Coastal Interior Design, Gold Coast Style | Elizabeth May Design
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interior designers gold coast

Coastal Interior Design: The Gold Coast Style

The Gold Coast of Australia is more than just surf, sand, and endless summer. This tropical paradise isn’t just a haven for surfers and beachgoers but also serves as a muse for a distinctive style of interior design that is deeply embedded in the coastal aesthetic.

This style, influenced by the spirit and vibrancy of the Gold Coast, is characterised by its effortless marriage of the organic textures and colours of the coast with modern interior design trends. It’s a style that resonates with the laid-back lifestyle, the light, the landscape, and the dynamic culture of the area, creating spaces that are as calming and refreshing as they are aesthetically pleasing

The Gold Coast Style: An Introduction

The Gold Coast style encapsulates coastal elements without sacrificing elegance or contemporary flair. It combines neutral tones with splashes of vibrant colours, blends natural materials, and prioritises open spaces that integrate the indoor and outdoor environment seamlessly. It is an amalgamation of rustic and sophisticated elements that captures the breathtaking beauty of the Gold Coast’s azure seas and golden beaches.

Immerse yourself in a room-by-room exploration of Gold Coast style, where the distinct beauty of the coast is woven into every space. From the living room to the kitchen, from bedrooms to bathrooms, we’ll explore how the captivating blend of coastal elements, vibrant colours, and modern elegance is incorporated to create a truly stunning Australian home.

Living Room

The living room should be a comfortable, inviting space that reflects the coastal theme without overwhelming the senses. Think about a palette of soft whites, warm beiges, and cool blues. Invest in comfortable, oversized furniture made from natural materials like rattan or distressed wood. Accentuate with nautical-themed decorations such as sea shells, coral ornaments, or maritime artwork.

Colour Scheme: The Gold Coast palette draws inspiration from the surrounding environment. The base colour should ideally be soft whites and warm beiges, reminiscent of the sandy beaches that stretch along the coastline. Complement these with cool blues that echo the majestic hues of the ocean. These colours aren’t overly bold, instead they aim to create a calming and harmonious space that facilitates relaxation.

Furniture: When selecting furniture, think comfort and scale. Oversized furniture pieces, such as plush sofas or armchairs, invite relaxation and casual conversation. Opt for materials that exude a natural, organic feel, such as rattan, distressed wood or even linen upholstery. These materials lend a touch of authenticity to the coastal theme and enhance the overall comfort of the room.

Decorative Elements: While the foundation of your living room lies in the colour scheme and furniture, the coastal character truly comes to life through carefully chosen decorations. Nautical-themed accents help to reinforce the coastal vibe without turning the space into a beach house cliché. Consider incorporating elegant seashells, coral ornaments, or maritime artwork that subtly ties into the Gold Coast theme. You can also add some soft throw pillows in various shades of blue to your couch, which serves to enhance the oceanic colour scheme while adding an extra layer of comfort.

Lighting: Don’t forget the significance of natural light, which is a staple in Gold Coast homes. Emphasise any sources of natural light, such as large windows or glass doors, to help illuminate the space. In the evenings, ambient lighting from strategically placed lamps can create a soft, warm glow that maintains the welcoming atmosphere.

Remember, the aim is to create a space that encourages leisure and relaxation, that feels like an extension of the beautiful coastal surroundings without overwhelming the senses. The Gold Coast style living room is a space where the outside environment and interior comfort meet in perfect harmony.


The kitchen, often referred to as the heart of the home, is a space where function and style meet. In the Gold Coast design ethos, the kitchen maintains the same relaxed coastal vibes seen throughout the house, but with a more refined edge that underscores its role as a centre of home life.

Cabinetry: The cabinets are a major component of any kitchen and significantly influence the overall aesthetic. In Gold Coast style kitchens, light wooden cabinets are a favourite for their natural, earthy feel that seamlessly aligns with the coastal theme. Alternatively, white shaker-style cabinets provide a clean, timeless look that brightens the space and enhances the light, airy ambiance characteristic of the coastal design.

