Creating an Australian take on the Hamptons look

Love Hamptons style, but live Down Under? Here’s how to nail the classic American look, with tweaks suited to our antipodean landscape.

Bunnings magazine, March 2020

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 thats 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 shouldnt 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." 

pale coloured living room with coastal accents

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).”

how to select an accent colour palette

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.

kitchen with off-white cabinets, contrasting matte black handles and a white marbled bench top
A palette of clean white, soft grey and natural light wood gets a modern feel when combined with black fittings in this Kaboodle kitchen

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.

featured colour palette and products

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.
pastel bedroom featuring deep teal tones, rattan bedside table and vj panel walls

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

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. 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. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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