, scattering it throughout the room. It’s like having an extra window, minus the construction hassle.

Skylights and Solar Tubes

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not bring the sky indoors? Skylights and solar tubes are fantastic options for spaces where windows aren’t feasible, like bathrooms or walk-in closets. They channel sunlight from the roof, creating pockets of brightness that feel both natural and magical.

Translucent Accents

Think beyond windows. Translucent or frosted glass doors, room dividers, or even glass blocks can serve as conduits for sunlight. They create a sense of openness and flow, allowing light to pass through while maintaining distinct spaces.

The Art of Layering

Natural light is beautiful, but it’s also dynamic, changing throughout the day. Layering your lighting with dimmable LEDs or soft pendant lights can help maintain a consistent ambiance. Use them to complement natural light during the day and take centre stage as the sun sets, ensuring your home always feels warm and welcoming.

The Zen of Zones

Lastly, consider creating ‘light zones’ in larger rooms. Use area rugs, furniture arrangements, or even different curtain styles to delineate spaces that serve different functions. Each zone can then be optimised for its specific lighting needs, be it reading, dining, or simply relaxing.

2. Open-Plan Living

The Gold Coast lifestyle is social, breezy, and unconfined, much like its homes. Open-plan living areas are a nod to this ethos. They allow conversations to flow as freely as the ocean tides, making your home the perfect setting for both intimate dinners and grand celebrations.

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The Art of Zoning

While open-plan living offers a sense of spaciousness, it also poses the challenge of defining different areas within a single large space. Enter the concept of zoning. Use area rugs, different lighting fixtures, or even varying wall colors to subtly delineate the living room, dining area, and kitchen. This creates visual cues that help define each space’s function while maintaining a cohesive look.

The Furniture Dance

The arrangement of your furniture plays a pivotal role in how your open-plan area functions. Opt for modular or multi-functional pieces that can be easily moved or reconfigured. This gives you the flexibility to adapt the space for different occasions—be it a cozy movie night or a festive dinner party.

The Flow of Traffic

One of the key benefits of an open-plan space is the ease of movement it offers. To maintain this, keep the ‘traffic lanes’ clear. This means avoiding any large or obstructive furniture pieces that could disrupt the natural flow of the space. Think of it as creating invisible pathways that guide movement through the area.

The Power of Vertical Space

When working with a large, open area, don’t forget to consider the vertical space. Tall bookshelves, hanging plants, or even a statement light fixture can draw the eye upward, adding a sense of height and grandeur to the space.

The Palette Pleaser

In an open-plan setting, your colour palette needs to be especially cohesive. Stick to a limited range of complementary colours that can be repeated in different zones. This creates a sense of unity and flow, making the entire space feel harmonious.

The Texture Talk

Textures add depth and interest to an open-plan area. Consider incorporating a mix of materials like wood, metal, and textiles. For instance, a wooden dining table could be paired with metal chairs, while plush rugs and soft cushions add warmth and comfort.

The Acoustic Angle

Open spaces can sometimes suffer from poor acoustics, making conversations less intimate or even a bit echoey. Soft furnishings like rugs, curtains, and upholstered furniture can help absorb sound, making the space feel more inviting and conversation-friendly.

The Subtle Separators

If you ever feel the need for a bit more separation, consider adding subtle dividers like a console table behind the sofa or a tall plant between the living and dining areas. These elements can provide a touch of privacy without compromising the open feel of the space.

3. Coastal Palette

Imagine the colours of the sea, the sand, and the sky; now bring them indoors. Soft blues, sandy beiges, and crisp whites should be your go-to. These hues not only brighten up your space but also serve as a constant reminder of the natural beauty that lies just beyond your doorstep.

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The Layering Technique

When working with a coastal palette, layering is your best friend. Start with a neutral base—think whites or light greys—and then layer on shades of blue and beige. This creates a sense of depth and complexity, much like the ocean itself.

The Accent Game

Soft blues and sandy beiges make for a calming backdrop, but don’t forget to add some accent colours to break the monotony. Coral pinks, sea foam greens, or even driftwood browns can serve as lovely accent hues that add a pop of colour without overwhelming the space.

