How to use sea shells as outdoor decorations

A lot of what we sell here is home décor and as such, we also tend to write a lot about indoor decorations. The truth is – sea shells are incredibly versatile things and when used properly, can be just as powerful as outdoor accents as well.

Here are a few of the ways you can use shells to help take your outdoor décor to the next level and create some excellent looking spaces in and around your property. Let’s jump right in!

Planters

One really cool way to decorate your gardens is to fill various planters with seashells. On the plus side – they’re not plants and you don’t have to water them – but they look outstanding. And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even use horse conchs as glorified flower vases. However you decide to use them – shells are an amazing home garden accent and can break up your plant life in a way that gives your garden a lot of variety and character.

Seashell gardens

Sounds a little whacky right? Well you’d be amazed at how good an entire run of seashells can look in their own small seashell garden. You can fill them with whelks, conchs, olives and you name it – you can make it look outstanding. All you need to do is wash the shells and then thoroughly dry them off and they’re ready to line any abandoned bed or bring any empty, dingy looking spare space forward and make it look great. Another popular use is lining smaller walkways with them – particularly in and around patio and swimming areas. Instead of mulch or nothing – shells can bring an otherwise ambiguous space forward and really add to the overall quality of the rest of your space.

The perfect outdoor centerpiece

If you’re in warmer, coastal areas like we are here in Tampa Bay, you spend a ton of time outdoors – and outdoors sitting around a table. Plants are an obvious choice as a great decorative centerpiece but the truth is that they dry out, need to be cared for, and the like. Finding a big old Conch or even a clear, glass jar full of shells can make for an equally powerful, aesthetically pleasing centerpiece for your dining table.

And even if you’re not eating, they look great on a stack of magazines, on coffee tables, end tables and the like. Like we mentioned above, some folks even use them as mini-flower pots. Long story, short – if you’ve got a ‘living’ space outside that needs sprucing up – shells can provide you with the answer.

 

Hopefully some of these ideas can provide some inspiration as to some of the cool things you can do outside with seashells. If you’re looking for inspiration or the right kinds of decorations for your coastal space, check out our website or give us a call! Good luck!

How mirrors can take your coastal design to the next level

One of the most undervalued aspects of home décor are mirrors. They can help in any design, really – but they’re specifically useful when it comes to creating a more coastal space.

Not only do mirrors serve as sensational centerpieces, but they can also compliment and amplify nearly everything else around them – from existing accents, to natural assets. Not only that, but they can help create a sense of depth, space and relaxation in a way that almost no other piece of décor can.

Here are some of the ways that you can bring your coastal design to life using mirrors. Let’s jump right in!

Bring your other accents – natural and artificial – to life

The one great thing you can do with a mirror is to help bring everything that’s important in a given space to life. Have a beautiful view of the ocean? Use the reflection of the mirror to make it a central piece of artwork. Have gorgeous shell accents or other wall hangings that you want to see get a little extra love? Use the mirror to help center them or place emphasis on their being in that space.

Be strategic

A well-placed mirror not only helps the look of your home, but it can also help create the illusion that it’s much bigger than it is. This can be done by being more thoughtful about where you put your mirror – and no – it doesn’t have to be hanging on the wall to help your space pop! Consider leaving it on the floor or simply resting it on a console table to help create a unique, inspiring view. 

Keep an eye out for windows

Nothing creates depth and scope in a room than placing a mirror in view of or across from a large window. Doing so helps leverage natural light to create a brighter, livelier space. And brighter and livelier spaces are an essential ingredient of coastal designs!

Keep it smooth

Not only can mirrors help add space, depth and light to your coastal design; but the right kinds of mirrors can also help smoothen up your look. Specifically if you have way too many angles and dangles – a large, gorgeous round mirror can help smooth out the look and feel of your space. Also – the juxtaposition of round and sharp edges can have a remarkably calming effect on the people in that space.

Of course, the most important thing you can do is go with the flow and choose what’s right for you! There’s no ‘right or wrong’ here – so get creative and draw inspiration from the things around you. Good luck and have fun!

 

The Do’s and the Don’ts of coastal design

There’s an old saying out there that goes something along the lines of that knowing what not to do is sometimes just as important as what you should do and well, there’s certainly something to that. It definitely applies to coastal design as well and that’s what the topic of this month’s blog is going to be all about.

