Nantucket is a popular second-home and vacation destination located 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
It is known for its stunning beaches, picturesque harbors, untouched nature, and historic buildings. In fact, what used to be the whaling hub of the world today is a National Historic District.
Thanks to the continuous efforts of the local authorities, organizations, and community, the buildings in Nantucket are preserved as they were during the glorious whaling and fishing times.
No doubt, a large part of the charm of this idyllic island comes from its very specific and recognizable architecture, design, and interior décor style.
The New England colonial-style buildings are typical. So are the soft gray shingle-style cottages with little ornamentation, asymmetrical outlines, and large porches covered with blooming roses typical for Nantucket.
You can enjoy residing in one of these houses if you decide to rent one for your trip or vacation there. This will allow you to get a feeling of what living in such a home is.
Here are some ideas if you love the historic elegance combined with the whimsical nautical elements of Nantucket and want to bring some of this seashore appeal to your home.
Natural fibers and rattan for your indoors and outdoors
You may want to add some natural materials and textures to your home for a more coastal feeling. Some of the typical materials which will bring some of that Nantucket style to your house include rattan or wicker furniture, rugs, drapes, cushions, and other décor elements. Choose items made of natural fibers such as cotton, wool, sisal, linen, and more.
Upholstery made of linen
You can transform your current furniture into a Nantucket-style one by adding linen upholstery. This natural texture is very typical of the coastal homes on this New England island.
Linen is breathable, eco-friendly, and will add some lightness to your interior. It will also help you feel more comfortable both in hot and colder weather.
You can play with the colors of the linen upholstery, depending on your personal taste. Some of the typical colors for Nantucket include blue, white, gray, of course, the Nantucket red, and other pastel colors. You can also pick linen upholstery with whimsical patterns for your home décor.
Paint your floors
Adding fresh and new paint to your floor is an easy and cost-effective way to achieve that dreamy Nantucket look. Many of the quaint seaside cottages on the island have painted floors that are not only lovely but are very practical too.
You can renovate your old floor by choosing a new color that will conceal the wear and tear. Plus, some colors help open up the space or change the mood of the whole room.
The best part is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to color choice. If you are feeling even more adventurous, you can add some patterns or effects on your floors with stencils or paint splatters as well.
Add those whimsical nautical elements
The years of whaling and fishing have tremendously affected every aspect of Nantucket. This includes the architecture and exterior and interior designs.
To bring this feeling to your home, you can add as many nautical elements to your décor as you want. The possibilities are endless – from whale carvings to boards with boat names, lighthouses, seashells, and more.
You can purchase some fantastic nautical-style décor items, art, and paintings when visiting Nantucket from the many galleries, antique shops, and souvenir shops.
But be careful not to turn your home into a fisherman’s theme park, and use the nautical elements with style and within reason.
Add some antiques
Known as the whaling capital of the world and a prominent trading hub in the 18th century, Nantucket attracted a lot of sailors and foreign visitors and influences.
So, it is pretty common to find vintage items from England, the Netherlands, and Portugal among the decorations in the homes, eateries, and other buildings on the island.
So, you can add one or a few European antique items to your home as well. You may want to pick vintage artwork which still has some nautical elements or colors. Some typical Portuguese or Dutch antique items which are popular in many Nantucket homes include wood chests, white and blue pottery, barley-legged furniture, and more.
Stick to the Nantucket style colors
If you have been to Nantucket, you have probably noticed that there are some predominant colors used for the exteriors of the houses and other buildings, as well as inside them.
The blues, grays, whites, greens, and browns are inspired by the ocean, sun, nature, and the sky. But there are some very specific colors for Nantucket, such as the cranberry bog red and the navy blue, which can be found inside and outside many houses too.
It is an interesting fact that the local Nantucket Historic District Commission has a set list of 12 approved historic colors. Only they can be used for painting and repainting houses and other buildings on the island. The 12 historic colors included are white, main street yellow, Tristram’s red, Folger blue, Nantucket red, Newport blue, cobblestone, Nantucket blue, Quaker gray, gardener green, Nantucket gray, and hussy green.
You can add some home décor items in the recognizable faded red from the Nantucket Reds Collection. It is available only in the Murray Toggery store on Main Street in Nantucket.
Typical design elements for Nantucket
If you want to achieve that authentic Nantucket-style look for your home, you should keep in mind the typical elements, materials, furniture, colors, and accessories found in the majority of the homes and other buildings on the island.
Firstly, choose natural elements for your interior and exterior design if possible. Weathered natural wood is one of the most recognizable materials used in Nantucket. It is used for the sidings, shakes, shutters, and other parts of the houses there.
Natural stone, too, is very typical for Nantucket. You will commonly see slate or stone fireplaces in the homes on the island, and many of the streets and foundations are cobblestoned.
As mentioned above, wool, linen, cotton, and other naturally hewn fabrics are other elements essential for Nantucket’s style and design.
The furniture there varies from elegant vintage to simple painted or distressed finished wood. For a Nantucket cottage look, you may want to consider buying or making your own furniture with s pickled stain or another distressed finish and worn edges.
Last but not least, to give your home a Nantucket feel, you should consider adding some window boxes filled with blooming flowers. Flowers are everywhere in Nantucket, so don’t hesitate to add them to your garden, window sills, and indoors too.