The Material World

The colours in your coastal palette can be further enhanced by the materials you choose. Natural fibres like jute or sisal for your rugs, and materials like rattan or wicker for your furniture, can add an organic touch that complements your colour scheme.

The Art of Subtlety

When incorporating coastal colours, subtlety often works best. You don’t need to paint an entire room in ocean blue; sometimes, a throw pillow, a piece of wall art, or even a vase in the right shade can bring in that coastal vibe you’re aiming for.

The Light Factor

Natural light plays a significant role in how colours appear. Lighter hues can look washed out in rooms with limited natural light, so consider using slightly deeper shades in such spaces. Conversely, in rooms flooded with sunlight, lighter shades can look exceptionally vibrant.

The Pattern Play

Don’t shy away from patterns. Stripes, for instance, can add a nautical touch, while floral or botanical prints can bring in a bit of the outdoors. The key is to stick to your colour scheme when choosing patterns, ensuring they enhance rather than clash with your overall design.

The Finishing Touches

Accessories can make or break your coastal palette. Think seashells, driftwood, or even nautical ropes as curtain tiebacks. These small touches can tie your colour scheme together, adding authenticity to your coastal-inspired home.

The Balance Act

Lastly, remember that balance is crucial. Your coastal colours should flow naturally from room to room, creating a sense of cohesion. This doesn’t mean every room should be a mirror image of the other, but rather that they should feel like chapters in the same beautiful story.

4. Timber Features

Wood is to the Gold Coast what wine is to fine dining—an essential pairing. Whether it’s hardwood floors that echo the earthiness of the landscape or timber furniture that adds a touch of rustic charm, wood elements are non-negotiable.

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The Type Matters

First things first, the type of wood you choose can set the tone for your entire space. Lighter woods like pine or ash can make a room feel airy and bright, while darker woods like mahogany or walnut add a touch of sophistication.

The Floor Story

Hardwood floors are a classic choice, but they’re not your only option. Consider engineered wood for areas with high moisture, like bathrooms or kitchens. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a herringbone or chevron pattern to add a bit of flair to your floors?

The Furniture Tale

When it comes to furniture, think beyond the dining table and chairs. Timber coffee tables, sideboards, or even bed frames can add that rustic charm you’re looking for. And don’t forget about outdoor furniture; a timber deck or patio set can extend your living space into the great outdoors.

The Accent Pieces

Wooden accents can be a game-changer. Think wooden frames for your artwork, a timber mantel for your fireplace, or even wooden knobs for your kitchen cabinets. These small touches can make a big impact, tying together your timber features in a cohesive way.

The Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to mix different types of wood. As long as the tones are complementary, a mix can add depth and interest to your space. For example, a dark walnut dining table can look stunning against a backdrop of light oak floors.

The Finish Line

The finish you choose for your wood can also make a significant difference. A glossy finish can add a touch of elegance, while a matte or distressed finish can make your wood features feel more rustic and lived-in.

The Green Factor

If sustainability is important to you, look for reclaimed wood or pieces made from sustainably sourced timber. Not only is this better for the planet, but reclaimed wood has a unique character that can add a layer of richness to your design.

The Balance Equation

Lastly, while wood is a key element in Gold Coast design, balance is crucial. You don’t want to overwhelm your space with too much of a good thing. Make sure your timber features are balanced out with softer textures like fabrics and natural fibres, as well as other materials like glass or metal for a well-rounded look.

5. Indoor-Outdoor Connection

Your living space shouldn’t end at your back door. Bi-fold doors or large sliding glass doors can blur the lines between inside and out, extending your living area into a patio, garden, or even a poolside deck. It’s about creating a seamless transition that invites the outdoors in.

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Choose the Right Doors

The doors you choose can make or break that indoor-outdoor connection. Bi-fold doors are a popular choice because they can open up an entire wall, but large sliding glass doors can be just as effective. The key is to go for doors with minimal frames to maximise the view and let in as much natural light as possible.

Flooring that Flows

To really blur the lines between inside and out, consider using the same or similar flooring materials in both spaces. For example, if you have timber flooring inside, extend that look to your deck. If that’s not feasible, look for outdoor tiles that mimic the look of your indoor floors.

