With longer days and splendid weather, you’ll likely want to make the most of the sunshine outdoors. But why not embrace all of that vacation feel both outside and inside your home? Check out some decorating ideas that will bring a bit of relaxing, summertime ambiance into your place.
Nautical door wreath
Wouldn’t you think beach vacation walking into your home with this cute wreath on your front door this summer? Nautical decor is really hot at the moment, so why not jump on board and make your own pretty life preserver with really simple means? You will need a styrofoam wreath form or a pool noodle (you’ll need to cut some inches off and tape the two ends together), as well as some burlap cord or sisal rope and something for the blue and white sections. The wreath in the picture is wrapped with white faux burlap and navy linen, but you may well use yarn.
First of all, you’ll want to mark off the four quarters of your wreath so the white and navy sections are somewhat even. Then dab a little hot glue to the back of the wreath to hold the yarn in place and start wrapping. When you get to the quarter mark, cut the yarn, secure it with hot glue, and repeat the procedure for the remaining sections. Once you’re done, wrap the string between the sections and finish the wreath with a piece of driftwood, ideally adorned with stenciled letters. Doesn’t it scream beach cottage?
Sand and shell displays
Preserve summer memories of ocean waves and soft sand under your feet with a display of shells collected during a vacation. Put them in transparent tubular vases partly filled with sand and if the container is large enough, place a candle inside. For best effects, use medium and large shells. The color doesn’t matter so much – the shells can be same colored or pattered as long as the arrangement complements your décor. With the backdrop of yellowed, handwritten notes looking like a message found in a bottle, these would be perfect on the mantel to remind you of summers at the beach.
Lanterns filled with shells and starfish
Lanterns are some of the most charming decorations for every season, but they seem to be just perfect as summertime accents. Don’t fill them with candles, though – decorative lanterns can incorporate some of summer’s finest treasures into a chic coastal look. They make dramatic display cases for shells and sea life collected from the shore. And they come in so many different styles, from modern chic to rustic antique. A collection on your mantel or sofa table will add wonderful ambience and bring sweet memories of your beach vacation into your mundane reality.
Oyster shell mirror
If you can’t afford a house on the coast, bring a piece of the coast to you. Oyster shell décor is trending at the moment, so you won’t have problems getting a stunning mirror edged with seashells. But one glimpse at the price tag will probably make you rethink the purchase and turn to a DIY project. After a few homemade seafood dinners, you’ll be ready to create your very own, one-of-a-kind piece that will bring tons of rustic elegance to either bath or living space. Clean and natural looking as it is, it will both beautifully enhance the crispness of white walls and provide gentle contrast against the colored background.
Nautical mantel decor
This mantle décor is such a sweet memento of a beach vacation that you’ll refuse to strip it down even when the summer remains just a faint memory. Starting point was an old barn door that almost instantly conveys the reminiscence of a relaxing stroll on an old, weather-beaten boardwalk. The piece of heavy rope draped across the top has loads of nautical feel, too, with all those coastal treasures and light blue mason jar lids hanging on pieces of twine. On the mantel top, a row of blue mason jars was interspersed with simple candle holders, which perfectly fits into the nautical theme and anchors the design nicely.
Sea shell candles are not only extremely decorative – they are also easy and fun to make. You will need a collection of assorted shells (cebu clams, big cockles and large scallop shells work best), some candle wax, wicks with metal tabs, and metallic spray paint. Of course you may leave the shells plain and natural, but a lustrous coat of silver or gold will give them a glamorous, sophisticated look.
Before you start, make sure the shells are not cold as extreme temperature can cause them to crack. Apply two coats of spray paint to shells and once they are dry, nestle them for support in a small bed of salt or a “cup” made of tin foil. Then preposition the wicks in the center of each shell, melt the wax over low heat in a pot and carefully pour it into the shells. You can stir a few drops of your favorite scented oil into the melted wax to make the candles both beautiful and fragrant.
Repurposing weather-beaten driftwood into a headboard is a sure-fire way to add coastal chic to your bedroom and the ultimate example of turning found into fabulous. The addition of fine linen sheeting and oyster shell chimes ties it all beautifully into a relaxing beach look, which is enhanced by the irregular way the boards were attached to the wall. Of course, the options are multiple. Your boards can be of equal lengths and run horizontally. You can also leave spaces between the boards to create a grille effect. This unusual headboard will be perfect for an organic, natural looking bedroom design, let alone it will instantly flood your love den with romantic, rustic charm. If you don’t stand a chance of getting any driftwood, you may well reclaim boards from shipping pallets.
