Seaside Sophistication: A Guide to Hamptons-Style Furniture

Guest Post by Hubert Dwight

Home decorating ideas may come and go but the Hamptons look has been one of the most popular, enduring and sought-after home décor aesthetics for over 300 hundred years.

Originating in the US when the first settlers arrived around Long Island, the style was initially born of practical necessity.

Features like wainscoting and panelling came from English origins and were incorporated into a home to conceal rising dampness.

In the 19th century, the style was adopted by architects and features included in the luxury summer homes of New York’s elite.

With its fresh, clean lines and coastal vibe, it is easy to understand the timeless appeal of Hamptons furniture, architecture and décor.

Often confused with Shabby Chic and French Provincial, Hamptons style is cleaner, crisper and more sophisticated than the former and lighter and more modern than the latter.

Whilst each of these three interior design styles can be used interchangeably, Hamptons aesthetic predominantly dictates that that the overall ambience is evocative of summers at the beach.

Hamptons interiors are centred around natural textures and surfaces, focusing on the beauty of materials such as timber, cane, linen and cotton.

I recently revisited the movie “Somethings Gotta Give” with Dianne Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

The movie is known for its star-studded cast but, for me at least, the biggest star is the house and movie set.

The stunning Shingle Style home, where most of the action occurs, typifies the best of Hamptons timeless, seaside elegance.

Featuring crisp whites, accented by muted greys and blues, the house is surrounded by French doors opening to the ocean.

High ceilings and large rooms, accentuate the breezy, seaside feel.

Think large, linen cushions, fresh flowers and pristine white furniture. The whole Hamptons ambience is deceptively sophisticated whilst, at the same time, being welcoming and homely.

Colour Palette

A typical Hamptons-style home will feature muted blue or grey walls, contrasted with crisp white door and window frames.

The ultimate aim is to create a feeling of a breezy, summer day by the ocean.

Unlike the French provincial style, Hamptons furniture is typically sturdy and solid – painted in a vivid white or natural timber with an occasional ebony piece for contrast.

In living areas, sofas reflect the same natural hues – large and comfy, they are often matched with accent chairs in complementary tones.

Coffee tables are broad and low, forming the central focus of the living zone. Fabrics are crisp linens in muted cool tones accented with stripes of blue and white to exude a nautical feel.

Flooring is typically in light, neutral tones with large mats delineating living zones.

Natural timber is the optimal choice for flooring, exuding as it does, a ‘sand and surf’ ambience.

Walls dotted with seascapes and large timber bookcases overflowing with books are both staple features of Hamptons beauty.

Introducing Hamptons Style Into Your Home

There are a number of specific design details that typify the coastal aesthetic including French doors, plantation shutters, panelling and wainscoting, and shaker-style kitchens.

Introducing some or all of these design elements will go a long way to creating the Hampton feel in your home.

Tables, desks and hall consoles featuring side cross-detail designs, a typical inclusion in Hamptons furniture.

French doors on cupboards, entertainment units and cabinets are another detail that typifies Hamptons style.

Consider creating a wainscoting or panelled effect along hallways and entrances with timber or, alternatively, try panelled wallpaper which can create a similar effect without the time or cost.

If you are looking to include Hamptons-style design elements in your home, it can be easier than you think.

The internet is full of stunning home design ideas, which are affordable and can be easily incorporated to give your home the timeless beauty and elegance of coastal living.