Countertops: When it comes to countertops, opt for materials that blend functionality with aesthetics. Quartz and marble are excellent choices in a Gold Coast kitchen due to their light tones, durability, and luxurious feel. Their sleek, polished surfaces add a touch of sophistication and elegance, providing a delightful contrast to the natural, rustic elements in the space.

Statement Pieces: Making a statement with a focal point is a powerful design tool. A kitchen island made from reclaimed wood not only provides additional workspace and storage but also introduces an element of rustic charm. Its worn, textured look offers a stark contrast to the sleek countertops, creating a balanced interplay between rustic and modern.

Another unique way to incorporate the coastal theme into your kitchen design is by opting for a driftwood-themed overhead rack. This not only utilises vertical space for extra storage but also serves as a distinct design feature that pays homage to the coastal setting.

Finishing Touches: To complete the look, consider elements such as open shelving displaying white or light-coloured dish ware, a backsplash in a soft blue or grey hue, or chrome fixtures that mimic the sheen of water. The addition of indoor plants can also enhance the open, fresh feel of the space.

In essence, a Gold Coast kitchen is a blend of casual and refined, functional and beautiful, all while echoing the coastal theme. This harmonious balance makes it not only a space for preparing meals but also a warm and inviting gathering spot for family and friends.


Bedrooms, a personal sanctuary in any home, take on a peaceful, serene quality when designed with Gold Coast styling in mind. Each element should contribute to a restful environment that soothes the senses after a long day, ensuring restorative sleep and a tranquil atmosphere.

Colour Palette: The choice of wall colour plays a crucial role in setting the mood for the room. Gold Coast bedrooms typically feature cool, soft shades of blue, green, and grey. These hues, often found in coastal landscapes, have a calming effect, reducing stress and promoting relaxation. They serve as the perfect backdrop to a peaceful retreat, subtly echoing the tranquil feel of the ocean and sky.

Bedding: The bed, as the focal point of the bedroom, should invite rest and relaxation. Layering the bed with linens in white and neutral tones contributes to the soothing atmosphere. These colours not only complement the cool hues of the walls but also evoke a sense of peace and serenity, much like the white sandy beaches of the Gold Coast. A mix of textures, from crisp cotton sheets to a chunky knit throw or textured cushions, can add depth and interest to the bedding.

Storage: To maintain a clutter-free and serene environment, ample storage is key. Woven baskets offer a stylish and practical solution for storing items like books, extra throw blankets, or personal items. They add a textural element that enhances the coastal vibe and keeps the room neat and organised.

Artwork and Decor: Finally, no Gold Coast bedroom is complete without a touch of beach-inspired decor. Artwork featuring coastal landscapes, marine life, or abstract interpretations of water and sand can reinforce the theme. Whether it’s a large painting, a collection of framed prints, or even a DIY piece of driftwood art, these elements serve as a constant reminder of the calming influence of the sea and bring a sense of charm to the bedroom.

When combined, these elements create a Gold Coast-style bedroom that serves as a tranquil retreat. It’s a place where the worries of the day drift away, replaced by the calming influence of the coast. It’s not just a room, but an experience, a small slice of the tranquility that the Gold Coast is renowned for.


Bathrooms, an often overlooked but vital part of the home, can be transformed into personal sanctuaries with the Gold Coast style. Imagine stepping into a spa-like space each morning, filled with soothing colours and organic textures that evoke the serenity of a coastal retreat. Here’s how to create a Gold Coast inspired bathroom:

Colour Scheme and Textures: The colour scheme should consist of colours that mimic the ocean’s palette, from light aqua to deep marine blues. Stone textures or tiles in these shades not only bring the colours of the coast into the bathroom but also introduce a natural element that is both tactile and visually appealing. Think of a feature wall with sea-green mosaic tiles or a countertop with a marbled texture that reminds you of waves breaking on the shore.

Fixtures: Choosing the right fixtures can elevate your bathroom from ordinary to extraordinary. A free-standing bathtub, with its elegant lines and statement-making presence, can add an extra layer of luxury. Opt for one in white or a light neutral shade for a fresh, clean look. Faucets and shower heads in finishes like brushed nickel, bronze, or matte black can contrast beautifully with the lighter elements in the room.

