Decorating your seaside deck

Decks can bring an entire seaside living experience together. Whether it’s cookouts, family gatherings, or simply entertaining some friends, nothing is better than enjoying the ocean and all the perks of beachfront living with the people who matter the most.

That being said, there’s a lot you need to take into consideration in order to keep people safe, healthy and happy – and a lot you’ll have to do in order to keep your deck in good shape!

Here are some things to think about when it comes to bringing your beachfront deck together!

Choosing colors

White and blue is timeless as a selection as the two colors in consort bring about feelings and emotions of rest and relaxation. While worn, wooden decks are often the look you’ll want to go with, you’ll want to go with a more practical material as the salt and weather seaside can take it’s toll over time. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here – stay traditional and keep it simple!

The view

What’s the view that you want to take in when you’re gazing out without a worry in the world? Whether it’s the ocean, the backdrop of a city, the trees or the woods, don’t just orient your deck in that direction – but use decorations like seashells, conchs and driftwood to perhaps reinforce that look or feel.

Balancing between worlds

Decks can often serve as outstanding transitional zones between the ocean and your home. Whether you want to create dining spaces, hammocks, or simply just turn your deck into a breezy, beach-themed view of your ocean artifacts and collections – whenever you’re putting together the concept of what your space will be all about – make sure it transitions people from one space to the other.

Don’t forget the lighting!

Lighting is not only a must for any beachfront deck, it’s also a great excuse to use your shells and other beach discoveries and find creative ways to use them. You can use string lighting and tiki torches, but how about bringing it all together by filling some wax into a seashell and creating some tiny candles? Get creative and help bring the space to life in only the way you can!

Four ways you can celebrate your love of seashells

Beach lovers can’t get enough of seashells – whether it’s incorporating them into their own home designs or using them as jewelry and accessorizing with them. Here are a few ways you can celebrate your love of seashells show everyone just how important beach life is to you!

Decorating your home

When used correctly, the bold use of seashells can transform a room. Whether it’s lining lamps, using them as paperweights for a desk, or even outlining the exterior of a major fixture in your home like a fireplace – any homeowner can turn a ho-hum space into an eye-catching accent by adding shells to the mix.

Jewelry

One of the most popular trends of the last 2-3 years believe it or not – has become seashell jewelry. Whether it’s earrings, bracelets, necklaces and even belts and watches – shells seem to be all over everything these days. Part of the reason for this is the sheer range in colors and styles that you can use for your designs. They go with just about every outfit, whether it’s beach-style casual, business or even to make that formal gown pop.

Studying shells

Seashells are an incredibly useful things, however – you’ll get more out of your creative power if you know which shell is which and where and when to look for them. Now you’ll be able to label your endlessly growing collection without having to identify them on the Internet and come up with even more creative ways as to how you can use them.

Accents

One great way to use seashells is to use them as accents and in ways that almost seamlessly blend into the background. This list could literally be endless, but folks have used them to decorate picture frames, seashell light strands, soap dishes, flower pots, candle holders, you name it – a shell can be used to do it.

Seashells are wonderful things, but you already know that! Hopefully these can inspire your to have some more fun with your passion for the sea and help fulfill that creative need!

Essential ingredients of beach design

Ask any good realtor or home designer and they’ll tell you that a well decorated home should be a reflection of its natural surroundings. Beach homes are no different.

However, there’s a lot to sort through – from the accents, the colors, the décor, the furniture, all of it. This month, we’re going to discuss what the essential ingredients of any beach house should have from a décor standpoint.

Keep things simple

When it comes to decorating a coastal home, the rule is that the simpler it is, the better it is. Coastal homes should feel like a getaway – an escape from the constant business of the world and a place where simplicity isn’t something that’s nice to have – but an essential ingredient for a happy life.

Keep the clutter to a minimum. Look for larger, brighter sightlines. Add touches that pique interest and minimize drama. Soften the overall vibe.

Bringing the outside in

The great thing about beach homes is you don’t have to shopping for a million and one accents. Most of the time, you can find them on the beach. Take your kids on a seashell hunt and use their treasures in a bowl or vase. Find driftwood and repurpose it.

Nothing brings a sense of place than when you combine the outside with the inside. Purchase your necessities, but don’t go overboard and always try to maintain the sense of fun and play inside the home.

History’s mysteries

The great thing about beach décor is that it’s pretty timeless. Everything should tell a story – from a memory with loved ones to something that conveys the sense of mystery and wonder that only the sea can convey. Both of these elements will add a sense of fun and depth to the charm of your home.

Form and function

Coastal homes have a sense of durability about them. The salt in the air, the storms – they can pound anything man made. So your home décor should reflect that in it’s sense of integrity and strength. Don’t skimp when it comes to your fabrics, lighting and flooring. You need it to be strong – but from a design standpoint – it’ll just look better.

And then remember –there’s the practicality of it all. You’ll be strolling through your home with sand on your feet, water sprinkling everywhere and your home needs to have a specific ease of use.

Whether your home is on the shore or miles inland – coastal design can bring both a sense of warmth and charm to it. Follow these tips and you can make every day feel like a getaway!

Underrated décor that should be part of any beach home

Beach themes have always been popular in homes, but a lot of times blogs only talk about the things that we expect to see – stuff like shells (hey, we still love ‘em), corals, bright colors and the like. This month, we’re here to discuss some off the radar items that you might not be thinking about that are not only versatile components of any beach design – but can also make a dramatic difference in your home’s overall feel and appearance.

