Five Elements of Nautical Style Perfection

So you absolutely love nautical style when you see it in interior design magazines and on Houzz. But when you try to pull it off yourself, you find that you’re not quite as savvy as those who are featured in interior design magazines and on Houzz.

Anchors! Portholes! Lighthouses! Shells! There are so many options, yet you can’t seem to make them work.

Upon examining well-executed nautical rooms, you may notice recurring themes. Here are five of the main elements that make nautical decor look terrific rather than tacky.

Blue and white

This one may seem obvious, but it’s one of the most commonly found color schemes in gorgeous nautical schemes. It reflects the colors that you’d typically while sailing a boat. Check these out:

Navy and white is classic, but any shade will do. Add touches of red and you’re ready to set sail!

Kitchen by Coppice Guild


Dining Room via


Bedroom by Cheney Brothers Building & Renovation LLC


Bathroom by Bonin Architects & Associates
Stripes, especially wide horizontal ones, are a hallmark of nautical style. Blue and white is the obvious choice:
Dining Room by One Rundle Trading Company


Bathroom by Cottage Company of Harbor Springs
But other color combinations can give a room a nautical feel too.
Bedroom by Turnstyle Design
Even white on white or tone on tone – like beadboard wainscoting – makes a nautical statement.
Bathroom by Janelle Steinberg Interior Design
The easiest and cheapest way to add any style to a room is to accessorize according to theme. The key is not to go overboard – pick one key piece or a few smaller ones so as not to overwhelm the space and cross into tacky territory.
Nursery by Steffanie Danby Interiors
Try a great wallpaper with subtle accents in other areas:
Bathroom by Folding Chair Design


Bathroom by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs
One statement piece:
Family Room by William T Baker


Kitchen by Ashgrove Kitchens


Home Office by Lisa Tharp Design
Or even just an inspired light fixture:
Bedroom by Dempsey Hodges Construction
AF Lighting Regatta Table Lamp
… or boat-shaped sink!
Thompson Traders Renovations Calder Above-Counter Boat-Shaped Vessel Sink
This incredible nautical bathroom is so subtle – no boats, fish, oars, or shells to be seen – but it automatically evokes visions of a misty, stormy sea:
Bathroom by G Little Construction
Circles are a popular theme in nautical rooms, and so easy to implement. Try a porthole mirror (or even just a round one), round sinks and fittings, or one life preserver.
Bedroom by Chip Webster Architecture


Bathroom by Oliver Burns
Natural materials
Staircase by William T Baker

Finally, using natural materials gives your home a nautical vibe. Try driftwood, seagrass rug, or even unfinished rope (not exactly “natural,” but close enough…).


Bathroom by DuChateau Floors


Living Room by Amy Lau Design
Enjoy your voyage!