30 Decorating Ideas To Make Your Home Feel Like A Beach House All Year Long

Keep those summer vibes going.

September 5, 2017
beach house decor
Janine Lamontagne/getty

In my suburban home outside of Madison, Wisconsin, you’ll find something surprising for a dwelling situated amongst rolling hills and nearby farms—beach décor. And plenty of it.

As I enjoy living here in the cornfields, there is a sizeable portion of my psyche that yearns for sun-soaked, oceanfront locales. I slake my thirst of the ocean with annual trips to Sanibel Island, Florida (where I’ve traveled nearly every year since my childhood). And the rest of the year, when I miss those rare seashells and astonishing sunsets? I decorate.

(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale's The Backyard Homestead shows you how; get your copy today.)

I’d describe the décor in my home as “a vintage farmhouse at the beach.” I scatter prized shells, sea glass-hued bottles and white starfish alongside my flea market finds. I’ve been inspired by the Floridian spaces I’ve visited, and I glean ideas from Instagram as well. And while I'm just about as far from the ocean as you can get, when I'm at home, I can easily imagine sandy shores just beyond my front stoop.

Here's what you won't find in my home: ship’s-wheels or seagulls, or any other variety of the beachy decorating that is prevalent. I take my cues from fellow beach lovers who have gotten creative, freshened up traditional concepts and provided stirring, yet simple, inspiration that fellow homeowners like myself can emulate. Even when summer is a distant memory, these accents help me keep a summer state of mind all year-round.

Here are 30 ideas for bringing the beach into your home.

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Buoy it

Featuring sea glass and rope detailing, buoy-shaped glass pendants look as if they’ve been pulled right from a ship. Hang them over your dining table or bar for nautical styling. ($16 each; amazon.com)


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Catch a wave

Frame ocean snapshots from vacations, combining them with watercolor artwork. Stay in the same color family for a cohesive effect.


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Sunny storage

Baskets woven using thick rope in crisp colors are perfect for stashing beach towels, books or dog toys. ($29, etsy.com)


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Souvenir shelf

Don’t store those treasures you’ve gathered on your travels. Capture a beach feeling with a weathered, wooden shelf displaying sea glass bottles, antique curiosities and natural objects. (This one is made from reclaimed pallet wood—here are 5 more pallet projects anyone can make.)

Island vibes

A palm frond, faux, or if you’re lucky, just-picked, is an eye-catching element is an otherwise neutral space.

Related: 5 Easy-Care Flowers To Grow Inside


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Maritime mantle

A fireplace mantle or a window ledge was made for showing off driftwood, vases, coral and other items.

Related: 8 Invaluable Things You Should Always Buy At The Thrift Store

Seaside planting

Air plants and succulents can be grown in a seashell.

Here are four more easy DIY succulent planter ideas:

Drifting along

Above this couch, a piece of wall art is created using driftwood in alternating sizes and a bit of moss to bring the outside in. You can use driftwood to craft a similar piece, or make a hanging plant display.


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Beach basket

A metal, well-loved basket from a flea market, one that was likely once used for collecting balls on a golf course, serves as a spot to highlight large shells.

Related: 7 Perfect Gifts You Can Find At The Thrift Store


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Dreamy pillow

A burlap throw pillow is just the right accent in a casual, beachy space, especially with a phrase that proclaims a love for the sea.

Related: Turn Your Child's Artwork Into A Pillow


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Sun-kissed mirror

A mirror looks less formal when it’s made using well-worn wood that looks as if it’s basked in the sun. (Here's how to make your own mirror out of reclaimed wood.)


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Beachside fun

Beach sport equipment, like badminton rackets in this case, or even boat oars or Frisbees, can double as unexpected wall art.

Here's how to upcycle an old chair into a gorgeous succulent planter!


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Soothing tones

Bring subtle nods to the beach into your space through paint colors and tile choices. Here, a deep teal plays beautifully alongside bright white subway tile.

