Hamptons style interior design originates from the lavish holiday homes of the area of Long Island known as “The Hamptons”. These homes are the American take on the traditional French styles of Baroque, Rococo and Empire — with clean lines, repeating patterns and good quality finishes, being consistent across all of these designs.
Hamptons style has grown in popularity in Australia recently, due to its sophisticated coastal vibe that comes across as effortless yet refined. As a coastal dwelling nation, we are naturally drawn to this light, fresh and airy aesthetic that feels relaxed and inviting and can be tweaked to suit most people’s tastes.
This ultimate guide identifies the top eight design features of the Hamptons style.
As this style is based on the holiday homes of the wealthy, the interiors are usually spacious with generous proportions and a flowing open plan layout, making living in these homes just like being on vacation.
White is the main base colour for all Hamptons style interiors, with other neutrals and beiges also high on the list. You will see this bright, light theme repeated through every room of the house, mixing in elements of other coastal colours — in particular blues.
Traditionally, navy blue is used throughout Hampton style interiors for a strong contrast to the whites and neutrals and to bring in a bit of a nautical feel. However, a more modern take melds in other tones of blues, layering shades from navy all the way through to baby blues.
Greens are also featured throughout the home, with foliage and indoor plants used to freshen up the palette. Easy-care plants such as pothos and striking exotic orchids, are commonly used to bring life into these homes.
Black or bronze accents are common, particularly in finishes like tapware and door handles. This blends seamlessly with the warm neutral tones and pops of blue and green. The overall feeling puts you at ease and feels effortless and chic.
A key design element is that all of the tones used in Hamptons style are found in nature, bringing the outdoors inside for comfortable living.
Examples of this, include natural woods (often whitewashed or bleached) and a whole spectrum of natural stone from sandstone to marble, as well as neutrals from cane and rattan.
Again, that natural element is at play with the fabrics used in Hamptons style interiors favouring linens, wools, cotton, and silks.
The focus is on the interplay between natural fibres and textures while staying true to the light, bright and luxurious aesthetic. This means woods are usually blonde or whitewashed to lighten up the room and carpet is used sparingly.
The layering of textures is common — for example, a living room with a white linen lounge would be layered with a chunky beige natural wood throw, scattered neutral cushions, and perhaps one or two monochromatic patterned focal pieces. Stripes are often used due to their nautical ties, as are chequered or gingham prints.
As these homes are based on holiday homes of the wealthy, they tend to be set up for entertaining and the choice of furniture and placement is especially important to this.
The flow between rooms is one key feature of Hamptons style interior, with the formal lounge often leading into the formal dining room, through the kitchen and out to the outdoor entertaining area.
Arranging your furniture in a way that fosters conversation and group entertaining is essential. Typically, a large lounge will anchor the room, along with upholstered grand armchairs in bold navy patterns, ottomans, banquette seating, and even window seats.
The key important feature of furniture seen in Hamptons style homes, is the quality, with items often being traditional in style but superior in quality — including materials and craftsmanship. You won’t see wood veneer, or cheap knotted pine woods here — only high-quality oaks and other blonde hardwoods.
With the base colour of Hamptons style homes being a bright white, lighting plays an important role in setting the mood. Overhead lights are often sculptural pendant pieces, and multiple sources of light are often used with floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces adding to the lighting mix. This sets the tone for entertaining, without harsh overhead lighting.
Wall sconces mounted in the bathroom around mirrors add traditional charm, and diffused warm yellow light bulbs are a must – definitely no bright white or fluorescent bulbs here!
Natural finishes are again top of the list for flooring choices in Hamptons style homes, with timber floorboards seen as a popular choice due to their longevity and adaptability.
There is a broad spectrum of types of wood that lend themselves to this style, with light oaks, ashy hardwoods, and even darker walnuts and teaks — with the darker tones grounding the space and bringing some structure to the light whites and neutrals seen throughout the rest of the interior.
Natural stone is often used in bathrooms and focal points such as the entryway or to lead from the open plan kitchen out to outdoor entertaining areas. Light sandstones, travertines, granite, and even slate are often used and of course, marble is a popular choice.
Carpets are not often used in the main entertaining and communal areas of the home, however, light-coloured carpets with low pile can be used in bedrooms to add some warmth and texture.
Floor rugs are popular in communal rooms of the house to add a focal point to the room and bring together separate furniture pieces to a cohesive whole.
For example, the formal living room may consist of two large couches, two to three armchairs, and a few ottomans, all placed strategically on a large patterned rug to draw the pieces together.
The facade of these homes is often the first clue of what to expect inside the home.
Traditionally, these homes were located by the seaside in Long Island where they were susceptible to severe weather such as high winds, salty air and needed to be hardy, yet appealing. The facade of your home not only contributes to the street appeal but also sets the first impression, so it’s important to get right!
The clean lines of weatherboard panelling are a key element of Hamptons style homes, offering not only weather protection but also a timeless elegance.
Hamptons style facades are often painted in light neutral tones, crisp clean whites and the addition of a navy blue pop for contrast.
Bringing a sense of grandeur to the external makeup of your home, think about large porches or verandahs with architectural features such as a pitched gable roof, sizeable columns and ornamental fretwork.
The intricate and ornamental embellishments continues indoors, with detailed trim along the skirting boards, decorating ceilings, cornices and moulding. These are not overly showy, as they are muted with the same crisp whites and neutral tones seen throughout the interior of a Hamptons style home.
Another popular design element, is tongue-and-groove shiplap, or wainscoting which is wall panelling that covers the lower portion of the wall. This brings a protective function — adding a layer over the wall material and paint — but it is also decorative.
Shiplap evokes a coastal vibe naturally, as it gets its name from the style of overlapping joint that was once used to make ships.
The Hamptons style is a sophisticated, coastal vibe that comes across as effortless, luxurious and refined.
With the style growing in popularity in Australia every year, it’s becoming easier to design, build and style your own Hamptons style home. These days, most interior decorating retailers in Australia, carry a “Hamptons style” line of furniture, decor, and soft furnishings, making it easy to achieve the look without expensive custom pieces.
If you follow the eight design elements discussed in this ultimate guide — including, generous proportions, colours, fabrics, furniture, lighting, flooring, outdoor weatherboard panelling and indoor panelling — you’ll be on your way to a stunning Hamptons style look!
Here at Achieve Homes, we have a range of designs for those looking to build a home in the Hamptons style — including panelled facades, open-plan flowing floor plans and of course the finishes to suit!
Interested in learning more? Why not drop into one of our Selection Studios where you can chat with our interior designers about specific elements of a Hamptons style home. Alternatively, you can chat to one of our friendly sales team who will be able to talk you through our Achieve Designs, or alternatively a custom design and build.
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