Consistent Color Scheme

Keep your colour scheme consistent to create a visual flow between the two spaces. If your interior is decked out in soft blues and sandy beiges, consider incorporating those same hues into your outdoor furniture or decor.

Furnish Thoughtfully

When it comes to furniture, opt for pieces that could easily belong in either an indoor or outdoor setting. Think weather-resistant fabrics and materials that are easy to clean. This way, you can move pieces in and out as the occasion calls for it, adding to the fluidity between your indoor and outdoor spaces.

Light the Way

Outdoor lighting is crucial in making your exterior space an extension of your interior. Go for soft, ambient lighting like string lights or lanterns to create a cozy atmosphere. And don’t forget about functional lighting for areas like the grill or dining table.

Bring the Outdoors In

And let’s not forget about bringing the outdoors in. Indoor plants can add a touch of nature to your interior spaces, creating a more cohesive look. Choose plants that complement your outdoor foliage for an even more unified feel.

Zone it Right

Even in an open space, different zones for dining, lounging, or even a small outdoor kitchen can make your exterior feel like a true extension of your interior. Use rugs, planters, or different levels to define these zones without compromising the open feel.

Add Some Water Features

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, make it a focal point that can be enjoyed from both inside and outside the home. No pool? A simple fountain or even a small pond can add that water element that’s so synonymous with Gold Coast living.

Keep it Practical

Remember, your outdoor space needs to be as functional as it is beautiful. Think about storage solutions for cushions or outdoor toys, and make sure there’s plenty of shade for those hot Gold Coast days.

Mind the Details

Finally, it’s the little things that make a big difference. Matching door handles, complementary throw pillows, or even just a similar style of flower pot can tie your indoor and outdoor spaces together in a way that feels intentional and harmonious.

6. Lush Greenery

What’s a Gold Coast home without a touch of nature? Indoor plants not only enhance your décor but also bring a sense of tranquility and vitality. Choose plants that thrive in your specific lighting conditions, and watch your space come alive.

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Know Your Light

First things first, assess the natural light conditions in different areas of your home. Some plants thrive in bright, indirect light, while others are content in low-light conditions. Knowing your light will help you choose plants that not only survive but thrive.

Scale and Proportion

When it comes to plants, size does matter. Larger plants like fiddle leaf figs or monstera can serve as focal points in living rooms or entryways. Smaller plants like succulents or snake plants are perfect for shelves, desks, or even your bathroom. The key is to vary the scale for visual interest.

Pottery Matters

Don’t overlook the importance of the pots. Choose containers that complement your interior style. Whether it’s ceramic pots for a more rustic look or sleek metallic ones for a modern vibe, the right pot can elevate your plant from a living organism to a design element.

Grouping is Key

One plant is lovely, but a group of plants can create a visual impact. Consider grouping different plants together in a corner or on a plant stand. Just make sure they have similar light and watering needs. You can also play with heights by placing some plants on stools or hanging them from the ceiling.


Plants are not just pretty to look at; they can serve a purpose too. Herbs like basil or mint can be grown in your kitchen for fresh additions to your meals. Plants like lavender in the bedroom can aid in relaxation and sleep.

Layer with Texture

Mix and match plants with different leaf shapes and textures for a more dynamic look. For example, the soft leaves of a calathea paired with the rigid structure of a snake plant can create a visually appealing contrast.

Maintenance Level

Be realistic about how much time you can devote to plant care. If you’re new to the plant world or have a busy lifestyle, opt for low-maintenance plants like ZZ plants or pothos.

Seasonal Changes

Don’t forget that plants are living beings that react to seasonal changes. Some may need more light or water in different seasons, so be prepared to move them around as needed.

Add a Pop of Colour

While green is the star of the show, flowering plants can add a pop of colour that complements your interior palette. Think orchids, African violets, or even seasonal blooms.

The Final Touch

Lastly, consider adding some botanical art or floral textiles to echo the green theme. It could be as subtle as a leafy print cushion or as bold as a tropical wallpaper.

7. Textural Harmony

Think natural fibres like linen cushions, jute rugs, and wicker furniture. These textures add layers of depth and comfort to your home, making it feel as cozy as it is stylish.

