Nautical Theme Decorating Tips

More wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of the ocean.
— H.P. Lovecraft

Whether you’re a sailor, a surfer, a beach-goer, or just a landlocked person dreaming of the deep, nautical themed decorating can be a beautiful way to bring what you love about the ocean into your favorite places!

First, Choose a Theme

The nautical theme is actually a very broad category, and which theme you choose depends greatly on the space you’re decorating. Bedrooms for adults may prefer more of a peaceful beach atmosphere, whereas bedrooms for children are often enhanced by more of a boat feel. Living areas and common areas may look wonderful with more of a large ship theme or a navigation theme, and common areas are sometimes decorated with a surfing style.

Beach Atmosphere Decor

The beach atmosphere is a great selection for areas that are more private, more peaceful, and possibly more romantic. A master bedroom, a guest room, or a bathroom would all fit wonderfully with a beach atmosphere. The beach usually uses a sand color as a primary backdrop, with accents of a lighter blue and one or two brighter tones. The brighter tones may be a pink or green for a more spa-like atmosphere, or red and yellow for a more playful look. Decorate with natural seashells, starfish, and seaweed.

On a Boat Decor

A boat atmosphere is good for primary living areas and children’s bedrooms, and it can be drawn into the kitchen or outdoor areas as well. This style normally uses a medium blue as the primary backdrop with bright, primary shades as accent colors. Decorate these areas with nautical artifacts for a really unique look. Thick rope, boating flags, old buoys, fishing nets, and canvas fabric can be added to the space to really provide that “fisherman” atmosphere.

On a Ship Decor

For someone who wants to feel like they’re on a large ship, decor normally uses a dark or navy blue as the base with gold and creme trim shades. Decorating accessories might include a compass, old maps, an astrolabe, or some star maps. This style is great for larger spaces, as the darker base color makes it feel more cozy and confined. Woods used here are not usually lighter than oak, and darker woods like mahogany are common for a more refined, sophisticated design.

California Style Decor

California style usually uses a creme background with bright, cheerful colors. Old surfboards, signs from surfing shops, or surfboard designs are common theme elements. This style works well with a large aquarium, especially one stocked with tropical fish. Glass may be used, and furniture may be made of rattan or a non-traditional piece like a bean bag chair. This style is rather eclectic, so it leaves a lot of variation for design inspiration.

Hawaii Style Decor

Hawaii style is a variation on the California surfer theme, but Hawaii style tends to be more colorful and use more dark green in the background. Hawaii style will have tropical fruits and flowers, and the overall design is generally more open and less cluttered. The bean bag chairs are gone, but they’re replaced with rattan furniture and unbleached linen fabrics.

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