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Here's how to nail the classic American Hamptons look, with tweaks suited to an Australian antipodean landscape.

While traditional Hamptons decor schemes have quite a formal approach, the Australian take focuses more on simplicity and laid-back living, as Rachel Rimmer of colour consultancy Hello Colour explains.

“Aussies have taken key elements of the Hamptons look, such as white walls, indoor–outdoor spaces and natural materials, to create a vibe that's more relaxed,” she says.

As well as the warm whites, soft greys, coastal accents and natural light wood tones synonymous with the classic style, the ‘new Hamptons' look includes colours inspired by the Australian landscape.

“The Aussie look includes a considered use of rich browns, charcoals and black to add depth and warmth to living spaces, while soft blues, greens and corals gently infuse colour,” adds Rachel Lacy, colour category manager for Taubmans.

Get tactile with texture

For furniture and furnishings, think understated luxury. The Hamptons look shouldn't be too fussy, and this is especially true in Australia, where the focus is on creating a feeling of lived-in elegance.

“Natural materials and textures complement the Hamptons scheme best – think dark timber floors and solid statement furniture, stone benchtops, exposed brass tapware and matt black fixtures on doors and windows,” says Rachel Lacy.

“Coastal-inspired furniture and woven jute rugs retain their place in ‘new Hamptons' schemes, mixed with layered throws and cushions drawing on complementary patterns and hues." 

Coastal inspired furniture, white dining table, couch and TV set in a lounge interior.

A sense of balance

The secret to creating a harmonious look is balance. “We recommend following the 60-30-10 rule,” says Rachel Lacy. “Start by choosing a hero colour – perhaps a soft teal – for 30 per cent of the palette across your walls and interior decoration elements, and then complement this with a warm light grey or white (60 per cent). Finally, add an accent in a mid-tone pastel such as pale blue, sea glass green or coral (10 per cent).”

Material world

Marble and stone also form part of the look, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. The splashback offers a chance to add visual interest, with subway or herringbone tiles both firm favourites.

At all times, choose texture: furniture in wicker, rattan or timber; rugs in sisal, dhurrie or cotton; layered linen; tapware and lighting fixtures in polished nickel or matt black; and lots of indoor greenery.

Black tap, sink and white cupboards with black handles in a kitchen space.

The right whites

“A light and airy colour scheme anchored by white walls creates a sense of generous proportions and can be updated with pops of colour without needing constant refreshing,” says Kelly Magee, colour expert at British Paints.

When choosing white, go for a shade with warmish undertones to soften the overall look. Or, if you decide on a soft grey as the main colour, use a bright white like Dulux Vivid White for woodwork, including doors, windows, ceiling, skirtings and architraves, to keep it all feeling fresh.

Material matters

Panelling is a classic inclusion in Hamptons style. Inside, think on-trend VJ boards, used full or half height, or panelling to dado rail height for a more traditional look.

Outdoors, weatherboards are a timeless look, but there is variety here too. Look for smooth, shallow shadow lines for a more modern feel or deeper ones for a traditional look.

Watch it

See our video on how to install VJ wall panels.

Green weatherboards in a bedroom interior with bed, cushions and side table.

Photography credit: Three Birds Renovations, Kaboodle Kitchen and James Hardie


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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.