Furniture and Storage: Natural wood features prominently in Gold Coast style, and incorporating it in your bathroom furniture and storage solutions lends warmth and an organic touch. A wooden bench, for instance, can serve as both seating and storage. Wooden shelves or cabinets, particularly those made from reclaimed or weathered wood, can provide a rustic charm while offering functional storage space.

Towels and Accessories: Plush white towels bring a touch of luxury to the bathroom while maintaining the fresh, bright feel of the space. Consider adding other bath accessories in matching white or neutral tones, such as a bath mat or soap dispenser.

Lighting: Good lighting is key in any bathroom. For a Gold Coast bathroom, opt for lights that cast a warm, natural glow, reminiscent of the coastal sunrise or sunset. This could mean choosing bulbs with a warm colour temperature or fixtures with a diffuse light.

Plants: Lastly, introduce a touch of greenery with indoor plants that thrive in high-humidity environments. Not only will they add a pop of colour, but they also promote a sense of calm and wellbeing.

Ultimately, a Gold Coast inspired bathroom should evoke a sense of tranquillity, mimicking the soothing rhythm of the sea and the natural beauty of the coast. Whether starting your day with an invigorating shower or ending it with a relaxing soak in the tub, this space should offer an everyday retreat, a personal spa-like experience that transports you to the serenity of the Australian Gold Coast.

Top Interior Design Tips

Balance is key: A well-designed coastal home harmoniously blends both rustic and refined elements. Overdoing the coastal theme can make your space feel gimmicky.

Let in natural light: The Gold Coast is famous for its brilliant sunshine. Make the most of it by ensuring your living spaces are bright, airy, and full of natural light.

Opt for open plan living: Embrace the relaxed lifestyle of the coast by creating a seamless flow between different areas of your home.

Texture is essential: Natural materials such as timber, linen, jute, and rattan add depth and interest to your rooms, enhancing the coastal theme.

Incorporate local artwork: The Gold Coast has a vibrant art scene. Using local artwork not only supports local artists but also adds an authentic coastal touch to your home.

Create outdoor living spaces: The coastal lifestyle is all about embracing the outdoors. Create inviting outdoor spaces with comfortable seating, lush greenery, and stylish shade options.

Choose the right accessories: Use the coastal theme as inspiration for your accessories. Look for items that embody the natural beauty of the coast like seashells, driftwood, and tropical plants.

Maintain simplicity: The coastal aesthetic is inherently relaxed and laid-back. Avoid clutter and over-decoration to maintain this tranquil vibe.

Remember, designing your home should be a joyful process that reflects your unique taste and lifestyle.

As we conclude our exploration of the Gold Coast style, it’s important to remember one crucial aspect of interior design – personalisation. Your home is an extension of who you are, your values, your experiences, and your taste. So, as you begin to incorporate these design ideas, don’t feel strictly bound to the guidelines.

Experiment with elements that resonate with you. For instance, if a particular shade of blue reminds you of a cherished beach holiday, use it. If you have a favourite piece of coastal artwork, let it be the centrepiece of your room. If you prefer the luxury of a marble countertop in your kitchen over the rustic charm of reclaimed wood, go for it.

Your interpretation of the Gold Coast style doesn’t have to be literal. It can be subtle, with just a few coastal accents or colour schemes to hint at the style. The use of natural materials, the integration of indoor and outdoor spaces, and the open, airy layout can all be tailored to fit your preferences. You might even blend styles, combining coastal elements with features from another design style you love. For instance, you could combine the earthy materials of a rustic farmhouse style with the ocean hues of the coastal style for a unique fusion.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all in design. While inspiration and guidelines can be found in established styles like the Gold Coast, it’s your personal touch that will make your space truly special.

So, dare to experiment, mix elements, bend rules, and have fun in the process. Your aim should be to create a home that is not just stylish, but also comfortable, functional, and above all, a space that feels genuinely ‘you’. Because, at the end of the day, the best space is one that feels like home the moment you step into it.

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