Coffee table adorned with shells
Get a coffee table from Ikea (dirt cheap) and turn it into a sea-themed work of art with shells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Before you start gluing, you will have to lightly sandpaper the edges of the table and remove the dust with a damp cloth. To make sure the composition comes out nicely, try to develop an idea of how you want to position the shells by arranging them on the floor in a way that they more or less reflect the design you have in mind. Then starting at one corner of the table, glue the shells one by one – it’s as simple as that.
Oars and ladders
Vintage ladders make fabulous alternatives to real Christmas trees, but they also trend as summertime décor. Here the steps serve as shelves for mason jars turned flower vases, but you can decorate yours with whatever you feel creates a summertime vibe – an odd shell here and there, a tiny driftwood sailboat, candles, etc. The addition of a wooden oar on the wall is kind of self-explanatory… and a great idea, by the way.
Can there be anything more sea-related than a boat? Jeanette from Creating a Life has a detailed tutorial on how to turn pieces of driftwood into rustic little sailboats, and you’re going to love how easy it is. In a “seashell”, drill a hole in the hull of your boat and stick a relatively straight branch inside, securing it with hot glue (this will be your mast). Then lay your boat on its side on a piece of canvas and sketch the shape of each sail with a pencil. Cut out the sails and “hoist” them up the mast using cotton string and small eyelet hooks or simply glue them to the driftwood structure. Just perfect!
Shabby chic furniture
Soft pastel, well-balanced shabby chic décor against plenty of white background just screams summer. Maria from Dreamy Whites never fails to stun with her luminous vintage arrangements, and here’s another of her fabulous ideas. Doesn’t the straw hat and booths make you think she just came back from the garden with an armful of flowers? The highlight of this charming design is a French grape harvesting bucket filled with dogwood branches, while the vintage farmhouse table and the distressed metal chair ground the composition in space. Simple, yet fabulous.
Hanging flower vases
Here’s an amazing and eco-friendly idea to decorate your summertime outdoor events. Jars, electric bulbs and glass bottles can be easily turned into romantic flower vases to hang on tree branches – a fail-safe way to conjure up magical ambiance and bewitch your garden party guests. Attach pieces of string around the tops of your chosen containers, fill them with water, tuck in some fresh-cut flowers and tie the strings to tree branches or a rope stretches really tightly between two trunks. To give your decoration even more radiance, hang a few jars with candles between the bottles and wait for ceaseless sighs of admiration.
Whimsical table decor
Summer is the perfect season to entertain family and friends in the open air, and garden parties give so many fabulous decorating options, from DIY lanterns and hanging flower vases to colorful banner garlands and, of course, drop-dead gorgeous tablescape. Once you plan the menu, have fun arranging the dinner table with summertime accents and plenty of color. Mix and match everyday dishes with china and don’t worry about matching the napkins – a variety of hues, textures and patterns will make your table setting unique and playful. And don’t forget about fresh flowers. Just put them into jars and it will all look lovely!
If the dinner is going to be a little more formal and you believe a picnic feel would be inappropriate, dress the table with nautical-themed elements. A white tablecloth, light blue linen napkins, a centerpiece adorned with sea shells and stones used as place cards will make the table look fresh, unique and elegant.
Watering can vases
Whimsical containers such as watering cans, teapots or jars lend themselves to more casual flower arrangements and as such are perfect as summer décor both in the garden and indoors. This is not to say, of course, that they cannot be used for more formal occasions. There are so many beautiful watering cans out there that you can sure find a perfect accent piece for your needs. A watering can holding dazzling fresh-cut blossoms will bring a room to life with fragrance, color and originality. Depending on your overall décor, use several flower types in one color scheme, such as shades of pink and lavender, or create vivid contrasts by choosing colors from the opposite sides of the color wheel, such as yellow and purple or blue and orange.
4th of July decor
If you can’t imagine Independence Day without at least a hint of relevant décor, the summer can’t go without some flag-themed accents. This 4th of July flower pot is a quick project that will take you more or less an hour to make. Don’t worry if you don’t have a pinch of talent – the rough, aged look of the pot is exactly what makes it awesome! However, if you want the stripes as straight as a runway, you will have to use painter’s tape. Start by paint the whole pot white. When it’s dry, add painter’s tape and paint the gaps red. Finally, add the stars around the rim of the top, paint it blue, and when it dries, pick off the stars. If you can’t get star stickers, cut out the shapes from electrical tape and they will do just fine. To enhance the 4th of July look, display the pot on a red-white-blue book stack.
Ready to decorate for the summer? Do share your own ideas for vacation themed decor!