Bring Hamptons Home with Melinda Hartwright and Annette Nardini

August 24, 2020 Posted by Jo Smithers Hamptons style interiors sideboard and buffet

Hamptons home interiors are bright, light, fresh and airy they make you feel relaxed from the moment you walk in. Therefore it works beautifully with the Australian lifestyle.

We spoke to interior designer Melinda Hartwright and Instagram Influencer Annette Nardini to get their expert advice on the colours, materials, furniture and design features common to Hamptons home interiors, and how you can create the Hamptons style at home.

Melinda Hartwright

Melinda is an interior designer who has helmed a successful boutique residential interior design studio for the past six years. 

Melinda’s many years of experience in building and renovating, provides invaluable insight and expertise. Melinda’s work has featured in many interiors magazines, on social media and she is regularly called upon as a “Hamptons expert” by Home Beautiful magazine.


What do you love about the Hamptons style?
I love the timeless simplicity and relaxed elegance of a classic Hamptons Home inspired interior. It is a style which exudes beautiful classic lines and elegant details. Like a simple colour palette inspired by the ocean and outdoors, combined with natural textures and materials. It is relaxed and inviting, effortless and timeless. 

How would you describe your personal design style?
The Hamptons look has been popular in Australia for almost ten years now. You tend to see it referenced everywhere and for everything. 
My personal design style is one that reflects a classic and timeless design, strongly influenced by American design. By its principles and aesthetics from all over the US and from design periods over the past 100 years. But I equally love classic English and European design too, which also informs my designs. 

I try to incorporate and draw inspiration from beyond the Hamptons, even when a client says they want a “Hamptons home”. The Hamptons Home of course is a beachside holiday destination. So if you want that look in your own home, it’s important to interpret that aesthetic and apply it in a way that is relevant and appropriate to the Australian vernacular and your home’s location. You don’t have to be a slave to a design ethos or style. If you like the Hamptons home style it can certainly be applied to old, new, traditional, modern, beach, town and country homes, by extracting the principles and features that you like most and making them work, so they make sense.

Melinda’s key features of Hamptons inspired interior befitting Australian homes. 

1. The right colours.
Use a coastal inspired colour palette for exterior, like Navy and duck egg blues, beiges, greys and whites. Mixing it with solids, stripes, florals and geometrics in easy to live with natural fabrics such as linen and cotton.

Crisp white painted walls featuring custom paneling using VJ lining boards or wainscoting (chair rail and inlay moulds), plus decorative cornice and skirting details which adds an architectural character and elegance to plain white rooms – my favourite Dulux whites are Vivid White, Snowy Mountains Half and Whisper White

2. Natural flooring.
I favour sisal for bedrooms and living areas, using a larger weave which is softer under foot. If opting for carpet I prefer wool or bamboo with a sisal texture or pattern, rather than a cut pile, in lighter natural tones.

Or natural timber floors, typically in darker cooler tones, preferably with wider planks or parquetry, avoiding red or orange tones.

3. An accent with marble.
Marble features heavily in classic Hamptons interiors whether it is for bench and vanity tops, floor or wall tiles, with mosaics commonly used.

4. Classic window furnishings.
Incorporating simple and elegant curtains with a black or brass rod, in natural linens often with decorative trims, stripes and florals. Use woven textural blinds such as bamboo and matchstick, combined with tailored Roman blinds in statement fabrics.

5. Mix materials and combine new and old pieces.
Materials such as wicker and rattan, bamboo, timber with glass, ceramic and metals in furniture and furnishings. 

For a natural, curated and relaxed feel. Try avoiding that new store bought look, instead use a few antique or vintage pieces for character and warmth.

6. French doors and classic style windows.
Allowing for plenty of light and sunshine. Creating a bright, airy and sun filled space but add a classic design element as well.

7. Classic custom cabinetry and bathroom vanities.
Are a key inclusion in Hamptons homes. Featuring simple profiles such as shaker, combined with stone tops and classic tapware in polished nickel, aged brass and oil rubbed bronze finishes.

8. A statement with wallpaper.
Wallpaper can be used in myriad ways to add colour, texture or pattern to anything from bathrooms and laundries to bedrooms and hallways. Forget the feature walls and just do the whole room for a more cohesive and confident look

9. A mix of beautiful lighting.
To add decorative interest, function and ambience with a combination of wall sconces, flush mounts, statement chandeliers and pendants.

