20 Cheap Nautical Decorating Ideas That Channel The Sea (And A Few Words About Coastal As Well)

A room having many cheap nautical decorating ideas like a ship painting

20 Cheap Nautical Decorating Ideas That Channel The Sea (And A Few Words About Coastal As Well)


Anchors and boat motifs are common in nautical decor.

However, there’s more to this sought-after chic look than that.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to nautical decor.

Below, you’ll find 20 cheap nautical decorating ideas that show your love for oceans!

You’ll also learn the difference between nautical decor and costal decor.

Finally, you’ll look at 11 signs that show you are meant to have a beach house!

So let’s get started!


Nautical Decor on a Budget


Fun fact: You don’t have to live by the sea to bring nautical vibes to your space!

Just use the following simple ideas!


1. Miniature Lighthouse Décor


Miniature DIY lighthouse placed in front of the blueprint of a ship


If you’re looking for some coastal or beach-themed decorating ideas, bring a lighthouse to the room.

To take it a little further, place beach finds, like seashells, beside it.

I like the blueprint of a ship behind the lighthouse in this picture.

It really helps sell the idea of nautical and coastal decor!

Related: Summer Decor: 56 Ways To Create Vacation Vibes In Your Home


2. Sailing Theme Colorful Anchor Pillow


Sailing theme colorful anchor pillow


Color is the key when it comes to nautical decor ideas.

Specifically, you want to use colors related to beaches, boats and seas…

… Like this throw pillow does with neutral tones.

Plus, the anchor outline works really well in bringing the sea-life theme to this home!


3. Nautical Wall Art


Painting of a ship in the ocean


Want to capture people’s attention quickly?

Then, hang a nautical wall art like this ship painting .

It’ll act as the perfect conversation starter…

I bet if a guest sees that, they’ll definitely ask you about your love for nautical decorations!


4. Flower-Filled Vase


A few flowers in a blue vase


Place multiple flowers inside a vase for a beautiful décor piece.

And to add that nautical flair, stick to a blue-colored vase.

Now, the question is: Where should you put this nautical home decor item?

Well, it’s up to you: Kitchen, living room, bedroom, and entryway are a few good places to start with.


5. Crochet and Wood Napkin Rings


Napkin wrapped in a crochet ring


I literally saw one person hang a boat in their room for nautical decor!

But that comes nowhere near cheap nautical decorating ideas!

So instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollar on buying a boat…

…choose something smaller and cheaper, like this napkin ring.

Plus, if you know your way around crocheting, it’ll be a fun DIY project.


6. Naval Rug


Naval rug in a nautical living room


If you’re going with a sailing theme for your home, consider a blue and white rug.

I absolutely love how this rug complements the flow of the rest of the decorations in this nautical-inspired room.

Also, if you’re worried about it being too expensive, transform a table cloth into one.

If you choose a table cloth that features an elegant design and naval color patterns, it’ll be hard to tell if it’s a premium rug or some cheap cloth.


7. Glass Jars Filled With Shells


Glass jar filled with shells placed on a table


Shells are stunning in every way.

I especially like the fact that they bring that beach vibes to your home.

You can place them literally anywhere, and call it one of the best diy nautical decor ideas.

But if you want to go a little further, put them in a glass jar.

For more coastal DIY decor, use a few coats of frost paint on the glass jar!

One more thing:

Shells also solve the million-dollar question: How can I decorate with no money?

You just have to visit a beach that allows you to pick shells and other beach finds for free!


8. Simple Entryway Welcome Mat


An entryway mat that reads “welcome”


If you’re like most people, you might not have the space to decorate your entryway.

But that doesn’t mean you can can’t add a well-needed spark to it.

That’s exactly what an entryway welcome mat is for.

The one you see in the picture is a trendy jute rug.

You can pick a similar one from Amazon for under $50.

Or if you want to DIY, take some rounded rope, tie it together with glue, and create a simple yet appealing mat yourself.

Caution: If you you use this rug, all your visitors are going to stop and admire your modern nautical decorating skills when they come to your home!


9. Sailboat Made With Paper and Fabric


DIY sailboat made with paper and fabric


Up for some nautical craft ideas?

Grab a pair of scissors, some paper, and glue…

And make a sailbot that shows your love for seas in an artful way!

DIY nautical decor ideas don’t have to be larger than life.

So this handmade sailboat collection is the perfect little project for this weekend.


