Top interior designers share their tips on building a Hamptons style home

This article on tips for building a Hamptons style home came about thanks to a reader’s request! So to get the best and most useful advice, we spoke to some of our fave interior designers and it’s jam packed with their best tips and tricks.

We LOVE it when you guys send us article requests! It’s content we know you want to see, and helps us make Style Curator the best interiors and design platform possible!

Related article: Where I started when designing and building our new home
Related article: Real homes: Classic Queenslander meets Hamptons chic

What is Hamptons style?

The Hamptons to New Yorkers, is like Bondi for Sydney-siders. Or Noosa for Queenslanders. Or Brighton to Victorians. Basically, posh, expensive and by the water.

Hamptons styling is all about crisp whites, breezy blues, timber accents, natural fibers and light, bright interiors. Think coastal dreaming with luxe and sophistication. So it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular design styles around.

Classic Queensland Hamptons home — See the full home tour here

Tips on building a Hamptons style home

When it comes to building a new home, there are a million decisions you need to make and getting the materials palette right is critical to achieving your design vision. We asked some of our fave interior designers how they’d tackle the exterior of a Hamptons style home.

Hamptons home exterior_dark_JamesHardie
Image via James Hardie

External materials

“A classic Hamptons style home will have a clean horizontal cladded exterior,” says Catherine Heraghty from The Stables.

“We recommend using a horizontal weatherboard cladding. James Hardie has a fantastic range we frequently use. And by adding texture to the exterior with sandstone, you’ll get that hallmark Hamptons look you’re after.”

Michelle Hart from Bask Interiors suggests thinking about where your home is located to ensure your exterior is up to the challenge.

“For homes in an urban setting, you can simply use conventional weatherboards,” she says.

“However if you’re close to the sea, you’ll want something a bit more durable and long-lasting such as Scyon Linea. For your roof, Colorbond steel will give you a modern look that’s well suited to Australian weather conditions.”

Key points: Horizontal weatherboard cladding is the top choice.

Fibre cement weatherboards_James Hardie
Image via James Hardie

Paint choices — outside

“For a Hamptons inspired exterior colour scheme, I love light grey weatherboards with white and charcoal trims,” says interior designer Gabrielle Reinhardt from Berkeley Interiors.

Allira Bell, Stylist for Temple & Webster says paint choices can often depend on your home’s location. “For urban contemporary streetscapes, go for dark charcoal. If you’re in a more traditional area, lighter blue exterior paints blend in well,” she says.

Catherine agrees with keeping things simple to achieve the Hamptons look. “For the exterior of the home, we recommend keeping it very neutral, focussing on whites and greys,” she says.

Exterior weatherboards_James Hardie
Image via James Hardie

The choice and range of paint colours can be extremely overwhelming, so we asked our stylists to break it down for us!

Whites

Light greys

Dark greys

Key points: Keep the colour palette simple and neutral, opting for a contrasting trim colour.

Kiama home_lounge_TheStables
Image via The Stables

Paint choices — inside

Many paint choices in the Hamptons style work beautifully both inside and out.

As Catherine says, “To me, a Hamptons colour palette is pared back in calm and warm tones. It relies on muted greys, creamy whites and neutrals accentuated with soft blues and greens.”

Gabrielle says white is always a good place to start before building from there.

“I like to use white walls with accents in greys, light blues or greens and navy,” she says.

“When it comes to somewhere like your kitchen, I love navy blue cabinetry with white walls and marble benchtops for that classic Hamptons look. I also love cool greys for walls and using a bit of light blue.”

Erskineville kitchen dining_farmhouse sink
The Erskineville project — see the full room reveal here

Allira agrees, saying fresh white and coastal blues scream Hamptons.

Opt for cooler whites featuring blue or grey undertones to create an airy atmosphere.

“To contrast crisp whites, choose deep blue tones to ground your space and inspire effortless style. And while it can go anywhere, rich navy is especially gorgeous in bedrooms or formal areas,” she says.

