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mantlepiece seaside accessories beach theme

The beach can be a great source of home decor inspiration. Here are some tips for nautical and seaside themes to suit your urban and suburban interiors.

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The beach is my “happy place.” The warm breeze in my hair, sunlight sparkling across the water, toes buried in the sand… Ahhh, that’s good livin’!

Now, back to reality. It’s 10:00 am, it’s raining outside, and work deadlines loom like the rain cloud outside my window. (Sigh. Where’s my tiny violin when I need it?)

Don’t quit your day job and join the navy, just yet. Whether you live right on the dunes or in the heart of a bustling metro, sun, sand, and surf is never far with these beachy design and decorating tips. (Pack your sunscreen, kids!)

Let your imagination run wild

Close your eyes and think about the beach. What do you see? White sand? Placid water? A boat mooring at the docks? What are your favorite colors, sights, and sounds? The world—and your home—is your oyster. Everyone has a different interpretation. Choose one that resonates with you, then design till your heart’s content.

Anchor down your theme

If you’re aiming for a calming beach house look, crisp, white linens and furniture are the picture-perfect backdrop for a splash of light blue on the walls. If you prefer a warmer look, opt for shades of tan or light yellow against white.

Or you could go full-on nautical with white walls, navy-blue and white furniture, and accents of painted or bare wood. If you’re feeling adventurous, the right shade of seafoam green on the walls creates an air of calm.
beach house decor accessories'

Break it up with color

When you’re going for a soft look, it’s best to keep the details understated. Playing it safe is mostly a good thing, but don’t err on the side of boring. (Because you don’t do dull, do you?)

To break up the neutral, and add visual interest, throw in a punch of color, here and there. Opt for a few bright throw pillows or a vase, for example. Accents of deep red or canary yellow look stunning within a navy and white nautical theme. Pops of turquoise are equally striking mixed with neutrals like white and tan.

Bring home memories of the sea

seaside accessories beach houseWhen the weather gets dreary—and life draws on—visual reminders let your imagination carry you away, like the wind pulling a sailboat back to shore.

Whether you’re a salty seadog (Yar!) or just an occasional beach-goer, most of us have fond memories of sea, sun, and sand. In your glory days, did you ditch your possessions and sail the briny deep? Ever swim with the dolphins in the Caribbean, or watch the sun set in Hawaii?

To transform your home into your own personal beach house escape, fill your walls with reminders of your seaside travels. Collect your fondest photos and frame them in stark-white or rustic, wooden frames. If you’ve spent more time wading through traffic than the deep blue—I feel your pain—hang a painting or photograph of a destination you dream of. Who knows? Maybe that’ll motivate you to take some time off.

Grab a few vintage, wooden pieces

While at sea, a wooden chest held a sailor’s worldly belongings. Rustic, vintage pieces—like a shabby wood trunk or chest of drawers—are right at home within a beachy cottage theme.

If you’re into woodworking—and aren’t too accident prone—you could create a sailor’s chest of your own. A wooden trunk makes for a striking—and functional—coffee table. Or you could grab a weathered chest of drawers and slap on a coat of paint to liven it up.

Take-Home Lesson

You don’t need to join the navy to sail the high seas. Pack your bags, folks: With the right interior decorating hutzpah, you’ll drift away on a seaside journey from the comfort of your own home. (No plane ticket required.)

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Tanya Roberts

Tanya Roberts is a writer and marketer who loves to spin stories about interior design and home decor. She is principle strategist at Bluefinch.ca