10. Blue Blue Everywhere


A beach-inspired living room


A pop of blue goes a long way when it comes to beach decor.

For example:

This beach-inspired living room perfectly blends bright blue with white.

Apart from the blue furniture, floor, and hanging plates, pay attention to the nautical wall art.

This nautical room idea is really the focal point of the room. Plus, it complements the entire nautical setting!


11. Nautical Style Mirror


A mirror made from wicker or some similar material


This wicker mirror can also be used for storing your makeup items.

Even if you don’t use it to keep anything, it’s a good budget home decor piece to have in any room.


12. Seashells, Starfish and Coral in a Jar


Seashells in a jar placed in a basket


I talked about filling a glass jar with seashells up there.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to seashells.

Use other beach finds, like starfish and coral.

You can sprinkle a few seashells or other finds around the jar to enhance that nautical feel.

Also, no one really cares if these beach finds are real or fake! They just have to look pretty. That’s all.


13. Blue Nautical Bathroom


A modern bathroom with bright blue paint


Nothing says more nautical than a pop of blue.

So if you want to go completely coastal this summer, paint some part of the bathroom blue.

Leave some space for white though.

It’ll balance things out.


14. Life Buoy


A life buoy, a rope, and a hat hung on a wall hanger


Ahoy, Captain!

That’s what you want to holler when you walk into this entryway!

Seriously, this life buoy, nautical rope decor, and hat should remind you a voyage or that perfect dream vacation!

Also, if you’re throwing a nautical theme party, these cliché items will be your friend!


15. Bunk Beds


Bunk beds in a kids’ room


So, seashells, sailors and motifs are a bit too cliché for you?

Then, this bunk room is the proof that the nautical look doesn’t have to be kitschy.


16. A Dash of Wicker Furniture


A wicker centerpiece in a modern living room


Living room and patio are two ripe areas for decorating.

So introduce some wicker no matter if you live on a beach or not.

Also, if you have plants in the room, it’ll complement the whole natural look.


17. More Wicker


Drawer doors made out of wicker


Don’t limit wicker to the living room and patio though.

For example, this wicker basket and doors are a delight to watch and a must-have for any nature-inspired home!


18. Shell Jewelry Bowls


Colorful shells placed inside a glass bowl


Seems like I can’t get enough of shells.

After all, these beach finds are a fresh decor item to have in any coastal home.

For a simple yet stunning display, place them in a glass bowl or jar.

And to increase that beach charm, sprinkle some blue flowers on them.

For DIY, you can also partially paint the seashells and prop onto the glass jar.

I talk about beach finds, like shells, coral, and starfish, because they are one of the best cheapest ways to decorate a room!


19. Hanging Seashells


Seashells hanging on a wall using strings


Place them on a table.

Put them in a bowl.

Or hang them on wall hanger using strings!

Seriously, you can’t get enough seashells.

Also, you can use these seashells for nautical decorations for party.


20. Inspiration From Modern Decor


A modern living room that can inspire many cheap nautical decorating ideas


This modern living room gives the tropical vibes when you look at the furniture…

… And beach vibes when you look at the blue pillow and wall hangings.

So experiment with and take inspiration from different types of decor. It’ll help you create the perfect beach house!


Everything You Need to Know About Nautical Decor


Let’s set the record straight:

You don’t have to live by the beach or have a beach house to bring nautical decor to your home.

But you do need to understand the difference between coastal and nautical. This is exactly what this entire section is going to cover.

What comes to mind when you think of nautical wall decor ideas?

If it’s anchors, blue and white ‘errthang, and seashells upon seashells, you’re right!

But if these items come to your mind even when you think of coastal decor, we totally get where you’re coming from.

These two decors have many things in common. And based on their name, one thinks of all things beaches and oceans.

However, both indoor and outdoor nautical decor ideas tend to have more cliché items, like motifs and boats.

Also, they don’t have to be as airy and naturally-lit as coastal designs.

So where do you draw the line?

You’ll know that after reading these key points.


Let There Be Light


Here’s where the lines between nautical and coastal decor are very blurry.

  • Both use tons of light.
  • Both have interiors that never look dim or cramped.
  • Both interior designs make you feel kike there’s no boundary between indoors and outdoors.

So when decorating a DIY nautical room, don’t be afraid to use large windows, glass doors, and skylights are key.

Also, keep curtains and blinds to a minimum.

(so as not to detract from the natural light)

But like I said above, you can bring a few cliché items, like boat motifs, that are a no-no in coastal decor.