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Choose a Base Texture

Start by selecting a base texture that will set the tone for your space. For a Gold Coast home, natural fibres like linen or cotton are a great starting point. These materials are not only sustainable but also have a tactile quality that adds instant warmth.

Layer, Layer, Layer

Once you’ve chosen your base, it’s time to layer. Add a jute or sisal rug under your coffee table, throw in some linen cushions on your sofa, or drape a soft wool blanket over your armchair. The idea is to mix different textures to create a rich, multi-dimensional look.

Don’t Forget the Walls

Who says texture is only for fabrics? Consider adding some textural elements to your walls. Whether it’s a shiplap wall, a bead board, or even textured wallpaper, these features can add a whole new layer of interest to your space.

Mix Hard and Soft

Balance is key in achieving textural harmony. Mix hard textures like glass, metal, or wood with soft ones like fabrics and rugs. For instance, a glass coffee table on a shaggy rug or a metal lamp next to a velvety cushion can create a balanced, harmonious look.

Go Beyond the Obvious

Textures aren’t just about the materials you can touch; they’re also about the ones you can see. Think about adding visual textures through patterns. Stripes, florals, or geometric shapes can serve as textural elements, especially when they’re incorporated in a subtle, sophisticated way.

Play with Scale

Different textures have different scales, and playing with these can add a dynamic feel to your space. For example, a large, chunky knit throw pairs well with smaller, finer textures like silk cushions or a smooth leather ottoman.

Seasonal Swaps

One of the joys of texture is that it can be easily switched out according to the season. Heavier, cosier textures like wool and faux fur are perfect for cooler months, while lighter fabrics like cotton and linen are ideal for the Gold Coast’s warmer seasons.

The Finishing Touches

Last but not least, don’t forget about the smaller elements like tableware, vases, or even books. A ceramic vase or a wooden tray can serve as the perfect finishing touch that ties all your textures together.

8. Artisanal Accents

Your home should tell your story, and what better way to do that than with unique, handcrafted pieces? It could be a ceramic vase you picked up from a local Gold Coast artist or a vintage mirror that adds a touch of old-world charm. These accents inject personality and make your home truly yours.

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Curate with Intention

The first step in adding artisanal accents is to curate with intention. Choose pieces that resonate with you, whether it’s a handwoven rug from a local craftsman or a vintage painting that speaks to your soul. The key is to select items that you’ll love not just today but for years to come.

Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to mix different styles, eras, or materials. A modern Gold Coast home can absolutely accommodate a vintage mirror or an antique wooden chest. The contrast between old and new adds a layer of depth and intrigue to your space.

Local is Lovely

One of the joys of living on the Gold Coast is the abundance of local talent. From potters to painters, the area is teeming with artisans creating beautiful pieces. Consider sourcing locally not just to find unique items but also to support the community you’re a part of.

Make it a Focal Point

Artisanal pieces often have a lot of character, so let them shine. Make them a focal point in your room, whether it’s a large ceramic vase placed prominently on a console table or a handcrafted chandelier that hangs over your dining table.

Less is More

When it comes to artisanal accents, less is often more. You don’t need to fill every corner of your room with handcrafted items. A few well-placed pieces can have a much greater impact than a clutter of crafts.

Add a Personal Touch

Personalise your artisanal pieces whenever possible. Whether it’s a custom engraving on a piece of pottery or choosing a fabric that’s hand-dyed in your favourite colour, these small touches make the item uniquely yours.

Rotate and Refresh

The beauty of artisanal accents is that they can be easily rotated to give your space a fresh look. Swap out pieces as the seasons change, or even as your mood shifts. It keeps your interior feeling new and dynamic.

Tell a Story

Finally, remember that each artisanal piece comes with its own story—where it was made, who crafted it, and the inspiration behind it. These stories add another layer of richness to your home, making it not just a living space but a living narrative.

9. Functional Elegance

Every piece in your home should serve a purpose—be it a coffee table that doubles as storage or a sofa that can transform into a guest bed. It’s about smart design that makes your life easier without compromising on style.

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Multi-Functional Furniture

When selecting furniture, look for pieces that can serve multiple functions. Think ottomans with hidden storage compartments or coffee tables with built-in shelves. These dual-purpose items are not only space-savers but also add an element of surprise to your interiors.

