How to Rock a Nautical Theme in Your Home

By Rebecca Rosenberg

Natical themed living room in the Sheen plan by Taylor Morrison Homes in Winter Garden, Fl.


Whether you’re landlocked or living in a coastal haven, you can give your home a seaside vibe. If done well, a nautical theme is timeless and works in homes of all shapes and sizes.

From accessories and patterns to more permanent fixtures, there are a million ways to say “out at sea.” Here are some suggestions to help you rock a beach or nautical theme without going overboard. 

Colors and Patterns

Of course, navy and white are the classic nautical colors. But flashes of colors inspired by sun, sand, and sea keep things interesting. Khaki, sea foam green, yellow, red, and coral are all welcome in your maritime theme.

When it comes to patterns, don’t limit yourself to stripes or anchors. A wave pattern or sunrays can complement classic pinstripes and fat stripes, or replace them altogether. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, either.

Décor and Accessories

Accessories are the best way to create a theme on a budget. For an understated coastal-inspired theme, leave the walls neutral and let well-chosen accents express themselves. A round porthole mirror, a few framed images of sea life, and a fun themed pillow give can give your room a relaxed (not overdone) Cape Cod feel.

To avoid being too beach-rental-kitsch, go easy on the bowls of shells and model boats, avoid white wicker, and stay far away from any art with beach puns!

Instead, think subtle — seagrass rugs, distressed wood furniture, canvas window shades, and a few well-curated art pieces can accentuate your look.

Nautical decor in a dining room
Photo courtesy of Lauren Albanese

grey and white chevron-print dresser

Photo courtesy of Homihomi

Old flags, sails, maps, oars, or wind-worn shutters are all fair game when it comes to wall art.

Shea Homes living room

Photo courtesy of Shea Homes

Built-in Features and Fixtures

Built-in elements like beds, shelving, and sconces can evoke the feeling of a yacht or luxury liner. Plus, their space-saving approach is practical and great for small spaces.

Nautical-themed girls room

Photo courtesy of Xamatowa

You could go all in and emulate a classic ship’s decor, such as using a marine varnish on kitchen countertops or brushed-nickel hardware (modeled after boat cleats) for cabinets. For more of a stateroom effect, you could install brass fixtures and polished wood accents.


nlc author image

Rebecca Rosenberg is a freelance copywriter and digital media consultant who loves writing about design and real estate. She is also an intrepid solo traveler and avid hiker and is always on the lookout for the next big challenge.

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