Here are some of the do’s and don’t of coastal design. Hopefully these tips will help you create a better, more enjoyable space. Let’s jump right in!

Do: Design around a color palette

Don’t: Design around a theme

Staying away from a theme is probably the best way to get started designing your modern, coastal home. Themes come and go, while look and feel doesn’t. And if you design a cohesive and harmonious coastal design, you can keep things to three main colors with one or two accents. This will keep your space centered without excessively driving home the point of a theme that might be outdated in a year.

Do: Add coastal elements

Don’t: Go overboard

We’re big proponents of ‘less is more’ in the sense that having coastal accents and elements in your room is essential. It can even define a space. But too much? Well, let’s just be blunt. Your home is by the sea. It’s not the actual sea. Keep it simple by sticking t o a few of your favorites.

DO: Use lots of natural light

Don’t: Add cold, artificial light

People really underestimate how much of a difference lighting can make in any one, single space. Beaches are synonymous with rand, rolling waves and sunny days. Good coastal design should incorporate as much natural light as possible. Think well lit and airy. If you have to use artificial light, think about how it can accent the general lighting.

Do: Go with weathered wood

Don’t: Carpet your floor

Driftwood-ish like texture and colors give coastal homes a real sense of balance and place. What you don’t want to do is carpeting your floors. While the occasional accent rug can really bring everything together, we’re more of the belief that adding lots and lots of rug can make a coastal room feel stuffy. Go with as much hardwood as you can and if you must – choose a carpet that accents a room – not one that takes it over.

We hope these tips provide you with a little inspiration. And of course – if you need the perfect accent to your new coastal space, give us a call today! Good luck!

 

Coastal Design vs. Hamptons Design: the difference

While our business mostly deals in shells and accessories – we do get lots of questions about how the things we sell fit into certain coastal design concepts. And one thing we notice that our customers get confused about regularly – is the difference between certain beach design themes – most notably coastal design style and Hamptons design style.

That being said, it’s pretty easy to do. The two styles share a lot in common. But when it comes to the details and overall feel – the two are worlds apart. Today, we’re going to spell out that difference for you so you know the difference! Let’s jump right in.

Florals and botanicals

Florals and botanicals is the one area of design where you’ll notice the most distinct difference between the two design styles. In a Hampton home, lilies and white roses are almost always part of the package – both inside and outside. Coastal homes are marked with more lush plants like snake plants, palms and succulents. As we progress, you’ll see that Hamptons Design relies on more traditional colors, smoother tones and a more traditional, wealthy and dignified look. Beach themes are more Earthy, natural, casual and laid back. The floral patterns and botanicals, well – they fit that description for both.

Accent colors

Neutrals are almost always the basis for both Hamptons and Coastal style homes. The difference comes from the accents, highlights and colors that pop. Coastal designs like both the laid back and lively aspects of beachfront living. Colors like yellow, coral and turquoise are a staple in this design family. Hamptons, go for more of a stately approach – with darker tones like Navy and stone featured prominently.

Textures

When it comes to coastal homes –think rough, rugged, but also laid back. Things like shells, driftwood and natural elements are almost always the focus of the feel of these homes. Think of laid back, as-it-is beach front living. Hamptons designs are more of the high life on the beach. Here, you’ll see things like dark, polished and smooth finishes like walnut and rosewood. Even when it comes to accessories, you’ll notice things like polished shells and stones and a more ‘put together’ ambiance.

Patterns

By now, you’re probably noticing a theme – of formal vs. casual and as you’ve probably guessed – that holds true here, too. In coastal-designed homes – expect more casual. In coastal homes it doesn’t matter if you swap out a scatter cushion for a bright colored accent cushion and some trendy prints. On the other hand – traditional patterns are more the norm in Hamptons style homes – patterns like paisleys, geometrics and brocade. One tells you to unbutton your collar and sink deep into your sofa. The other tells you to get ready for a snazzy, beach front social hour. Either way – you can’t go wrong!

 

Hopefully you’ve got an idea of what the differences between the two styles are. And don’t come to us looking for a preference – as we think both look incredible! Whichever route you choose, we can help you find accessories that help take your design to the next level. Give us a call today and we’re happy to talk. Good luck!

