For months before we bought our home, I spent countless hours perusing paint colors. I’m surprised paint fan decks didn’t sprout out from in between my fingers like an HGTV-obsessed X-Men character or something.

I created entire Pinterest board devoted to seeking out the perfect paint colors for our home. And while I pinned my fair share of room photos swathed in soft grays and crisp whites, my heart craved the colors of the coast.

In picking paint colors, I wanted hues that made us feel happy — that made our home feel happy. When we tried to think of the things and places in this world that fill us with the most joy and make us feel most at home, the list quickly came tumbling forth: family, friends, and the sea.

There’s a quote (that I’m still determine to stencil on a wall somewhere in our house) by e.e. cummings that reads, “whatever we lose, like a you or a me, it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” If our little family had a mantra, that might be it. Jay, a surfer from Southern California, and I, a native of coastal Charleston, have always both been drawn to the sea. In fact, we were married beneath an arbor of flowers overlooking the ocean.

In the rolodex of our happiest memories, the beach often serves as a backdrop. There’s the day we spent snorkeling Dead Man’s Reef and eating fresh off the grill conch fritters on a postcard-perfect beach at Freeport in the Bahamas.

the bahamas

Or one of the first first perfect days we spent at our beloved Folly Beach after we bought this house mere minutes away.



Or the many afternoons since, when our children have splashed in the frothy surf, built sand castles galore, and come home and collapsed on the couch in all of their salty skinned and sandy haired glory.


The truth is we’ve all got salt water running through our veins. We call Marlow our “daughter in the water.” My husband jokes that if I stray too far from the coast my gills might dry out. We’re beach people. We love the way the blue sky bleeds into the blue-gray sea. We love the way the sun lights up the sand and bounces off the surf like a million tiny diamonds. We live for the pink tinge on the horizon as the sun rises or sets, and we can’t imagine a world without the colors of seaglass in it.

So I suppose it’s only natural we kept veering away from neutral paint colors for our home and instead went straight to coastal colors — hues that look like you might be able to haul them in if you cast a net into the sea. If your heart beats with the ebb and flow of the ocean too, hopefully you’ll find some inspo in these colors we used throughout our home in various rooms and on accent pieces.

coastal colors

Left to right: Carribbean Breeze, Benjamin Moore; Sea Cap, Behr; Sparrow, Benjamin Moore (top row) | Antigua Aqua, Benjamin Moore; South Beach, Benjamin Moore; Buoyant Blue, Sherwin Williams (second row) | Sea Salt, Sherwin Williams; Cape Verde, Sherwin Williams; White Heron, Benjamin Moore (third row) | Surf Green, Sherwin Williams; Shell Pink, Benjamin Moore; Sea Lily, Valspar (fourth row) | Soft Fern, Benjamin Moore; Naval Sea Wall, Sherwin Williams; Caribbean Mist, Benjamin Moore (fifth row)