Lake House Interior Design Guide

There is little that is more aspirational than having a home by a body of water. Whether it is on the shores of a lake, a beach, or along a river front, having a home with a water view is the epitome of relaxed, casual living. If you are planning a lakeside retreat of your own, there are several design considerations you should examine to make sure you maximize your water view and embody all of the benefits of nature.

What is Special about Lake House Interior Design?

Since you have landed here, you might be wondering if there is anything different about designing and decorating a lake house versus a home that is in a neighborhood or on a piece of property. The answer is yes and no. While there are some unique considerations to designing a lake house, there are also some best practices and general rules of thumb that apply to interior design across all homes.

It’s All About the View

The major difference about designing a lake house is that it is all about that view! In other homes, designers create focal points in entertaining spaces and great rooms with fire places, art, or other architectural elements. However, in a lake house, your focal point is the best nature has to offer. This most often means that there are many large windows that face out toward the view you are trying to capture, and nature becomes your focal point.

Having this key focal point should influence the design and layout of the entire home and capture a true indoor-outdoor experience. If you have a lakefront home, you likely want to still experience the lake from the moment you walk inside. This is one of the most important design considerations of your home.

In this rendering of a project underway, you can see that even in the entry way and kitchen, there are views out to the water.

A lake house entry way rendering that features an open staircase and sweeping views of the lake.

A view of the lake out of the kitchen sink window.

Personal Style Still Matters

One significant similarity between the interior design of a lake house and designing any other space, is that your unique, signature style is still important. In design, we strive to tell your story throughout your space. We want you to be surrounded by beauty and meaning, and we do this through art, objects, color, and materials.

Pinterest and Instagram have helped interior design to become more mainstream and have also contributed to proliferating design styles. Gone are the days when a singular design style is “in” and all the rest are “out.”

Today, there are many popular design styles and homeowners often do not want to be combined to just one style. The interiors we are creating for people successfully blend old and new, classic and cutting edge. The same can be true for your lake house. Do not feel like you have to limit yourself to blue and white stripes and boat oars on the wall.

Lake House Décor Styles

Lake house living, either as a primary residence or vacation home, tends to be a more casual environment. If this is a getaway, you will want spaces that are conducive to relaxing. If this is a primary residence, you will still want spaces that align with your natural exterior environment.

The great thing about “casual” design is that it really is not a specific design style at all. You could have modern casual, contemporary casual, or even traditional casual style. Casual style is all about comfort and ease of living, and this can be accomplished across a variety of design styles.

In the current lake house projects we are working on, one client has embraced a traditional style that nods to nautical elements and classic Cape Cod homes. The other project is a blend of modern and bohemian styles that still convey relaxation and a slower pace of life. Even though this home’s design is more modern, there are still many classic elements throughout that will make it timeless.

The dining room, looking into the kitchen of a lake house.

Lake House Color Palette

Casual design incorporates lots of neutral and soft colors. This is not to say that you can make a bold statement here and there, but we take our queues from the nature around us to create a color palette that facilitates the indoor-outdoor living experience we are trying to capture.

The bathroom in this Lake Tapps, Washington project is a great example of this. You can see the earth tones in blues, greens, and browns, but they are presented in a fun way.

A powder bathroom at the lake house in Lake Tapps, WA.

Best Materials for Lake House Interior Design

In addition to a color palette that gestures toward the home’s natural surroundings, good lake house interiors will also utilize a lot of natural materials and finishes. Looking back at the powder bathroom example above, you can see natural elements included in the wood vanity.

In addition, beautiful wood and marble play a predominant role in this kitchen through the light fixtures and large islands.

Another view of the lake house kitchen.

Lake House Textiles and Décor

In a home that will be conducive to a lot of indoor-outdoor living, we opt for durable fabrics in forgiving colors and patterns. One thing you may opt-out of in the textile department is traditional window treatments. Particularly on windows that provide your main lake view, you may elect to use minimal window treatments, or even none at all if that is a possibility.

There are many elements and factors that must be considered when designing your dream lake house, and we look forward to sharing more of our Pacific Northwest lake house projects as they are completed – so stay tuned!