How To: Get the Hamptons Look

Looking for a coastal style that combines the best of casual and formal living? Then you can’t go past the Hamptons look, says Shaynna Blaze.

One of the most recognisable and interpreted coastal styles can be found in the Hamptons - the summer beachside escape outside New York. While it’s known as the playground of the rich and famous, you don’t need a big budget to inject some of its distinctive style into your own home.

The style is an eclectic mix, moving easily from casual to formal, with its roots in Victorian and Colonial architecture and eras. Recreate the look with a balance of traditional and contemporary design with some rustic touches or luxury details. 

A few key elements define this style, which can easily be adapted for the modern interior.

Timber paneling

The style is synonymous with light and bright spaces, white timber and panelled walls, natural colours and finishes and wide stained-oak timber flooring, often with a sun-bleached look. Or choose a dark timber, black or charcoal finish for a more elegant look. Decorative panelling in the ceiling, walls and cabinetry adds to the nostalgic and more formal feel of the Hamptons style.


Great cabinetry in the kitchen showcases some of the finer details and traditional elements of the Hamptons style. The details are what make this style so special, such as the shaker profile on cabinets, French door glass cabinets, open shelving, mouldings and cornices, teamed with period handles and subway tiles for the splashback. Black stone or marble is the elegant choice for benchtops while a timber finish provides a more casual and rustic look.

The island bench is often in a darker contrasting colour and often takes on some of the elements of a piece of furniture with decorative legs and open shelving or bookshelves on the ends. For a cohesive look throughout the home, continue the detailed cabinetry in floor to ceiling bookshelves as well as the bathroom vanity.


Muted tones like greys, beige, teal, sage, mint green and light blues are popular for walls, painted timber furniture and furnishings. Colour is teamed with loads of fresh white and/or cream, while black or dark charcoal is often used for details such as stairwells and window frames. A pop of yellow adds a lively touch.

Colours of the sand and ocean are rich and can be interpreted as boldly or as softly as you like. Navy and white is also a popular combination, often with touches of red and aqua – a great colour combination with a nautical feel. Pops of brighter colours like yellow, green or blues are generally reserved for outdoor fabrics.

The details

When it comes to furnishings and accessories the style lends itself nicely to both the casual feel of a beachside cottage or the more sophisticated, formal look of a Hamptons mansion.

For a more casual look include indoor plants, wicker or rustic timber baskets, exposed candles grouped together on a rustic tray, natural linen upholstery and cushions, as well as rugs made from coarser natural fibres like jute, sisal and seagrass. Cotton rugs are best reserved for kitchens or small sizes that can be easily washed. Choose lamps made of timber, shell, rope or glass bases with linen shades and delicate patterns.

For a more formal, elegant look choose vases of flowers, accessories with metallic finishes, candles in large glass jars or bowls, soft fabrics like velvet, soft aged leathers, contrasting piping on upholstered furniture and cushions, and rugs made from softer materials such as wool, silk/wool blend or chenille for a deeper and more luxurious pile. Choose lamps made of ceramic, metallic or mirrored finishes with a tailored shade of silk with contrasting trim and bold inner fabric.


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