You may have heard a designer say that a home should have a “sense of place.” That means homes just feel more comfortable when the materials, furniture, and decor elements¬† relate to the home’s environment. Sense of place elements should be fairly subtle, and they should be fairly consistent throughout the home. For example, if you life in a coastal environment you could add a sense of place by loading up on nautical-themed textiles and accessories, but the overall feeling will be more kitschy than sophisticated. Here are some examples of how we added a sense of place to our clients’ homes – while avoiding kitsch:

sense of place

We used subtle elements in our Sophisticated Beach project to convey a strong, but not overt, sense of place. Ship lap walls are standard in Charleston and other coastal towns where homes were often constructed from materials salvaged from old ships. Framed shells are a nod to the nearby beach, and add energy to a simple vignette without being too obvious at first glance.

sense of place

Framed local maps are another subtle way to bring in elements of your natural environment. Check your local marine supply store for maps, or local merchants who specialize in historical maps. Often these maps are a good source of inspiration for a larger color palette.

sense of place

This bedroom features an antique wicker chair, a mirror framed in oyster shells and a tabletop vignette of shells and other beach treasures.

sense of place

On the patio retreat, a seahorse made of local driftwood claims the place of honor over a fireplace mantle made of reclaimed local wood.