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By Lake or by Sea: Your Dream House

by | Jul 23, 2020 | Decorating Inspiration | 33 comments

By Lake or by Sea: Your Dream House

So tell me, would your imaginary dream house be by a lake or by the sea? I’ve lived in homes on or near both, so I’m curious what you’d say would be your preference, you know, if you were able to choose one or the other! I believe our home should be inspired by our life and vice versa, so I’m sure many of us would be influenced by our past and things we love to do.

Life on a lake can be quite different than a life by the sea! Do you picture home or decor style differences in one over the other? Would you decorate them the same? Or perhaps like me you would have different answers, depending on where in the country or world your dream house would be located! As long as we’re dreaming, where would your dream house be?

The minute I saw the home at the top of this page it took me back to my childhood growing up on and around Lake Oswego in Oregon. We lived in a beautiful home on a peninsula that was also on a level property out to the water, with a canal around the side and the back of the home. It was truly a wonderful place to spend the summer! We had spent every summer on the lake, even when we didn’t live on it as our homes had lake easements.

I love lake house living. I certainly wouldn’t turn down a lake house should I ever have that opportunity. But I think that my heart of all hearts is drawn to the sea. The salty air. The seagulls and the sea breezes seem to call to me! That’s one of the reasons why I love where I live right now in Seattle. While I am not ON the water, I’m close enough to smell the sea air!

Let’s discuss our dream houses. Lake or sea? Tell me how you’d decorate it!

By Lake or by Sea: Your Dream House
Atlanta Homes
By Lake or by Sea: Your Dream House
New England Home
By Lake or by Sea: Your Dream House
New England Home
By Lake or by Sea: Your Dream House
New England Home

More inspiration:
Lake House Style
Hygge by the Sea Home
Coastal Style


Top three images: Atlanta Homes | Interior design: Liz Williams, Liz Williams Interiors 

Next two images: New England Home |Interior design: Heather Keare, Lisa Soule, Keare Soule Interiors

Bottom two images: New England Home | Interior design: Lisa Tharp, Lisa Tharp Design


  1. Kerry Fountain

    I would definitely choose a home by the sea! The vast expansive view to the horizon, sound of the waves, and salty breeze truly feed my soul. I grew up on Lake Huron in Michigan and always found peace in that calming water meets the horizon view, but the sea is my heart’s home. I love warm weather, sand and sea – Florida would be my ideal within the U.S., but if we are dreaming … I would choose the Dominican Republic!

  2. Jen

    I would have to say lake because it’s more consistent when the weather changes. There’s something scary about being right on the ocean with the threat of hurricanes, major erosion issues and typically more consistent wind (which I am not a fan of). Lakes just seem more calming and more of a safe haven in my opinion.

  3. Deanna Rabe

    My favorite is lakeside living. I grew up several miles from the ocean, but staying at my husband’s family cottage on a lake in Canada is just the best! I love to canoe, go out on the boat, sit outside and watch people enjoy the lake.

    I’d take a lakeside cottage anyday!

  4. Regina Merrick

    I used to say Florida was my dream living destination – until I visited Pawleys Island, SC. We live 30 miles from Kentucky Lake, but we didn’t grow up to be “lake people.” There’s something cleansing about the vastness of the ocean that both excites and calms me, so yes, it’s the sea for me! Absolute dream location? A Caribbean island

  5. Kathy

    I, too, would choose the ocean! Love the smell and sound and the breezes! I would want somewhere that wasn’t hot all the time. Maybe North where you are, Melissa.

  6. Brandi

    I’ve followed you for years and had no idea you were from Lake Oswego. I grew up there as well! I was recently kayaking near our home in Georgia and saw a beautiful Cape Cod looking home. It got me thinking that perhaps I could combine my dream homes/locations.

  7. Peg

    I love the sound of the sea and the beautiful sunsets, but a house on a lake in the mountains is my dream. Or at least in the foothills so I could see the mountains!

  8. jen s

    I am a sea lover! We live 5hours from the coast, but our little cottage is decorated like it is a beach cottage. If i could just pick it up and move it!
    I love neutrals for the main living areas, but i am a little more brave in my bedrooms. I love decorating with natural elements…seashells, rattan, seaglass, etc.

  9. Trish

    I live close to the Mississippi River in Iowa. I would enjoy sea or lake views…… both are relaxing to watch.

  10. Lori

    That last photo..did they actually wallpaper that ceiling?! Oh my what a job!!
    I’m torn between the sea and lake living. I do not like the humidity nor the hot hot temps. As long as it was quiet and not humid all year round I’d take either. Right now we are far from any lake or ocean and trips are out. I’ll dream:0)

    • Vasso

      Although i’m living in Greece which is surrounded by sea, I’ve been always dreaming to live on the mountains in front of a lake. This is the ultimate dream for me! Relaxation, green scenery and me staring at the lake… I’ll keep dreaming :)

  11. Tami Tygart

    We live on a large lake in Northeastern Oklahoma & love it! It is our retirement home. We bought it in the fall of 2018 & the remodeling was completed May 2019. We love our place on the water!

  12. franki parde

    My hubs liles lakes. I luv the ocean.
    we live n a log cabin on a lake…miles of water. perfect sunsets…why is it I “long for the sea”…

  13. Helene

    Of those two, I’d go with a house by the sea. But my overall preference would be a house with a view of the mountains.

    • Robbie Zeller

      I actually would prefer the mountains over both of those choices. I love seeing trees, mountains, flowers and birds so there would need to be some wood, fireplaces and lots of windows! I especially think hardwood floors and pretty wool area rugs would look nice too.

