Optimizing your ocean or city view requires pre-planning on your part. In custom homes, the architect should design and place windows to take advantage of the views, says Dorian Hunter of Dorian Hunter Interior Design in Fullerton. The appropriate type of overhang to protect against the sun should also be incorporated into the architecture.
Then the view can be accentuated with simple decorating ideas:
* Emphasize the outdoors with the use of natural materials and the colors of nature indoors. "The color of the sky and the water is exciting in itself," says Newport Beach interior designer Eva Lennen. "Borrow and take from it as much as you can."
* Lighten up rooms to emphasize a view by painting walls and cupboards white. Pastel walls that lighten up a potentially dark room and accentuate outdoor colors also work well.
* Regulate sunlight with shutters. Constant bright sunlight can fade draperies and sea air can cause further deterioration and rotting.
When selecting shutters, consider the size. Wide-slat plantation shutters at the Balboa Peninsula residence of Doris and Paul Bogner allow a maximized, but well-shaded view of sunbathers on the beach and tourists on the Balboa Pier.
* Use drapery treatments to control the water reflection. For a Bay Island home, John Garcia, interior designer and owner of Corona del Mar-based Planit Design Studio, added blinds above the doorway to be used during the day.
* With an ocean view, consider drapery treatments that close up the room at night when the Pacific becomes what Garcia calls "a large black void." Use drapes that have sun-resistant backing (such as those used to accessorize yachts) to prevent fading during the bright day.
* Generous use of indoor and outdoor plants emphasize any natural view.
* Use mirrors to maximize even the smallest window view. Mary Petropoulus' condo at Villa Balboa in Newport Beach has a small corner window. The ocean and its spectacular sunsets are reflected throughout the room by a wall of floor-to-ceiling mirrors. "Not everyone can sit so they can watch the view," says Lennen. "Using mirrors, everyone can watch, and it also extends the view tremendously."
* The coastal environmental is very harsh. Salt air deteriorates metal finish, so use finishes and paints that are corrosion-resistant.
* Avoid mildew build-up in a water-side dwelling. For a Bay Island house, Garcia designed the closets with caning on half of the doors to allow a breeze to blow through, and continuous burning light bulbs were placed inside each closet to dissipate dampness.
* Pay attention to fibers in furnishings, such as sofas, chairs, draperies and carpeting. Consider the construction of the fibers and how they react to the sun. "The sun will turn some carpets funny colors and will deteriorate certain fabrics," Garcia says. Choose colorfast and light-fast fabrics.