Bringing the beach home

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There are few places that have a more calming influence over us than the beach. The sand, the sun, the surf, the flip flops...what's not to like? The ocean has a calming effect that touches all aspects of life -- from transportation to fashion to food to architecture. Even though we live a good eight hours from any beach, we decided years ago to bring the beach culture into our home in order to create a simple, carefree vibe in our daily lives. Here are five ways we do it:

1. Choose neutral wall colors: We like white, but a soft beige or gray would also work well. Not crazy about neutrals? Other good beach colors are blue and yellow. 2. Use natural fibers: Cotton slipovers and linen curtains give off a breezy vibe. They are also easy to clean. 3. Add beach-inspired art: Examples include classic beach photography, antique paintings of water scenes, vintage beach posters and abstract art in beachy tones. You could also frame a collection of sea shells, feathers or sand dollars as three-dimensional art. 4. Proudly display finds from past beach trips: We like piles of beach stones in old wooden bowls, hundreds of seashells in a glass vessel, a piece of driftwood as a paper weight and a collection of sand dollars in a shadow box. Beach shop souvenirs count toward your beach finds. If a necklace, blanket or pair of shoes reminds you of the beach, then put it in a place where you see it everyday and use it often! 5. Read, listen, watch: There are hundreds of great books, movies, CDs and records that help you get in touch with your inner beach bum. Some of our favorites are Endless Summer by The Beach Boys, Beaches by Gideon Bosker and Lena Lencek and the movie Beach Party.

*Share with Gerald & Joan: We'd love to see photos of your favorite beach and how you bring it back home with you! Simply tag us in your Facebook photos to continue the beachy inspiration!

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