Whites and lights

Darker accent colours

Key points: White is King. Add accents of greys, coastal blues and greens with heavier accents in navy.

Flooring

One of the biggest decisions (and most expensive) when it comes to building a Hamptons style home (or any home for that matter) is flooring. So you wanna get it right!

Wood

“Timber floors are a trademark element for a Hamptons style home, whether they are real timber or engineered flooring,” says Catherine.

Melanie Tomlinson from Melanie Tomlinson Design also loves wood flooring and suggests a herringbone pattern to give it that true, authentic Hamptons feel.

“Reclaimed or engineered wide oak longboards are a wonderful choice. The range from Euroak or Havwoods is amazing. We especially love these herringbone wood floors,” she says.

“When it comes to the colour and finish, it all depend on what ‘level’ of Hamptons style you are going for. For a paired back contemporary style, we’d suggest using straight boards with a lighter finish.

For something a little more detailed, go with a herringbone layout and a darker finish. You might also like to consider adding a straight border to the perimeter.

The range from Wildwood Flooring, is one Gabrielle loves, choosing the solid French oak floors or parquetry in light oak.

Michelle suggests looking for a floorboard with a grey undertone and agrees that herringbone or chevron adds that extra pop of Hamptons flair.

Layer floorboards with textural jute or sisal rugs in living or dining spaces.

Key points: Herringbone wooden floors are your key to nailing that Hamptons style flooring.

Natural stone flooring_Mystonefloor
Image via My stone floor

Stone and tile

If stone is more your thing, you can still keep it Hamptons by going with the natural stone look.

“For floors, a large format, natural stone in layouts such as herringbone or French laid is perfect. Or you could even opt for a patterned layout using marble or natural stone,” suggests Melanie.

“Another option is Limestone Chalford or Garonne from Eco Outdoors as they’re fabulous and timeless. The beauty of these products is they can be used both indoors and out with coordinating finishing levels.”

Key points: Keep stone flooring natural and consider using the same tile indoors and out (just changing the finish).

Carpet and rugs

If you’d prefer something warmer and soft underfoot, the obvious choice is carpet or a textured rug.

“High-quality carpeting in neutral and stone colours will set the tone for your interior spaces and layer with beautiful, luxurious rugs that add texture,” says Catherine.

Where to shop

Key points: Go for carpet or rugs with a textured feel in neutral and stone colours.

The Stables_white bathroom
Image via The Stables

Tiles

The choices are endless when it comes to tiles but according to our interior design experts, subway tiles are top of the list.

The quintessential tile for a Hamptons style home is a subway tile.

“You can bring in your accents of colour and texture with tiles, especially in your wet areas such as in bathrooms and the laundry. Have fun with a feature tiles in olive or royal blue tones,” Catherine says.

Michelle and Gabrielle both agree mosaic tiles are a gorgeous choice.

“Mosaic tiles for the floor in a bathroom look amazing,” says Gabrielle. “Another fave for me are encaustic tiles in beautiful patterns in blue and white, grey and white, or black and white.”

Encaustic tiles_Tile Republic
Image via Tile Republic

Michelle also recommends encaustic tiles but suggests using them for an entrance space to make a real statement and impact.

“White tiles for walls in square patterns or a subway style are great,” she says. “This marble mosaic patterned feature tile is so dreamy and would look amazing in a Hamptons style home.”

Melanie says it’s all about your style, preference and personality.

“There are a myriad of choices out there, but traditionally, Hamptons style is a mosaic feature or subway-style wall tile. The most popular choices are Carrara marble, or glazed porcelain finishes in herringbone, hexagon or subway patterns.

“For those who are a little more daring, try concrete encaustic tiles. These have a little more punch with great monochromatic and bright colours to choose from.”

Where to shop

Key points: Subway tiles are a fool-proof choice or add in a twist with mosaic or encaustic patterned tiles.

Dunlin Madison pendant
Image via Dunlin

Lighting

The lights in your home can make a real statement, especially when you’re going for a particular theme or style. If you’re building, you might like to check out this super helpful article about electrical and lighting decisions from Gina’s own home build.

