Mastering the Essence of French Coastal Interior Design

by Maddy Piggott
Blue and white stripes hotel room overlook the sea - MFCH French Coastal Interior Design Inspiration
Hotel Flaubert, in Trouville-sur-Mer

French coastal interior design is as diverse and captivating as the landscapes that inspire it. From the sun-kissed shores of the Côte d’Azur to the rugged beauty of Brittany, each region along the French coastline boasts its own unique blend of influences and aesthetics.

Whether you’re drawn to the quaint charms of Île de Ré’s chalets or the artisanal atmosphere of the Basque Coast, there’s a French coastal aesthetic to suit every taste. 


So let’s delve into some of France’s most iconic coastal destinations and explore their distinctive design styles. Discover what sets them apart and how you can capture the relaxing allure of seaside life at home.

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1. Normandy: Coastal Comfort

The Normandy coast is renowned for its expansive beaches and tranquil seaside villages. French coastal design in this region exudes an understated elegance and comfort, promising relaxation and refreshment. 

Soft, muted hues like seafoam green and sandy beige set a serene backdrop, while plush furnishings and tactile material details add a sense of comfort. If you’d like to incorporate this style at home, look for upholstered pieces with tufted details of furniture with carved wooden accents to add a touch of refinement to your Normandy coast inspired retreat. Alternatively, create a cozy reading nook or relaxation area with oversized armchairs and plush cushions, layered with soft blankets in natural fibers like wool or cashmere, for a warm and lived-in feel. Focus on furnishing your rooms with timeless pieces that have a storied air. It’s all about creating an inviting atmosphere perfect for both relaxed and refined gatherings with family and friends.

Eager to explore the Normandy coastline? Entrust your journey to our 8-Day Normandy Coastline MFCH itinerary, with hour-by-hour activities, our favorite addresses, and hotel recommendations

2. Brittany: Nautical Nouveau

For a dose of maritime charm, look no further than Brittany. With its rugged cliffs and quaint fishing villages, this region inspires a classic nautical aesthetic with a modern twist. With their seafaring traditions and Celtic heritage, coastal homes here exude a timeless nautical charm. Picture crisp navy and white color palettes, striped textiles, and brass accents. Traditional Breton furniture, such as ladder-back chairs and armoires, also commonly appear, as do woven baskets and maritime-themed decor pay homage to Brittany’s traditions.

For a touch of Brittany spirit, start by mixing vintage finds with contemporary pieces and natural fibers, like jute and sisal. This will create a coastal look thats feels both fresh and familiar. Next, looks out for salvaged ship fittings or antique maritime artifacts on your antiquing trips, their history and character will add depth and nuance to your Britanny themed decor.

3. Île de Ré and La Rochelle: Rustic Elegance

Just off the west coast of France, Île de Ré and its nearby neighbor La Rochelle are characterized by their shabby-chic style. Whitewashed walls, weathered wood, and touches of blue, from duck egg to vivid azure, feature prominently in these coastal homes.

The key to capturing this aesthetic lies in embracing simplicty. Think natural materials and a muted color palette centred around soft tans and pale blues. Incorporate faded linen upholstery, distressed furniture pieces, and pewter accents to infuse your space with the laid-back sophistication of Île de Ré. Opt for breezy sheer curtains in light neutrals, along with large mirrors, to maximize natural light and create an airy atmosphere reminiscent of these seaside cottages. Choose accessories like driftwood accents and seagrass baskets filled with striped throws to add organic warmth to the space. For an authentic and striking focal point, frame and hang a vintage nautical map. Or, opt for artwork showcasing the beauty of your favorite coastal town.

4. Basque Coast: Bohemian Bliss

The Basque Coast captivates with its vibrant culture and eclectic charm. Its a bohemian coastal location that is as relaxed as it is stylish. Interior design in this region is characterized by a playful mix of patterns and textures. Bold hues, and earthy accents reflect the region’s artistic heritage and multicultural influences.

Handcrafted textiles, such as woven wool rugs and embroidered linens, add warmth and texture to your home, while colorful ceramics and pottery infuse a sense of whimsy and personality. Influenced by the region’s natural beauty and rugged coastline, coastal homes here often feature expansive windows and outdoor living spaces allowing residents to fully immerse themselves in the breathtaking scenery around them. Consider integrating design elements such as sliding glass doors and rattan furniture to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.

Explore the Basque Coast like a local with the MFCH 8-Day itinerary, crafted by our regional experts

5. Côte d’Azur: Riviera Chic

The charm of the Côte d’Azur is rooted in its vibrant history. A haven for the elite, it has attracted European aristocrats and Hollywood luminaries to its sun-drenched shores since the early 20th century. Unsurprisingly, interior design in this region embodies a lavish blend of past and present, where hues reminiscent of the azure sea and golden Riviera sun dominate.

Homes here are adorned with a palette inspired by the Mediterranean landscape— deep blues, saturated yellows, and crisp whites. Plush furnishings in luxurious velvet and silk, in tones of chartreuse or citrine, marble floors and crystal chandeliers serve as reminders of this part of France’s affluent history.

To infuse your home with this chic essence, consider investing in statement pieces, such as oversized mirrors with gilded accents. Layer sumptuous textiles in rich jewel tones to add depth and drama to your space. Embrace iconic design elements such as mirrored surfaces and Art Deco inspired accessories to impart a touch of vintage glamor.

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Written by Madeleine Piggott

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