If you’ve ever carted home some unfortunate monstrosity from a beach vacation and rued it, take heart. That’s not the kind of beach décor we’re talking about here.
This summer, retailers are offering décor that evokes the sand and surf, but with a sophistication that makes it work as a seasonal accent to most rooms no matter what your decorating style.
Wisteria has some lovely wall art: colonial nautical charts in sea blue with white type. Fantastic in a contemporary space, the historical ambiance of the pieces would work equally well in a more traditional room. An ivory linen pillow embellished with a spiny-finned fish in navy blue strikes a chic and exotic note. And a wood and metal tree for votive holders, crafted to look like a frond of coral, would provide interest on a summer dinner table.
Get creative when hunting for something interesting and seasonal; often, you’ll find it at a store you might not usually go to.
PBTeen has a host of quirky yet delightful items that evoke the theme: a tabletop angel fish fashioned from driftwood bits; wire art, including jaunty starfish hooks; a mountable shark’s head whose toothy maw can be used as a receptacle for beach hats, dog leashes and so on.
Wall mounted “surfboards” give the cottage (or city apartment) a laid-back spot to hang a jacket. And a crisp cotton pillow is photo-printed with a regal seagull perched atop a sign pointing to — what else? — the beach.
Bring some sea-life elements to a couple of walls with Pottery Barn’s mounted faux sea urchin collection, set in a soft white frame. Branches of rosy coral are silkscreened on linen to make an elegant wall hanging. There are also pretty cast-stone terra cotta starfish, and shells, washed white and framed.
A day’s beachcombing often yields some lovely finds, such as gently hued, water-washed glass. At Beach Grass Cottage, they’ve gathered up lots of the stuff, and their artisans have made lampshade and mirror trims, as well as wreaths that can be custom ordered in shades of milky white, pastel pink, aqua and even a few brighter blues. There are alphabet letters encrusted with sea glass, too — what a great house present.
A look at the Seaside Inspired website is like a trip to some remote stretch of sand. Here, the Beach Finds lamp lets you fill the base of the light with your own scavengings. Another, spherical lamp is crafted of fishing line, vines and wire. Gossamer-like sea fans are photo-etched on thin metal that can be wrapped around tea lights or hurricanes for the patio. Cape Cod sand cloaks little tea-light jars — manna for the city-bound entertainer. And if yachting is a secret wish, order the porthole wall mirror. As realistic as you’ll find, and fun for a powder room.
www.wisteria.com: Fish-printed pillow, $59.
www.seasideinspired.com: Beach Finds lamp, $190-$390; fishing sphere, $410-$630; sea fan-wrapped hurricanes, $48-$135; beach sand tea-light holders, $12; porthole wall mirror, $124.
www.pbteen.com: Wire shark’s head, $129; driftwood angel fish, $29; wire starfish hooks, $15; surfboard hooks, $79.