Wall sconce by Soktas
Image via Soktas

There are a few lighting fixtures and styles that just scream Hamptons such as a wall sconce in black, brass or white. For a traditional Hamptons style light, many of our experts agreed the glass pendant feature light is a must. This triangular brass pendant placed in a void or in the kitchen would also work a treat.

If black is too harsh for your space, Michelle suggests going for a light with a mix of chrome and glass. This popular choice is more of an industrial-style pendant, and comes in a range of colours.

Hamptons kitchen
Image via Houzz

“If you’re leaning more towards the coastal Hamptons look, rattan pendants can make for a more natural, warmer texture in your lighting choice,” Michelle says.

Catherine says lighting is extremely important to make a statement in an otherwise pared back room.

To achieve the Hamptons look, details matter. This remains true for your lighting choices. Big, beautiful pendants draw the eye up and create interest in the pared back and muted palettes of your room.

“You can bring texture into your lighting choices using rattan and linen. Think about doing this through a floor or table lamp,” she says.

Allira uses light to create ambience. “Table lamps with glass or ceramic bases and natural linen shades add casual elegance to a room. Designs incorporating seaworthy materials like rope, feel very Hamptons coastal.

“You can’t go past whitewashed rattan pendants with modern, classic silhouettes for perfect mood lighting over dining tables or kitchen benches,” she says.

“Wall sconces are very typical for Hampton’s houses. We love seeing them in key areas like bedrooms or hallways. And don’t forget outdoor lighting too!”

Where to shop

Key points: For classic Hamptons, think a statement glass pendant light and wall sconces throughout your home. For coastal Hamptons, opt for rattan or basket pendant lights.

Hamptons home living room details
Classic Queensland Hamptons home — See the full home tour here

Hamptons decor

This is not so much about building a Hamptons style home, but we believe decor and decorative items make your house a home. Here are the top picks for must-have decor pieces in any Hamptons style home according to the experts.

“For me, must-have Hamptons decor would include textural pieces like rattan baskets and trays, jute rugs and decor items like natural coral or seashells,” says Michelle.

“I’d choose a colour theme in predominantly white, grey and pale blue or sage green. Then I’d add in touches of black and metal such as brass or chrome, and offset against warm timbers.”

Allira suggests bringing in decor pieces with texture.

“Inject tactility with coastal sculptures like coral or hyacinth pieces and create large impact with jute area rugs. Offset those beachy vibes with chic decor like mirrored trays or ceramic vases.

“For furniture pieces, invest in shaker style cabinetry for lasting style and weathered oak furniture to resonate the coastal theme throughout different spaces,” she says.

“We love a beautiful wall hook and functional storage box to hold all the bits and pieces. Perhaps kept in the entrance to the home, on a laundry shelf or in the mudroom,” says Melanie.

Large woven baskets are perfect to store extra throw rugs and cushions in living spaces.”

Gabrielle loves adding a touch of rattan to furniture pieces. “Perhaps go for a rattan armchair, side table or coffee table,” she suggests. “I also can’t go past sisal rugs or flooring, or custom furnishings in Ralph Lauren fabrics.”

Where to shop

Key points: Texture is your friend and baskets are life! Choose a colour palette you love and stick to either the classic or coastal Hamptons theme to avoid a mish-mash of style.

Classic Queensland Hamptons home — See the full home tour here

Thank you so much to all our experts!
Allira Bell Temple & Webster style team
Catherine Heraghty The Stables
Gabrielle Reinhardt Berkeley Interiors
Melanie Tomlinson Melanie Tomlinson Design
Michelle Hart Bask Interiors

So what did you think of our experts advice on how to build a Hamptons style home? Have you picked up any hints or tips for your place? Tell us in the comment section below!

More building and renovating advice articles here

Baskets storage_Hamptons
Image via Houzz
Wall hooks_Melanie Tomlinson
Hamptons styling image via Melanie Tomlinson
Entry via Houzz
Image via Houzz

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