Heed the call of the sea with these 25 holiday decorating ideas inspired by high tides, summer breezes, and casual beach houses.
If you love the beach—or have great memories of seaside family vacations—you can incorporate that into this year's holiday decor. Here's an inspiring room to get you started.
A garland of bleached seashells and starfish draped from a fireplace mantel look perfectly at home during the Christmas holidays. The shapes of sea creatures mimic many of the beloved holiday icons: Starfish naturally lend themselves to the stars that sparkle at Christmas, the spherical shape of sea urchins resembles ornaments, and coral is an elegant alternative to floral arrangements.
In this bright and breezy cottage, all the trimmings of Christmas are there but in a fresh beach-inspired palette. Watery blue, grass green, and sunshine yellow make this a happy holiday color scheme. Three conical boxwoods take the place of one big Christmas tree; touches of silver make them sparkle.
Long walks on the beach can result in some uncommon but exceptional Christmas decor. In this living room, handmade shell boxes fill the fireplace while a wreath made of seashells, starfish, and sea urchins occupies the space between two carriage-style sconces. Blue ultrasuede pillows featuring silhouettes of coral add comfort to a pair of chairs.
Beach cottage style is very much in evidence in this charming room. Cushioned metal motel chairs become dining chairs at the whitewashed farm table. Simple holiday accents such as a planter of paperwhites, an unadorned evergreen garland, and understated, yet stately, candlesticks contribute to the serenity of the room.
Sea urchins stacked in a Christmas tree shape are given luxurious elevation in a garden urn. To make, start with a foam cone shape and long T-pins. Starting at the bottom, pin sea urchins to the foam until it's covered. Hot-glue the urchins together, being careful not to get glue on the foam shape underneath. When the glue is dry, remove the pins and carefully slide out the foam shape. Sea urchins are fragile so be very careful when handling.
Christmas candles need not be red and green to be festive. Create a seaworthy centerpiece with white candles adorned with scallop shells. Hot-glue shells around the bottom of each candle and set the candles on a silver plate or white wooden tray. Fill in the tray with evergreen stems such as boxwood and holly for Christmas color.
Cone-shape seashells mimic the silhouette of Christmas trees so why not make a tiny tree farm as a tabletop display? Pair miniature starfish with the small shells and brush the stars with a mixture of half glue and half water. Sprinkle with glitter and glue to the top of the conical shells. When dry, arrange your tiny trees in a tray of beach sand.
Blue holiday decorations in this comfortable living room help create an ocean-inspired palette. On the tree, starfish intermingle with glittery five-point stars; blue ribbon, garland, and Christmas baubles tie all the elements together. More starfish decorate the mantel of the stone fireplace, which is embedded with hundreds of fossilized shells.
If you can't put up your holiday tree at the beach, why not bring a bit of the beach to your tree? Easy to make, this little Christmas bauble starts with a basic blue ball. Paint on bands of glue and pour beach sand onto the glue. Dab a bit of glue onto the small shells, press into sand around the middle band, and let dry.
Delicate starfish on a rosemary topiary mimic traditional stars while suggesting a seaside locale. Tucked into an old oak bucket, the shrub marries country cottage and beach cottage styles with panache.
Infuse a standard evergreen wreath with the flavor of the sea. Pair shells and small starfish with holly berries in a random pattern around the ring. Hot-glue in place and finish your creation with a pretty ribbon bow.
Naturally beautiful starfish can be inspiration for a holiday wreath. To make, spray a 9-inch foam wreath and starfish with white paint. When dry, attach the starfish to the wreath with crafts glue. Brush the starfish with a mixture of half glue and half water. Dust with white glitter. Arrange your wreath on a white shelf or mantel with jars of shells and white garland.
Instead of stashing away pretty shells collected on beach vacations, make a wreath that looks good anytime of the year but especially so at Christmas. Simply glue shells of varying shapes and sizes to a foam wreath, placing them at random. Finish it with a pretty bow that matches your holiday decorating palette.
Whether your door is a gateway to the beach or leads right into a drift of snow, dress it with a wreath adorned with coastal elements. Spray-paint a grapevine twig white, then hot-glue a circle of sand dollars or other flat shells around the wreath opening. Weave a sheer organdy ribbon through the shells and tie the tails into a simple bow.