Nautical decor is often synonymous with the bathroom, even considered kitschy and dated by some. However, for true enthusiasts of maritime culture, travel and the deep blue sea, nautical decor can be implemented in a profoundly elegant and charming manner. Whether you're planning on redecorating the spare bedroom or overhauling the kitchen, nautical motifs can add an element of coastal appeal to any room. Here are some ideas to get you started.
A quintessential item of nautical decor is the classic ship's wheel. Whether you purchase your ship's wheel from an antique emporium, homeware store or have a bash at woodwork and craft one yourself, you can create a stunning feature piece, perfect for hanging above a mantelpiece. Consider deep mahogany or a decay-resistant wood like white oak, which was historically used on ships due to its strength and durability.
Reminiscent of the ocean, nothing says nautical quite like the combination of blue and white. In terms of decor colour theory, paler blues evoke feelings of calmness and serenity, making your blue and white theme ideal for any room dedicated to relaxation. Furthermore, blue and white are exceptionally easy hues to style, and this simple combination can be seen in homes throughout history.
An armillary sphere is a celestial globe featuring various rotating symbolic rings. As well as being used to solve various astronomical problems, armillary spheres were historically used as seafaring navigation devices to determine the position of the sun and stars during voyages. These days, vintage and modern replica armillary spheres make for remarkably attractive decorative pieces and serve as fascinating conversation starters.
It might seem a little on-the-nose, but a ship in a bottle can be a classic nautical-themed addition to your household. The emergence of putting miniature ships inside bottles can be dated back to the late nineteenth century; however, it was during the 1980s that these decorative items became wildly popular. If you fancy a new hobby, you can even purchase a kit to create your own ship-in-a-bottle.
While a porthole mirror may be the ideal addition to a nautical-themed bathroom, nothing is stopping you from including one in your bedroom or living room. While it may be difficult to source an authentic repurposed porthole, many modern replicas are made from materials like brass and copper for an antique, weathered appearance.
An authentic bosuns whistle made from copper, or brass is a thing of historical beauty. These navel whistles were traditionally used to issue orders at sea by cutting through the din of the crashing waves. You can purchase a functional bosuns whistle to display in a nautical-themed room or as a musical gift for a loved one with a penchant for maritime history.
While glass buoys are no longer used by fishermen, handmade replicas make for charming, light-catching hanging ornaments. Glass buoys or fishing floats are air-filled glass spheres encased in woven rope that were once used by fishermen to mark the location of their nets. Modern mooring buoys are made from HDPE as a cheaper, more effective alternative, but the traditional glass models have become attractive collectable items.
A framed antique map can be a sophisticated, charming addition to any room, evoking curiosity, wonder and a sense of intrepid adventure. You could either frame a modern world map, a vintage replica or a map of your favourite destination. You could even frame a nautical map or sea chart for extra maritime flair.
Along with classic semi-precious stones like amethyst and moonstone, sea glass has risen in popularity with jewellery makers and enthusiasts. Physically weathered and tumbled by the sea, these small lumps of glass have the appearance of gemstones and can be found amongst the pebbles and shells on beaches worldwide. Incorporate elements of sea glass into your nautical decor with hand-crafted ornaments and sun-catchers.
If you frequent antique shops and vintage furniture emporiums, you will likely have seen your fair share of antique lanterns. Navigation lamps and hurricane lanterns look decidedly at home in maritime-themed environments. If you can get your hands on a repurposed, functional nautical lantern, you can enjoy its soft glow on dark evenings. A modern equivalent may not have the same vintage charm, but it can be an acceptable alternative.