Summer is in full swing and there’s no better destination to visit this year than the Hamptons. This prestigious enclave, located on the eastern end of Long Island is known for many things but especially its gorgeous homes. The Hamptons look is very specific. Interior designer Jennifer Beek Hunter describes the locale’s aesthetic as effortlessly chic. “We love that the Hamptons can go from the beach to a swanky dinner party. The best thing about Hamptons style is that it is timeless and only gets better with age.”
But according to Hampton’s tastemaker and hostess of the Hamptons Interactive Brunch, Vanessa Gordon, the Hamptons look isn’t just one thing: “Though perhaps famous for its opulence and grand appearance, the Hamptons is unique in the sense that you can have the best of both worlds: the seaside cottage with splashes of white, blues and neutral beige tones and the modern/contemporary mansions that are being built south of the highway,” she says. “These modern mega homes are breezy and spacious with large windows that let in plenty of natural light, and white oak flooring. There is a focus on function and simplicity with vibrant works of art from local and international artists that bring the home to life.”
So how do you make your home look like it belongs to a Sagaponack socialite, even if it’s miles inland? We asked designers who work in the area their best tips and ideas to Hamptons your home.
Start By Thinking East Coast Preppy
While many things define Hamptons style, thinking about an East Coast pretty look is the best way to begin according to Betsy Burnham, Principal Designer of Burnham Design. “Timeless pieces in classic shapes. Stripes. Lots of blue. Vintage case pieces. Slipcovers. Hydrangea. Faded, worn-out rugs. Botanical prints. Rattan. T&G paneling painted white. Dogs. Nautical stuff, but authentic. Collections. Creamy whites. Painted floors.”
Then think about how you can incorporate this concept or these items into your current home. Put a striped pillow on a solid chair. Add a blue vase on an antique table. Buy that rattan armoire you saw at your local antique shop. Create a space that looks as if you’ve spent years choosing every single item, even if it only took weeks or months.
Just Add Patterns And Color
One great way to make a living room or den feel a little more Hamptons is to add patterns throughout. “Try using materials like linen, rattan, driftwood, or patterns such as ticking stripes, checks, or a block print,” says Hunter.
For example, use linen dining chairs or a ticking stripe accent chair. This is also a great opportunity to add a pop of color, which is also very Hamptons.
Choose A Neutral Color Palette
If you like Barbiecore or lime green walls, your home is anything but Hamptons. So, start with a neutral palette and then build from there.
“Maintaining elements such as wood, a neutral color pallet along with relaxed textiles such as linen, neutral upholstery, and organic materials will all help achieve this east coast meets west coast laid back feel,” says Montana Labelle, who has a pop-up shop at Michael Del Piero Good Design Hamptons, which is running until August 1st, 2023.
It’s always tempting to add trendy pieces to any home, but that’s not what Hamptons style is. “If you decorate with timelessness in mind, it’s always going to elevate the end result, as no one wants a time stamp on their rooms,” says Burnham.”I think that’s the biggest takeaway. Trends are fun, and I endorse them—but sprinkle them in sparingly.”
Create Beautiful Outdoor Spaces
Jawdropping outdoor spaces are a hallmark of Hamptons style. Kathryn Eisberg at Owner and Designer at KE Design suggests investing in comfortable seating for both indoor and outdoor areas. “Use neutral colors in different textures (perennial fabrics are a must to protect your investments with overuse, fading, and cleaning). There are now so many fabric lines that offer beautiful and durable indoor/outdoor spot-clean fabrics that won’t fade and can be easily cleaned. This is vital in the Hamptons due to fading from the sun and sunscreen.”
Then fill in the details of the space. “Put large flower pots by your front door (and in the back) in either neutral colors or blue pottery and fill them seasonally with beautiful flowers. Add in lighting and accessories in wicker and glass and cobalt blue or green pottery garden stools.”
Hamptons gardens are colorful and feature a variety of flora and fauna. But perhaps most importantly, they’re perfectly manicured. There shouldn’t be one leaf out of place.
Be A Good Host
The thing about having a home in the Hamptons is that everyone wants to come and visit. So being a good host and knowing how to entertain is key. “Make your guests feel at home by having crisp and soft sheets, place fresh flowers in a small vase, a candle with a fresh scent and even a water bottle on each nightstand. It’s the tiny details that matter the most. A throw at the end of the bed also adds texture and coziness,” says Eisberg.
Buy quality sheets for your guests, even iron them before you put them on the bed. Have fluffy monogrammed towels in the guest bathroom.
Custom Build Storage Spaces
Whether you live in East Hampton or East Lansing, having spaces that not only look beautiful but are also functional is essential. Because the Hamptons aesthetic is generally uncluttered, make sure there is plenty of storage. “Make the space function for guests and entertaining with refined storage spaces that can accommodate guests coming and going will make the home feel uncluttered. Customizing cabinetry, closets, dressers, and tables to your space is our design ethos and makes your home feel one of a kind and tailored to your needs,” says Esther Schattan, cofounder of Ornare, which has a showroom in South Hampton.
Don’t Just Set The Table
If you’re trying to Hampton your home for a party Gordon suggests a less is more approach. “I love my linen cocktail napkins with plenty of personality and quirky phrases that I get from the Monogram Shop on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. I also adore my raffia-wrapped glassware, and rattan woven placemats trimmed with seashells by Two’s Company that add that perfect touch of cozy, coastal comfort.”
Keep In Mind
While there is a lot that defines Hamptons style, there’s a lot that Hamptons style isn’t, explains Gordon, “Clutter, chaos, and clashing. Elements that are not unifying, industrial or urban details. We definitely want to be reminded that we are far from the city. The Hamptons is warm and welcoming, both fun and flirty. And the Hamptons sways away from too much formality or design elements that prioritize aesthetics over comfort. We prefer not to take things too seriously here behind the scenes.”