Nautical decor – bringing beach house to the home

Girl holding shell to her ear next to the seaside

Nautical decor – bringing beach house to the home

With Summer well and truly set in, it’s the perfect time to overhaul your living space and give it a fresh, seasonal feel. The nautical look is all about capturing that summer’s-day-by-the-seaside feel, and it’s easy to achieve with just a few simple changes.

Colour palette

Think sea blues, sandy beaches and whitewashed wooden huts with brightly coloured roofs. You don’t actually want to create a seaside scene in your room – more give yourself a subtle reminder of long lazy afternoons on the beach. White, beige and deep navy makes the perfect backdrop for your choice of sea blues or aquas and a pop of red or orange. Here are three sample nautical palettes to inspire you:

Nautical decor colour palette scheme 1

Nautical decor colour scheme 2

Nautical decor colour scheme 3


Nautical decor rooms

Images credit: Home Bunch

When it comes to nautical furniture, the key is to keep things simple. The nautical look is about by-the-sea in the summer, so it’s not elaborate or showy. Furniture should have simple lines and a functional feel without too much detail. Get the look with:

  • Rustic dark wood furniture like the Santana Rustic Oak range – giving the room a ‘ship’s cabin’ feel.
  • Wicker or rattan, creating a summer-house-on-the-beach feel
  • Cosy armchairs and sofas covered in white fabric.
  • Shelving and units with a white washed finished.


Nautical decor is all about simplicity – and this very much applies to your choice of flooring. Simple, white painted or dark wood stained floorboards are perfect for the look, set off by a natural sisal rug.


Nautical decor fabrics tend to be in crisp whites and deep navys with minimal detail. Big bold stripes work well, as do checks. By all means throw in the odd obviously nautical detail but keep these touches to a minimum and avoid too many cliché prints (anchors, sailors etc) – unless you’re kitting out your child’s bedroom.

Window dressings

Since nautical is about giving the inside an outside feel, you’ll want to maximise your natural light and keep window dressings fresh and floaty. White fabric blinds, white curtains or venetians, teamed with floaty voiles help keep the room bright and airy. For large windows or french doors in your living areas, you could leave off the dressings altogether and paint the frames with an accent colour (for example, navy frames with white walls), ensuring light is maximised while the windows still look ‘dressed’.


Nautical is outside-in so artificial lights are secondary to natural light. Maximise your natural light with mirrors placed close to and opposite the windows. For the evening, avoid a single overhead glare and aim for a range of lighting across the room – uplighters, downlights, lamps and spotlights – to create a cosy mood.


Simplicity should carry over into your accessories – avoid clichés, clutter and tack, opting instead for a few carefully chosen items that have a sea theme. One large beautiful shell works far better than a bowl of seaside themed items that could easily have been picked up in Poundland. Porthole mirrors can be a gorgeous addition to a nautically themed room and help reflect and maximise your natural light. Cushions are a great opportunity to introduce pops of cheery seaside colour – think deckchairs and beach huts in lively hues. Look out for simple boxy oversized metal lanterns too, perfect for candlelit evenings with a ship’s cabin feel.

Style file

Get the look with our style recommendations!

Nautical decor style file

Clockwise: Santana Rustic Oak Slim Bookcase from Croft Oak Furniture, Brass Porthole Mirror from John Lewis, Adoo Marine Nautical Wall Light by Mike Treanor, Wooden battery lantern from Lights4fun,  Striped Lumbar Pillow from Etsy

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *