Top 5 design differences between Coastal Chic and Hamptons Style homes

  • 4 minutes
  • 8 December 2017

Coastal and Hamptons style home trends has seen a huge uptake in Australian design, evolving to incorporate personal preferences and Australian lifestyles and climates, yet staying consistent at its core. Clean white expanses, simple decorative choices, modern themes and comfortable living spaces are the shared essence of these two styles, but what are the elements that set them apart?

Indah Island | EstateWall | Hampton Style

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We’ve highlighted the subtle yet powerful design differences in 5 main elements:

  1. Flora
  2. Colour palette
  3. Textures
  4. Space
  5. Patterns

Back to basics

The Hamptons style is simplicity with grandeur; clean lines coupled with elegant design features within the moulding, cornices and cabinet hardware. Basically, think comfort with a hint of luxury. Coming from the lush summer homes of affluent New Yorkers, it’s a mix of seaside relaxation and the divine indulgence that the rich and famous are so accustomed to. But remember, a design works best when it works with its natural settings; make use of local and native elements to evolve Hamptons style into an Australian context.

Coastal Chic is more relaxed; soft beachy vibes, brighter colour themes, raw/natural materials and open living spaces that support both leisurely and active lifestyles. Coastal, within itself, has a variety of substyles, including contemporary, boho, rural or modern coastal themes, with a lot of room to add your own personal twist. More and more Australian homes are embracing and incorporating native bush elements to create a truly unique aesthetic, inspired by our stunning coastal landscapes.


EstateWall Boundary Wall | Hamptons Style

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Soft landscaping and house plants can change a home’s aesthetic drastically; too many palms can lean more tropical than coastal, whilst shrubs and perennials create a classic garden rather than a modern theme.

For a Hamptons home, white flowers like roses and lilies, dark green leaves and provincial elements, such as hedging bushes, create a prestigious garden.

Coastal styles can make use of native grasses such as purple fountain grass, sand-loving ground cover and trees, bright green leaves, succulents such as aloe vera and agaves, and spiky plants like snake plants or flax.


Both styles thrive off clean, white canvases and neutral schemes, however the difference is within the accent colours used.

As seen in the photos above, Coastal style is lifted with highlights – stick with yellows, light blues and marine greens like turquoise and aqua. Hamptons works best with darker accents – explore schemes using navy blues, taupes, and stone or steel greys.

VogueWall Kenmore QLD | Pool Wall | Hampton Coastal Style


Natural and modern-rustic textures work well within these two schemes, such as linen and knits, whilst walls that encompass light patterns, such as weatherboard or slats, are commonly used. Wooden elements are big within these styles, yet are tackled slightly different within each.

Coastal homes are raw and rustic – light, rough wood, pebbles, stacked stone (as shown in the above pool area), driftwood, tarnished metals and wicker work wonders, whilst soft decorating elements work best with raw linen, loose knits, canvas, weaves or even shag. Upcycled pieces can also provide character and create a sustainable theme.

Hamptons has the option to pull off darker, deeper woods, such as rosewood and walnut, and usually prefer a finished polish for flooring. Printed china, glass and polished metals work well in these spaces, whilst soft decorations should have a more luxurious feel, like thick merino knits and refined linens and silks.


Both styles boast flowing, connected spaces filled with natural light; consider glass doors, walls/pool fences and skylights to create more opportunities for natural light. Windows should showcase both indoor and outdoor living areas to create a united aesthetic, whether you’re on the lounge or by the pool.

Hamptons homes thrive off high, tapered ceilings and large picture windows, whilst Coastal styles work best with open plan layouts that offer a harmonised indoor-outdoor flow.

TrendWall Design Trend Outdoor Area Ideas Blog | Resort Style


Patterns can make a space really ‘pop’, especially when the rest of the theme is quite minimalist. Muted patterned wallpaper makes gorgeous feature walls, whilst rugs offer statement focal points in a room.

Coastal styles have more space to play around with bright feature pillows, artworks, throws and accessories, whilst Hamptons styles work best with deep blue brocade, paisley or geometric prints.

Things to leave you with:

  • Less is more
  • Comfort and relaxation is essential
  • Balance and symmetry create a sense of calm
  • Lighting pulls everything together

Tie everything together with an exquisite boundary wall or fence. Clean, simple, modern.