10. Exterior architectural details.
Such as cladding, shingles, chunky posts, pergolas, decorative balustrades. And of course beautifully landscaped gardens featuring masses of hydrangeas, tailored evergreen hedges, potted topiaries, climbing jasmine and white roses.

Annette Nardini

Annette inspires thousands of people on Instagram with her personal home styling.

Her Hamptons inspired home in Perth is perfectly designed with a great eye for detail and constantly changing decor.


What means The Hamptons Style to you personally?
I, like so many other people, have fallen for the calm and classic signature style of The Hamptons and have been working to transform my interior style to reflect the summer homes of Long Island, New York. Although The Hamptons interior style is subjective, I feel in essence rooms are classic in style, filled with natural light, taking colours from a beautiful beach day and feeling calm and effortless.  

What are your essentials for Hamptons decorating?
Key styling elements are hardwood floors, soft white or light grey walls, generous skirting boards and wainscoting, shaker style cabinetry and natural linen fabrics layered with pops of pretty colour or pattern. 

What about your own home, do you have any treasured pieces?
In my home I’ve used mixed metals with some gold accents and the softest blues to feel restful. We’ve upcycled furniture, which helped balance out the mood of splashing out on brand new soft furnishings. There are still many things I would love to do in my home and I am always still learning. I generally refer to it as a big work in progress, but If you’re loving the style of The Hamptons and looking to transform one room or your whole home, don’t feel the need to rush, beautiful rooms happen over time.

Annette’s key features for Hamptons decor.

1. Give attention to doors and windows.
If you’re building or renovating, give careful attention to doors and windows. Consider French and bi-fold doors as well as double hung windows with colonial bars. These add traditional Hamptons inspired features to your home. 

However, if you’re renovating an established property, crisp white internal plantation shutters are a great way to disguise plain windows as they provide the window with framework and filter natural light. For smaller areas like bathrooms and laundries, consider roman blinds in pretty patterns or crisp linen look fabrics. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas.

2. Set a statement with your ceilings.
Don’t forget your ceilings. Raked, recessed, or coffered, there are many ways to make a bold statement with this area of your home. I absolutely adore a porch with a painted pretty blue ceiling and it’s a really pretty way to introduce a splash of colour.

3. Do your homework with flooring. 
If you’re choosing hardwood or hybrid flooring for your beautiful Hamptons inspired home, find out where you can view it laid or at least check the reviews from other consumers. If you’re looking at flooring from a picture on Instagram or Pinterest, keep in mind that many photos are filtered and may look different in real life.

Display homes are a great resource for interiors and most often, the sales rep will be able to tell you the details for the flooring or at least point you in the right direction.

Area rugs are also a fantastic choice for defining a space.  There are many patterned rugs available in store or online but you can also choose a beautiful textured carpet from a retail outlet and have it cut to size and the edges bound.

4. Find the right paint.
Here are my favourites. Dulux Vivid White low sheen for walls, and semi-gloss for doors and trims. Here’s something I’ve learned along the way…  oil based enamel is tougher (fantastic for stair risers and can take the knocks) but it yellows over time (ugh!). In our own home, we recently re-painted the doors with a water-based enamel in Dulux Vivid White. 

If you’re looking for a pretty blue for a bedroom, I can recommend Taubmans Smokey Mood. Looking for an interior grey, my pick is Dulux Snow Season. 

5. Wallpaper is another beautiful addition to Hamptons styling.
I absolutely adore wallpaper and have used a Designers Guild wallpaper in our powder room. If you’re on a budget I would recommend using wallpaper in smaller areas such as a powder room or pantry. Based on the fact that my kids always had air bubbles in their school books that I had covered with self-adhesive contact, I’ve always used a professional for wallpapering 😊

6. The overall styling.
Overall, I think when it comes to Hamptons interior styling, it’s all about the edit. Space is the ultimate luxury. Keep your spaces free from clutter. Add the most beautiful patterns and soft accent colours in cushions. Keep it fresh with greenery or flowers. White orchids and hydrangeas are my choice. I have a mix of fresh and faux in my home. If you follow me on Instagram you probably already know I add faux orchid stems to my real orchids to keep them looking amazing all year round. I also add faux hydrangea stems to vases of fresh cut flowers.

Pair whites with natural textures.  A white coffee table always works well with a rattan tray.

Not everything has to be new.  Some of the most beautiful pieces in my home were pre-loved and then upcycled.

Last but not least, it’s all about you, your family and your home. Enjoy!

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