I grew up near the ocean, so to me there’s nothing that says summer like sand and sea shells. This time of year, many coastal dwellers – from Cape Cod to Malibu – bust out the beach decor to welcome the sunny season; everything from oars and life preservers to surf boards and driftwood. Even if you’re landlocked, though, adding a few (slightly more subtle) beach-inspired elements – like seashells – is a great way to shift your home into summertime.
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Whether you happen to live near a beach or not, one of the easiest ways to bring a little piece of the seashore into your decor is to simply put a few seashells on display. This is easier, of course, if you have a beach and a skillful seashell picking eye, but even if you don’t, there are plenty of places you can buy real shells (and, yes, replica ones – but that’s cheating) of various sizes, shapes, and colors. If you do buy them, look for ones that are designed like decorative figurines, with some sort of built in stand or display (or that are big enough to frame and hang on your walls) and simply work them in among your other decor items for a subtle summery touch.
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If you do happen to have a collection of seashells, but not ones that are large enough to display on their own, consider putting them all in a decorative container. A little sand or sea glass will help flesh out a smaller collection while adding to the beachy look and feel, but you want to make sure your shells stay near the edges of the jar, where they’ll be most visible. Any glass jars will work, but ones with decorative lids – or, better yet, ones made from antique blue-green glass – make for a more attractive display.
If you can get your hands on them – or, again, replicas – big scallop shells or clam shells make fantastic tabletop accents all on their own. They have a beautiful, distinctive shape, and depending on the type of shell, can come in a wide variety of colors. Most of these type of shells will sit fairly flat and stable when placed inside-up on a table top, and their scooped shape means they double nicely as decorative bowls or trays that can hold anything from a set of keys by your front door, some nice marbles or sea glass, or even sand or other shells.
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Because seashells are such a hot summer decor item, it’s actually not all that difficult to find other items – like table lamps – that incorporate seashells into their design. Beach-themed lamps generally come in one of two types. The first are those with bases made in part or entirely out of seashells. That can either mean lamps like the one above, that feature one large shell skewered in the middle of the post, or a lamp with a more traditional base covered in smaller shells or a small, pebble-like shell texture.
The second type of table lamps that feature shells have bases that are made of large, jar-like glass containers. Depending on which you buy, the jar might be empty when you buy it or filled to the brim with big, beautiful shells. Either way, these lamps are designed to look like more like beachy souvenirs than museum-like displays, and as such much be a little less elegant, but have a much more casual, relaxed feel – which fits perfectly with a laid back summer style.
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Depending on your decor choices, a beach theme can feel a bit heavy handed, but it can also be very subtle. One look I really love is to use wall art to incorporate seashells into your design rather than actual shells. Because most beach themes rely on objects to establish their coastal vibe, a flat print or painting – particularly one in muted colors – has a much more subdued impact on your overall design. I love the sandy sepia of these scientific-style seashell drawings, as they have just the right level of detail to hint at the ocean, but aren’t overly assertive.
How do you plan to get your home ready for summer?