Smart Seating

If you love hosting but are short on space, consider sofas that can easily convert into beds or benches that offer additional storage. It’s about making every square inch count, without sacrificing comfort or aesthetics.

Custom Cabinetry

Don’t underestimate the power of custom-built cabinets and shelves. They can be designed to fit your specific needs, whether it’s a built-in wine rack in the kitchen or a bookshelf that doubles as a room divider. Custom solutions allow you to maximise your space in a way that’s uniquely tailored to your lifestyle.

Tech-Savvy Spaces

Incorporate smart home technology to elevate your living experience. Whether it’s automated lighting systems that set the mood or built-in USB ports in your furniture, these modern touches add a layer of convenience that complements your elegant design.

Zone Your Spaces

In open-plan living areas, use rugs, lighting, and furniture arrangement to create distinct ‘zones’ for different activities. This helps in organising your space functionally while maintaining a cohesive look.

Hidden Utilities

Think about creative ways to hide or disguise everyday items. A sliding panel to conceal your TV when it’s not in use, or a stylish laundry hamper that blends with your decor, can go a long way in maintaining a streamlined, elegant space.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to functional elegance, less is often more. Invest in high-quality pieces that are built to last and offer superior comfort and utility. These are the items that you’ll interact with daily, so they need to stand up to wear and tear while still looking great.

Flexible Layouts

Finally, consider the flow of your home. Furniture and decor should be arranged in a way that allows for easy movement and adaptability. Whether it’s modular sofas that can be rearranged for movie nights or extendable dining tables for family gatherings, flexibility is key.

10. A Dash of Whimsy

Last but not least, don’t forget to have a little fun. Whether it’s a quirky lamp, a bold piece of wall art, or even a hammock in the living room, a touch of whimsy can bring joy and a sense of wonder to your space.

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Statement Pieces

Consider adding one or two statement pieces that capture your unique style. It could be a sculptural coffee table, a vintage chandelier, or even a bold, oversized painting. These items serve as focal points that draw the eye and elevate the entire room.

Play with Patterns

Don’t shy away from patterns, but do use them judiciously. Whether it’s a geometric rug, floral cushions, or striped curtains, patterns can add a dynamic layer to your decor. The key is to stick to a cohesive colour scheme so that the patterns complement, rather than compete with, each other.

Quirky Lighting

Lighting is an excellent avenue for adding a touch of whimsy. Think pendant lights with unusual shapes, a floor lamp with a colourful shade, or even fairy lights strung around a potted plant. These lighting choices not only illuminate but also animate your space.

Interactive Decor

How about decor that’s not just visually appealing but also interactive? A chalkboard wall in the kitchen for doodles and grocery lists, or a world map where you can pin your travel adventures, adds an element of fun and engagement.

Eclectic Mix

Don’t be afraid to mix styles, eras, or cultures. A modern sofa paired with a vintage side table, or a minimalist room with a boho-chic corner, can create a layered, eclectic look that’s full of character.

Unconventional Layouts

Who says a hammock doesn’t belong in a living room or that you can’t have a swing chair in your bedroom? Challenge traditional norms and think outside the box when it comes to furniture placement. These unexpected elements can make your home feel adventurous and lively.

Personalised Touches

Personalisation is the ultimate form of whimsy. It could be a gallery wall filled with your favourite memories, custom nameplates for each family member’s room, or even a DIY project that showcases your creativity. These personalised touches make your home distinctly yours.

Seasonal Updates

And let’s not forget the power of seasonal decor to inject a dose of whimsy. Whether it’s beach-themed accessories for the summer or cozy, textured fabrics for the winter, these small updates can bring a fresh, playful vibe to your interiors.

So there you have it—the recipe for creating a home that’s as enchanting and inviting as the Gold Coast itself.

Each element is a chapter in your home’s story, a brushstroke in its portrait.

And remember, the beauty of interior design lies not just in the aesthetics but in the feelings and experiences it evokes.

So go ahead, infuse your home with these elements and watch it transform into your very own Gold Coast sanctuary.

Trust me, it’s a journey worth taking.

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