How to use coastal art in your home

Simply put – a home is not a home without some art! That being said, people do tend to get a bit nervy when it comes to both designing, identifying and decorating with it.

We’re here today to tell you that you don’t need to be a museum curator to incorporate fantastic looking artwork into your home’s decor and we figured that today we’d pass along some advice for turning your coastal home into a gorgeous display of art and using it as a foundation for your interior design. Let’s jump right in!

Inspiration

Art is at its best when it serves as inspiration. There’s no shame in matching the color palette of your room to your favorite piece. In other cases, you don’t need to use the colors of the piece at all. Sometimes, it’s just the tone of the piece that helps set the stage for the room. Whatever it is, roll with what the piece gives you and design with how the art makes you feel- not just by what it looks like.

Creating focal points

Art is a great way to create focal points in a room. Every room has some sort of visual anchor in it and those visual anchors can bring up the look and feel of any space. For example – a dynamic, attention-grabbing abstract painting can turn up the temperature on any white wall.

Galley spaces

We’re big fans of creating your own art gallery in your home – specifically in spaces that are pass-throughs and walkways. It could be as simple as a row of paintings by an artist you collect, perhaps some cool thrift store finds or even better – a wall of photographs of you and your family. Whatever it is – keep the gallery style tight and for maximum impact and keep the style uniform.

Using it as an accessory

While it works great as an accessory – art doesn’t have to be a focal point or put on display like it’s in a museum. Sometimes art works as a simple compliment to everything else happening in a given space. Leaning a few paintings on the floor or placing them on a shelf can help bring everything together – particularly when you’re looking to balance up empty space.

Whether it’s adding a unique shell lamp or a modern art masterpiece – hopefully these tips will help inspire you as to how you can use art in your home’s design. Good luck!

Coastal design tips for the New Year

We talk about all things coastal on our blog- but the one topic we like to return to a lot is coastal design. Our business is clearly seashells and how they play a part in creating that coastal experience; but our real passion is the beach and that feeling of being away from all the things that distract us from what’s important.

Every year we like to return to the topic of coastal design and some trends and tips to help your home keep, maintain and really feel like a place that is a place where you can escape to. Where work and the unnecessary complexities of life are left behind.

Here are some cool tips we figured we’d share with you; tips that we think could help take your coastal design to the next level in 2020. Let’s jump right in!

Simplify the outdoors

If you’ve got that killer ocean view, you don’t really need to use a heavy decorating hand. Some chairs, tile and some chic tiles should be all you need to create an amazing outdoor experience.

If you don’t have the ocean view – the rule stands. Coastal living is all about simplicity and escape – not the complexities that hound us at work and our day-to-day lives. Keep it chi. Keep it simple!

Don’t be afraid of white walls

Much of today’s design trends feature interesting patterns and colors. Bright white walls are often the key to offering a breezy, more cohesive look for your coastal space. In homes without a lot of sunlight – white walls can come off as cold and stoic – but in coastal situations where there’s plenty of light – the shade can really make the rest of your space shine.

Encourage escapism

Like we said above – coastal living is about simplicity and escape and any opportunity you have to create those small spaces should be taken advantage of. Creating small spaces like reading nooks, hammocks and other places where a person can enjoy solitude only adds to the ambiance and creates a feeling of a place away from all the other places.

Keep it casual

Skip the chandeliers, the ornate rugs and the complex patterns. Coastal living is about coming as you are and relaxing – not blowing people away with wealth, complex decorations and the like. No matter what you decide to do, keep it simple!

A little shell decorating inspiration for the fall

There’s not better feeling than being able to make something that you’ve discovered uniquely yours. It’s just that sometimes – we all need a little inspiration! Today, we’re going to discuss some of the ways your can take seashells from your collection and turn them into unique, exciting pieces that provide you with the perfect coastal accessory for your home.

Let’s jump right in!

Desk Accessories

For larger shells like conchs and sea biscuits – you can use them as the perfect desktop accent. They’re practical, too – as they can be used as paperweights, containers and in certain situations – a place where you can store change, nick knacks and the like.

Frames

There’s no better way to capture your memories at the beach than with a seashell-decorated photo frame. Not only are these easy to execute, but you can also get creative! Your frame doesn’t just have to be a flat surface. Try to make them go 3-d with a class, a photo along the inside panel and some seashells to hold it up. Talk about making a simple snapshot special!