Related: 20 Everyday Things You Should Never Throw Away And Genius Ways To Reuse Them

Hats off

Your collection of straw beach hats doesn’t have to stay tucked away. Bring them out and make a statement on a wall instead.

Related: 6 Ways To Embrace Hygge—The Danish Secret To Staying Happy During Winter

Nicely nautical

Although rope does have its practical purposes, it’s also an easy way to bring nautical décor into your home—rope-lined tables, chandeliers made using rope, a coiled piece of rope in a vase and so on.

Related: How To Breathe New Life Into Your Vintage Thrift Store Finds


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Tranquil tray

A peaceful detail for a guest room or bathroom, create a sea-inspired tray using books in blues, a sweet-smelling plant and an unscented candle. (Here are 3 ways scented candles mess with your health.)


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Marine scene

Instantly transport yourself to warmer climes through a wall tapestry, featuring palm trees or perhaps an ocean sunset.

Or try a living green wall in your apartment, like this woman who replaced her roommate with 670 houseplants:


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Coastal touches

A kitchen shelf acts as a useful place to store plates and trays, but it’s also an opportunity to let beach décor shine through seashells, bottles and pieces of coral.

Related: How To Make Wine Bottle Self Watering Planters


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Summer essentials

Sunny day necessities, like picnic baskets and small towels, can also act as décor when placed on a pretty hanger conveniently located next to a door.

Related: Make This 3-Ingredient Room Spray To Boost Your Mood In Seconds

Delightful display

An armoire isn’t just for showcasing heirloom china. Open the doors to reveal beachside objects, knickknacks and artwork.

Related:I Replaced All Of My Cookware With The Instant Pot For One Week—Here's What I Learned

Seashell treasures

Shell crafting was huge in the 1970s, and the pieces are having a resurgence thanks to vintage devotees. Score seashell art, like these hanging planters, at an antique shop, thrift store or try your hand at making your own. (Here are 7 fruits and vegetables you can grow in hanging baskets.)

Related: How To Make An Easy Macrame Hanging Planter


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Shipshape walls

Shiplap is having a moment, both in farmhouses and beach houses. The white brings an airiness to any room, while the shiplap boards communicate laid-back elegance.

Related: 5 Things That Happened When I Used A Himalayan Salt Lamp For A Month


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Shoreline sign

A vintage sign, either a recreation or an original that you’ve been lucky enough to pluck from a flea market, is a conversation piece in any beachy home.

Related: How To Use Plants And Thrift Store Finds To Totally Make Over Your Home

Smooth sailing

A sailboat is a must-have in nautical décor, but instead of one that looks like a model or pulled from a bottle, look for one with a clean, modern look.


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Leisurely letters

Careworn vintage letters look good as new in a beach house, especially ones that look as if the salty air has chipped away at the paint. Display a favorite phrase or your home’s nickname.

Related: 9 Vintage Thrift Store Finds That Will Make A Gorgeous Addition To Your Garden

Sandy palette

The go-to color in beach décor tends to blue, but to keep things neutral, you can opt for colors derived from sandy beaches, drawing it in through pillows, furniture and other pieces.

Related: 30 Winter Décor Ideas That Will Make You Feel Cozy And Happy

Seagrass simplicity

Seagrass details are just-right for a classic beach house feel, in lampshades, baskets and chairs.

Related: 10 Easy Ways To Give Your Deck A Face-Lift

Ocean scents

People often say that they wish they could bottle the smell of the ocean. That might be pretty tough to do, but you can set the scene in your home through non-toxic beach-scented soy candles. ($15, etsy.com)


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Fresh furniture

A beach house appearance is easy to achieve if the largest, anchoring pieces in the room, like the chairs and coffee table, feature neutral hues.

Related: Help Plant An Entire Forest By Shopping At This Online Eco Friendly Store


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Natural nook

Soak up the outdoors with a nook tucked next to an expansive window. Light woods weave in a relaxed vibe.