Gathering shells and sea glass on the beach while sand sifts through your toes. Sipping citrus-y drinks while sitting poolside. Watching the setting sun dip into the water, casting a sparkly ribbon across the waves.
Who wouldn't want to take these vacation memories home?
Many people pop a souvenir or two into the suitcase. But others are so taken with what is known as beach or coastal style that they hope to replicate it at home.
That's easy to do these days as specialty shops, mass retailers and popular catalogs such as Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and L.L. Bean tout the look.
"We see it all the time," says Vicki Sharratt, manager of Pizitz Home & Cottage, in Seaside, Fla. "People who are vacationing here come into the store and fall in love with the pale blues, greens and sandy beiges that make up the color palette that is so popular for beach homes. They will pick up a few accessories, or even bigger pieces to use in their own home.
"They especially like the sisal and seagrass rugs and the linen-y slipcovers," she says. "It's a carefree way of decorating that creates a special kind of mood."
Elizabeth Beeler, homes editor of Coastal Living magazine, says a touch of the beach can add a special accent to your home. Even little things can change the mood of a room, she says.
"Accent pillows in a tropical color, artwork of a lovely beach scene, even a throw that stands apart. All can help recall wonderful memories."
There are many ways to bring the beach home - through color, themes, collections and more.
A recent issue of Color It Coastal magazine, published by Coastal Living, featured a variety of color palettes reminiscent of beach settings:
Seaglass - cool shades of pale blues and greens that provide a soothing mood.
Natural - soft browns and beiges that are subtle and never go out of style.
Pastel - powdery shades of blue, yellow and pink that work particularly well against a crisp-white background.
Citrus - yellows, oranges and lime greens.
Blue-and-white - the classic nautical combination.
But "a neutral palette works well in homes found in any part of the country, and allows a special vacation purchase in a bolder color to . . . stand apart," Beeler says.
Motifs that evoke warm-weather settings include tropical flowers, surfing accessories, palm trees, even simple awning stripes. Shells can surround candles in tall glass hurricane shades. Starfish or sand dollars can perch on dark-wood shelving.
Sometimes, people get carried away and buy kitschy items that look out of place away from the beach. That's why many interior designers, including Jane Klein, prefer bringing back practical items.
"Scarves can be turned into pillows," she says, "or dish towels and beach towels actually can be put to good use once you get home."