Useful dishes

Large shells turned upside down can provide you with a whole swath of interesting uses. Some like to use them as a bowl for jewelry, but if you want to be even more practical – they make a great splash bowl for your entrance way – a place to put keys, wallets, change and other hitchhikers from your travels outside of your home. They can take an otherwise hum-drum space and really help it pop!

The perfect shelve shell

Any room can have a coastal twist added to it – particularly if you have bookshelves. Seashells are perfect to put on top of book stacks, serve as book ends at the end of them or just act as stand-alone accents and decorations.

 

Hopefully these ideas will give you a little inspiration! With the beach season officially winding down, this’ll give you some things to work on, some items to create and some new ways to get inspired for when beach season rolls around again! Only a few more months!

Visiting the beach in the fall

Most people associate the beach with the summer but let us tell you – it’s a pretty fantastic place to be in the fall, too. In fact, spending time at the beach in the fall is – in a few ways – way better than spending time there in the summer depending on what your preferences are.

Especially when you visit some of the local communities that play home to our favorite places to relax – it’s amazing how they suddenly transform once everyone goes home and in many ways – they become a more organic, authentic – but altogether enjoyable experience. But whether your source of enjoyment is the beach itself or the communities they reside in – there’s still plenty to be excited about in the fall.

Here are a few reasons why you should hit up the beach this fall.

No traffic

Everyone loves the beach. Everyone hates the traffic. While the time spent in the car almost always seems worth it, imagine there was a way for you to make it worth it without having to wait. That’s basically the beach in the fall. There’s no getting stuck on a bridge on a boiling day. There’s no stress or meltdown Clark Griswold moments. There’s no ‘are we there yets.’ Just enjoyment.

Cool being cooler

Summer’s a great time if you want to load up on Vitamin D, but the cooler fall temperatures make spending time at the beach a little more enjoyable. The fall is a wonderful time to take a stroll or explore areas of the beach you might have otherwise ignored in the summer. And just by virtue of the time of year, there all sorts of things that wash up on the beach. And oh yeah – speaking of that…

Shelling!
You had to know this one was coming! Thanks to a lot of the storms you see in late August/early September, you’ll see a whole swath of treasures get churned out and washed up on the beach. It’s the perfect time of year to go out and go grab some killer shells! Be sure to bring a bucket or a bag because if you’re looking for volume – you’re sure to find it.

Empty beaches

Going to the beach in the fall makes it way easier to spread out along the shore – which is great. Overall, it makes for a more intimate experience. We go to the beach to find relaxation and it makes things that much more easy when you can recharge in solitude.

Save your money

While we’d like to suggest otherwise – a trip to the beach can get expensive if you’re not being careful. Some destinations might not even be financially realistic for you in the summer. In the fall however – prices drop substantially to the point where you can find some incredible deals, all inclusive packages and the like. Do some shopping and save some money.

While it might be a little cooler out, heading out to the beach in the fall is worth it – financially, aesthetically and in terms of your mental health. The beach in the fall is truly its own unique experience in and of itself.

The five best shelling destinations in the US

Every year we like to take some time to do a quick rundown of all the best places in the country to go shelling. Every year, things get changed up a bit, but this year we’re excited to bring to you the crème de la crème of places you can go to find incredible shells.

Are you looking to get out there this year and find some shells for your next project? Look no further than these places! Let’s jump right in!

Fort Myers, FL

In our opinion, the best shelling beach in the US is Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding islands. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to most shell heads – as this WAS the place who came up with National Seashell Day, after all! But in all seriousness there aren’t a lot of ‘best places to go’ that live up to the hype, but this one is for real, folks. And it’s not JUST the shells themselves, it’s how seriously the whole place takes shelling as an actual thing. There’s Sanibel Island, Captiva, Cayo Casta and oh – if you’re staying on Sanibel, there’s even the National Shell Museum. We swear to god, that’s real.

Ocracoke Island, NC

So what’s cool about this place is that it’s not only the shells, but it’s the entire experience of going here that makes it worth it. The island is only accessible by boat and separated by three inlets and a bunch of barrier islands. And quite literally ALL of them are good for shelling and for whatever reason, they’re ALL magnets for different kinds of shells. In terms of sheer variety and a feeling like you’re on an adventure, it’s hard to top Ocracoke Island.

