The Hamptons, situated north of New York is where the wealthy escape to the beach for summer.
Hamptons style is defined by casual, relaxed beach living but done in a classic and very sophisticated way. The look is bright and breezy, plenty of natural daylight with discreet window treatments to really let the light pour in.
To get this look even on a budget here are some of my tips:
Interior walls are often plain white with just a hint of softness to them – try Dulux Natural White. Wall panelling is also very Hamptons chic, even in bathrooms. Buy wooden panelling such as tongue and groove from hardware stores – visit www.easycraft.com.au for ideas. I find that by adding subtle panelled detailing to an otherwise plain room gives it so much more style and interest. Paint as you would your doors and skirting boards, I like ‘off white’ enamel in a low sheen finish.
Timber floors throughout are all part of the look, either in a very dark chocolate brown or pale and bleached. For dark, try sanding and staining ordinary boards in the richest, chocolatey colour you can find such as Wenge or Jacobean Oak. For light flooring, try Porters Wood-Wash in white and finish with a low sheen clear varnish.
Add natural rugs such as sisal or jute or light coloured carpets for softness under foot.
Linen upholstery is my favourite and a popular Hamptons pick, it always looks great. Slip-covers in pure linen or else white cotton drill are easy on the eye and cool on hot summer days. Accesorising is easy with soft scatter pillows.
Wicker or cane furniture is popular too but definitely not too much. Remember the key to this look is high end and sophisticated, not beachy, shabby chic.
Look out for smart occasional tables in op-shops and perhaps a nice chair to which you can add new paint and a cushion. Keep wicker natural or consider painting in pastels such as soft blues and greens or stain dark brown, almost black for a dramatic contrast to white walls.
A variety of lamps adds subtle ambience to a room. Look for medium to tall sized bases in ceramic or wood and choose shades in natural fabrics such as linen, cotton or silk. For overhead lighting consider pendant lighting over tables and island benches as well as to illuminate key areas of your home.
old with new
Keep this look fresh and interesting by mixing old with new. Go antiquing for a few rustic items like old timber dining chairs and pair them with a new plain oak table. Retro kitchen canisters, old shop signs and bottles add charm and fun while contemporary art, lamps and furniture pieces keep things very young and very now.
Don’t forget to include a few natural items such as driftwood and shells and display them in glass jars throughout the house.
Tara is one of television’s most recognised faces and has been presenting decorating, style and craft segments continuously for over fifteen years.