  14. LeslieW

    For me, it’s the sea! I have lived in New England my whole life and my family spent every summer on Cape Cod so I think salt air is in my DNA. I now live on the Merrimack River which winds its way from NH all the way to the Atlantic. I am more inland than ocean, but every now and then there’s sharp salty tang in the air which for me is just the thing.

  15. Sharon

    I would love a house in the mountains on a lake. I grew up in SC, and I’ve lived in Charleston, SC near the beach. I really hate the humidity on a daily basis. I love the fresh air of the mountains and all of the green trees. If you added a lake to that picture, that would be my dream!!!

  16. Sheri Nelson

    My heart is definitely tied to the ocean! I’m at peace and feel whole there. As a matter of fact my ideal home is already by the ocean. There is a home on 7 mile drive between Monterey and Carmel, California and that’s my dream house! It’s been there since I was a little girl at that time it was the only home for about a mile in either direction. It just seemed so peaceful there. But if I had a shack on the beach I’d be happy with that too!

  17. Barb

    To me the ocean means windy, as that is where I grew up. We spent a lot of time at a lake as well and that would be my preference. Now if it were in Hawaii and not Oregon, the ocean would be wonderful! Ha

  18. Michele M / Finch Rest

    I grew up in the Cliffs of the north coast of the country in Ohio on Lake Erie and it was absolutely wonderful. It’s tough in the winter there so not year round if I am dreaming – and I’d like to have a really great house on those cliffs – dreaming again – so it would be a lake for me in the summertime, and Arizona Tempe maybe – for the winter.

    Instead I stay land locked in mid Ohio now as hubs makes a fine living and I yearn for exactly what you just inspired for us. Sigh – how beautiful, huh????

    Thanks for the eye candy and day dreaming.

  19. Becky

    I live in the mid west so I have never lived by either one, but if I had to choose, I would probably go for a lake. Just the thought of living next to the ocean would probably scare me with the possibility of hurricanes or maybe being the first ones to actually get swept away in the ocean…lol. A lake seems more peaceful and calmer.

  20. Jacquie

    I live in the Pacific Northwest very close to the ocean, nothing revives me more than walking on the beach anytime of the year. The fresh ocean scent, the roar of fierce storm brewing or the hush of the gentle waves moving in and out and in and out, I use this visualization whenever I am stressed or in a stressful situation….it calms me every time. The ocean is sooo alive and invigorating with beautiful sea creatures, corals, seaweeds, etc. Did I mention that snorkeling in tropical oceans is my favourite activity of all? My dream is to live where I could snorkel every day of the year….I am truly an ocean loving woman!

  21. Pat

    I would live by the sea; originally from the Jersey Shore; I love the sound of the waves and the sea gulls. Looking at the Ocean brings me peace and helps me remember the fun as a little girl in the summertime

  22. June

    Most definitely the sea. I’m in Florida and live on the gulf side and love going to the beach. I’m about 45 minutes away from the beauty of the blue water and the salt air. It’s been on my mind lately too that if I could have a beach house where would it be and how would it look. I think it would be cottage style, “ Old Florida” like.

  23. June

    I would say the sea. I live in Florida on the gulf side and love going to the beach. I’m about 45 mins away. If I had a beach cottage I would decorate it “ old Florida” style

  24. Krissy

    I am torn and am now looking to move on a lake or by the ocean. Grew up near ocean but have come to love the quietness of lakes too. I’d welcome all suggestions. My family is more on the east coast, I’m in the mid west. Looking for something as reasonable as I can get. I will need to work, but I am looking to make a drastic move , sell everything and find a new location.

  25. Curtis Chipley

    My ultimate dream home would be by the sea. Near or around Bandon Oregon. Our family has gone there for years always renting a home on the beach. We currently live on a medium sized year round creek and love it! I cannot imagine not living on or near some kind of water. I find it beautiful, calming and so relaxing to hear the water sounds, and of course the birds and wildlife that come with living on the water.

  26. Donna Keidel

    I’m a lake girl… preferably with some woods as well. My in laws have a lake house near the Catskills and it’s truly the most peaceful place I’ve ever been. No motor boats. Sail boats, kayaks, canoes and small trolling motors only. It’s so quiet. It’s heaven compared to my hustle/bustle daily life.

  27. maria

    oh, the ocean! it calms me to look out and see nothing but water and sky – makes me feel like there is an end to the industry and a beginning of a space that’s just wild.

  28. Samantha

    It is my dream to some day have a house on Lake Michigan in Michigan. I love being able too see water as far as the eye can see and breathe in the fresh clean air coming off of the lake. I want a giant deck and windows around the whole front of the house so that I can drink coffee and look out on the lake year round.

  29. Kelly

    That is a hard one! I grew up spending my summers on a lake and really not knowing the ocean. I loved boating, skiing, swimming, campfires by the lake and everything else. Then at some point, we stopped going to the lake as much and started to going to the ocean. When I’m home, I always think I would love to have a house on the lake, but every time I get to the house in Florida, I think “I could live here all the time”. I love the beach, the ocean, watching the dolphins play, fresh seafood and everything that goes with living close to the ocean. Either home would be relaxing and of course with a great view of the water.

  30. Clean Space

    Although I love the sea more, I felt scared hearing the waves crash, especially at night. Living near the lake should be a peaceful, dream place to be.

  31. Bonnie

    I spent most of my life on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. There’s something about living near the ocean…it brings me calm and peace. If it wasn’t so expensive I’d still be living there, but I guess my place in Florida by a lake is what I have to settle for.


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