Cumberland Island, GA

If you want to find a beach that looks practically untouched and is almost totally pristine, then it’s Cumberland Island, GA. It limits its visitors to no more than 300 a day and it’s status as a Barrier Island might make it the most pure shelling experience in the US. It’s low traffic, so you’ll be able to not only find the shells you’re hoping for, but you’ll also get to experience as natural and authentic an experience as you’ll have anywhere.

Shipwreck Beach, HI

Finally, the Pacific Ocean gets some love, and this one is can’t miss. Shipwreck Beach is only accessible by foot our four wheel drive vehicles and covers an 8 mile span of coastline unspoiled Lanai. Some of the most unique shells in the world are found here. That being said – BE CAREFUL. This isn’t a swimming beach with good reason. The tides are incredibly strong and the trade winds there are no joke. It is beautiful though and on a clear day – you can see Molokai.

Stinson Beach, CA

You didn’t really think we’d have a list without some place from California on it, did you? For our money, Stinson Beach is the #1 place to shell on the west coast and should be on the ‘must see’ bucket list of any shell head. It’s about 30 minutes north of San Francisco and is included in the Golden Gate Recreation area, making it easy to access. The north end of the beach is where all the shells are, particularly at low tide. You’ll see plenty of sand dollars and you’ll almost 100% see a Seal at some point. The south end of the beach is nothing to sneeze at too – but expect to see even more wildlife. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the odd star fish.

So there you have it – our list of the five best shelling beaches in the US this year. We hope you enjoyed!

Beach vacation hacks that’ll make your next trip a breeze

We’re in the middle of peak vacation time and as such, we’re sure that you’re probably getting ready for your big beach vacation! Trips to the beach can be a ton of fun. After all, the memories we can create with the people who matter most can last a lifetime.

However, if you’re not totally prepared, that beach vacation will be, well… no day at the beach. Luckily, we’ve put together a few beach vacation hacks to help you better manage your time and do what’s most important: enjoying your vacation.

Let’s jump right in!

Tip #1: Keep a dust broom in the car

Look, we all like the sand, but sand has its place in the world – and that’s on a beach, not in your car. Buy a soft bristle dust broom and keep it in your car. You’ll be able to brush off feet, clothes and footwear before you climb into your vehicle. Trust us – this prevents a pretty big, ongoing mess from forming.

Tip #2: Invest in a sand-free beach bag

We 100% recommend you make the investment and get yourself a sand-free (mesh) bag for the beach. Just like with the dust broom – you’ll have important things you’ll want to bring with you – and you won’t want to have sand serving as a hitchhiker along the way. Mesh bags allow you to simply give them a shake and be sand-free.

Tip #3 Sit near the lifeguard

This is a great safety tip that can take a lot of the anxiety out of your day at the beach – for both you and your kids. Sitting near the lifeguard does two things: 1.) It keeps your kids within the primary line of sight of the lifeguard. God forbid anything happens – it’ll happen directly in front of the lifeguard. They’ll have a clear line of sight and path if the worst happens. 2.) For your kids, it gives your kids a market to figure out where you are. Kids get distracted and lost on the beach frequently. This way, they’ll have a market to identify where you are, making it far easier for them to find you.

Tip #4 Plan for hungry kids

When you’re at the beach the sun will be out, it’ll be hot and your kids will be using a ton of energy. Make sure you have a full cooler packed with drinks, juice – and yes, even food. We absolutely recommend healthy foods – cheese sticks, apples, oranges and grapes. IN addition, be sure to pack a little extra. Children are social beasts and will likely make some friends while they’re at the beach, so pack some food for them, too.

Tip #5 Plan your exit

If you want to save yourself dramatics when you leave, then we totally recommend keeping your kids’ expectations in line with your schedule. Tell them when you’re planning on leaving and give them updates. That way when 5pm comes, no one’s sitting there shattered in tears that they’re leaving the beach or worse yet – throwing that always fun end-of-day temper tantrum. Give them a 15 minute warning and begin picking up some of their belongings. You should be done in time to give them 10 minutes to romp around while you’re all set to go. Then once it’s time, everyone’s tired and ready to go home – fulfilled by a great day at the beach.

Hopefully these tips will help make your next trip to the beach a little more enjoyable. Have fun, wear your sunscreen, go shelling and good luck!


 

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