Let's get nauti :: A practical guide to nautical home decor

Coastal Living

Nautical decor seems never to fade from style, though it certainly seems to gain some popularity during the summer months. Perhaps because it's a reflection of the simpler, slower, more relaxed way of life. True nautical decor will never seem formal, restrictive or rigid. It's inviting, calming even, as it evokes thoughts of the sea and all that surrounds it. One must be careful not to get too kitschy - as one can so easily go overboard. There's a very fine line between having lots of nautical influences and going overboard. And going overboard (pun not intended, I promise!) in this case is not a good thing. You don't want your home to have a theme - themes are best left for children's rooms - as opposed to having or being influenced by something. 

Sometimes nautical decor fits and other-times it doesn't. It might look silly or out of place to have an ocean feel to your home if you happen to live in the dessert, mountains or even a bustling city. However, as I've mentioned many times before one's home is a reflection of one's lifestyle. So, if you happen to have a vacation home or spend your summers on the shore, you may want to bring some of that back to your main residence. A dear friend of mine has a renovated old farmhouse in the bucolic town of Easton, Connecticut. While her home embraces the land around around it, the charming guest house is reminiscent of a small coastal cottage. This dear friend happens to have a second home on the coast of southern Maine. So in this case, the nautical decor is not only fitting, but almost to be expected. 

If you look above and below you'll get some great ideas and inspiration. Giving your home a relaxed, nautical theme isn't and needn't be difficult or costly. You'll see in most of these homes that blue and white is a common color theme. Often touches of red, yellow, green and coral are added. You'll notice grass cloth on walls and sometimes on ceilings. We're seeing a lot of blue and turquoise grass cloth in addition to the natural varieties. You'll notice decorative items such as old buoys, oars, framed paintings of ships at sea, maps, and other ocean inspired images. You'll notice lots of wicker, rope, shells, fish, sea glass, driftwood, tinted jars and other ocean-inspired motif. I'd suggest to sticking to just a couple of items. Or, if you have many, place them in various parts of the house as opposed to all in same room which will make your room seem cluttered and potentially child-like. Collections are encouraged. Find lovely jars for sea glass and shells and display them prominently. Place jars together. Group then in odd numbers which tend to be pleasing to the eye. Driftwood, depending on the size, can be placed in large pots or urns. You could even display them in a mudroom. If you're unsure, use the less is more philosophy. A large model ship may need no accompaniment in the right setting. Keep your vignettes simple. Don't take yourself too seriously. You can never go wrong with a bit of whimsy. Your home should feel welcoming and relaxing just as you feel when you go to the sea! For those of you who have just one home, this can be the perfect way to create a vacation home within your home!

Coastal Living

Our Boat House

Pottery Barn Kids

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West Elm


Dwell South Coast

HGTV Canada


Driftwood Interiors

Where can I find a clam shell like this?