White and Blue Is Key


A bold blue and white palette goes a long way when it comes to nautical decor.

Like coastal, it still feels like minimalist design in the sense that less is more, and it favors neutral.

And as there’s natural light, the space is going to feel more airy!

Accent with color while keeping it soft

Include neutrals, such as a warmer beige or khaki, light blues, greys, and greens.


You are still doing decor that wants an ocean vibe.

So stay away from something too bold.

Mismatched fabrics

As much as you love being color coordinated, you can mix and match different patterns and faded batik prints.

It’ll look like a collection of old textiles brought back from a journey at sea.

For more living room nautical decor, you can also hang some antique cage lights to make it look like a sailor’s room!

You know what else will bring the ocean vibes? Stripes, tie dye, wooden furnishings, and blue and white accents!


Nautical Design Favors Open Space


Again, this is common between nautical and coastal.

Both designs prioritize an open floor plan.

But coastal can give a more minimalist vibe!


Nautical Design Encourages Neutral Vibes


Including neutral items creates a relaxed and easy vibe.

Which is necessary for that nautical feel.

And as this decor style is drawn towards natural styles, there’s not much space for metallics or flashy textures.

Straw, seagrass, or jute are common materials for rugs.

And wood is common for furniture. But it won’t have any flashy design.

Which leads us too…


Go Wicker, or Go Home


The furniture is often made out of wicker, weathered woods and light fabrics.

That helps keep with the space open and airy.

But don’t include too much of one material:

It’ll look too matchy-matchy!


And Yes, Don’t be Afraid to Add In Your Favorite Seashells or Ship Paintings


So how do you decorate a nautical room? Here are a few nautical decor items:

  1. Ship paintings
  2. Bunk beds
  3. Steamer trunks
  4. Mounted map
  5. Fishmonger’s sign
  6. Boat wallpapers
  7. Boat models, shells and corals
  8. Life buoys
  9. Anchors
  10. Ship chandelier

These types of items set the stage for a nautical-themed home.

And if you have a blue and white room without these items, it’ll look more like a coastal room rather than a nautical room!


Let’s Wrap it Up—Nautical Is Not the Same Thing as Coastal


Also, nautical is not the same thing as Mediterranean or tropical.

As I said above, there’s a few small differences between nautical and coastal.

When you think coastal, beach should come in mind.

Nautical also includes some beach items. But its inspired by boats, motifs, glass bottles, shells, and other maritime items.

Coastal uses natural light, soft tones, and a clean aesthetic to evoke the breeziness of the beach.

In other words, a coastal house feels like summer all-year around.

In nautical, you also have some breeziness of the beach. But you wouldn’t mind bringing a little clutter.

Both these designs use lots of blue and white. Jute textures, earth tones, and layered blues are common. Also, they take cues from the natural environments.

However, in nautical, you’ll see the use of stripes more.

The key in nautical decor is to bring some cliché items, like boats, motifs, shells, etc.

Otherwise, it’ll lean more towards coastal decor!

If you’ve read the article this far, chances are you’re into all things ocean!

So here are a few signs you have an inner ambition to live oceanside.


11 Signs You’re Meant to Have a Beach House Filled With Nautical Decor


  1. You’re crazy for seashells. Jars, bowls, sprinkled across coffee table, you name it, you have seashells throughout the house.
  2. You also proudly display your coral collection.
  3. When it comes to wall art, boats, beaches, motifs, and sailors are your favorites.
  4. You’re crazy for jute, too!
  5. White paired with blue dominates your house. To some, it’s plain. To you, it’s everything!
  6. While your friends can’t stop talking about eucalyptus, you dream of having palm trees in your backyard (Even if you’re miles away from the sea!).
  7. Whether it’s a basket or coffee table, you can’t overlook wicker while shopping for budget decor items.
  8. At your house, every meal reminds you of a voyage!
  9. You can’t imagine a life without sun-soaked and airy rooms.
  10. From frames and flower pots to mirrors, you’ve always loved a decor item wrapped in rope.
  11. And as far as you’re concerned, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!


It’s Your Turn Now


There you have it!

That was my list of cheap nautical decorating ideas.

I also discussed the difference between nautical and coastal decor.

The entire article is a solid foundation for decorating your home like you’re sailor!

Now, it’s your turn.

Go ahead, and try some of the ideas I discussed above.

And before you go, let me ask you something:

Which idea did you like the most?

Let me know in the comments below!

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