If “nautical motifs” have you thinking “kitsch,” think again.
This trend’s all about stylish accessories and contemporary graphics far removed from the whimsies of beachside souvenir shops. Adding a few nautical touches to even the most landlocked home can evoke a nice summery vibe.
The style in its bolder form is characterized by fresh primary hues like navy, red and yellow, the graphics of boat sails, and objects evocative of seaside life, such as ropes, floats, buoys or anchors. When it’s successful, this decor has a slightly preppy freshness.
Wisteria.com has an array of pillows in bold red and blue graphics on crisp white. A reproduction set of painted oars would look interesting propped in a corner, hung on a wall or repurposed creatively. Pottery Barn’s gone paddling, too — in various sizes, theirs come with a D-ring for hanging.
At Land of Nod, find a jaunty banner of nautical flags, and a unique lamp made from a buoy; the shade features an Eastern seaboard depth chart. Telegraph dial and life preserver throw pillows are fun, inexpensive accessories.
Thick, knotty ships’ ropes are turned into clever doorstops and trim for an old-style wall clock at Warm Biscuit, perfect for the beach house, or the suggestion of one.
Venerable stationers Dempsey & Carroll offer a crisp set of French Seaside envelopes and note cards emblazoned with blue or red stripes and anchors, great for invitations to your summer crab boil or cocktails on the balcony.
There’s a softer side to this decor style if bold isn’t your thing. With an emphasis on natural elements and a quieter palette, the decorative pieces at this end of the spectrum tend to be textural and more subdued.
You don’t have to live anywhere near sand to give the impression that you’ve enjoyed some excellent beachcombing. Pottery Barn stocks resin sand dollars and striking alphabet cone shells to dress a mantle or fill a clear vase. Add some sugary white sand, river pebbles or beach gravel for a no-maintenance accent that will last all season.
For a summer supper table, there are PB’s realistic-looking ceramic conch shells, or antiqued silver spiny starfish and shells from Williams Sonoma Home.
For the door, WS Home has a softly hued seagrass wreath nestling sustainably harvested sea creature shells.
You’ll find the coral craze stays strong this season, in prints, ceramic and resin accessories, and even candles. Besides the eponymous hue, there are reproduction objects and soft-furnishing prints in white, cream and black. The motif works in both modern and traditional decor.
Turn-of-the-century illustrations of flora and fauna continue to be a decor trend, and when the images depict denizens of the sea, they look like antique scrimshaw. Wisteria offers octopus and crab hand towels, while over at Design Public, you’ll find Thomas Paul’s octopus-printed shower curtain and a mat with an inky, swirling shell. His new collection, which also features a lighthouse and a wonderful whale, is drama on the high seas — in a good way.