Let’s jump right in!

Nautical maps

Nautical Maps are awesome because you can use them to literally do anyone of a dozen things with them. We’ve seen people use them as place mats, wall hangings, framed pictures, wraps around lamps, coasters – we’ve even seen them used as wallpaper. Yes, you read that right – wallpaper. One of the most underrated color schemes is dark blue on baby blue and with baby blue being such a staple color used in coastal homes, a darker shade of blue in nautical maps can really help mix up the look of your home.

Rope

Boat rope is not only one of the most useful tools you can have on the water – it is insanely useful when it comes to decorating your beach house. It can be used to hang things, it can be used as a barrier to a garden, and accent in the kitchen, something that you can use to hang lights from and more. Some of our most creative friends have found ways to use them as punk bed ties – saving space, adding support and creating a really cool look.

Driftwood

OK, so driftwood is probably at peak popularity from a design standpoint – but there’s just so much you can do with it, that it’s value shouldn’t be understated. We here at Blue Seas Trading however – think it’s application is best used outside. It can be assembled into benches, you can make some really cool an interesting table designs and you can use rounded drift wood as stools and end tables. Even better is the material’s durability. It’s already pretty weather beaten – and that’s the point, so there’s no constant cleaning to have to worry about. You also don’t need to sweat the salty air and elements that can sometimes get the better of exterior fixtures.

Up-cycled materials

One person’s sea junk is another person’s sea treasure – and when it comes to adding that extra level of beach happiness to your space, you’ll find a lot of value in sea junk. Chains? You can turn them into table or bed frames. Or just frames. Or simple accents, even.

Sconces can be made from brass marine fixtures. Flags can be used to give your wall that little extra something. Old buoys can make the best wall fixtures or centerpieces.

Our point is – everything can have meaning and everything can have a purpose in a beach themed house – and that’s what makes it fun. Hopefully, through reading this, you found a little added inspiration!

Must-have ingredients of any coastal kitchen

Whether it’s the place you call home year-round or your vacation spot – so much of our family life takes place in the kitchen. And like any setting, a coastal style home décor can make any space feel inviting.

Here are some key ingredients every coastal kitchen should have – a place that will always feel peaceful and give your guests a sense of relaxation and feeling right at home.

Coastal colors

You always want to go with the colors of the key elements in a coastal setting; colors that are inspired by the sand, sky and many tones of the water. Blue always works – as it checks so many individual boxes. Whether darker shades or softer tones – it’s the must-have color for any beach setting.

It’s not a bad idea to pair those blues with white color schemes – giving it a vivid pop of color – or perhaps more muted tons with complimentary shades of gray or yellow.

Types of tiles

When done correctly – tiles can be the star of your kitchen and when it comes to beach themes, the same rings true. Coastal designs afford you with the perfect opportunity to create backsplashes full of character and with lots of materials and colors to choose from. Do – however – be wary of choice paralysis! Shades of blue, green, gray and tan can help recreate rolling ocean waves. Various stones and treasure tones can help you craft unique mosaics. Whichever way you go – don’t be afraid to get creative!

Colored appliances

Using colored appliances is one of the most under-appreciated and under-utilized means of adding color pop to your space. Just one colored appliance can take your kitchen from just another coastal design to giving off a strong undertone of shabby chic. The colors – especially retro colors like beach blue, turquoise, mint green and gray can add a tremendous amount of contrast to your kitchen and give it that little something extra.

Never be afraid to use wood

No coastal kitchen is ever complete without the perfect wood accent. In fact, many designs today take their inspiration from drift wood that’s tumbled through the ocean, or that furniture that’s withstood years of beatings from the sun, salt and wind.

Simply put, unfinished wood that looks rough, raw and white washed can really bring your space together and give you a truly authentic, grainy look. If you’re going more modern, then polished wood floors and cabinets can help give you a greater sense of sophistication.

Four beach themed design tips

There’s nothing quite like the enjoyment and sense of relaxation someone can get from the beach. The good thing is – when it comes to your house, you don’t have to be on the beach to at least partially enjoy all the benefits of the serenity of the experience. Many people are choosing beach themed décor and you’re likely reading this post because you’re strongly considering doing the same.

Here are some tips to help enhance that beach theme in your house.

Finding art

The best art isn’t the stuff on paintings. It’s the stuff you just find. When you’re seaside, be sure collect a few pieces from the beach to bring home and use. It could be driftwood, pebbles, sea glass, shells – rocks – whatever you might find. Even better – you can use a lot of these materials in conjunction with each other in order to make some really wonderful accents and pieces.

Soft lighting

One of the main features of any theme is your lighting. And believe it or not, lighting isn’t always affected by electricity and sunlight. Sometimes it’s the overall tone of the room. Usually beach themes are bathed in soft lighting. This is why you see colors like white being the poster child for coastal interiors – because it spreads light. From the curtains, to facing mirrors at windows to boost the amount of light coming in – there are a myriad of things you can do to boost the overall look, feel – and yes – brightness of your space.

Colors of the sea

Choosing colors for a beach themed room is relatively easy because all you need to do is look to the beach for inspiration. Light, lazy blues, white and grainy browns for your sand… yellow and bold color juxtapositions in the sky. Our general rule of thumb is that the more crisp the color, the better. While it’s good to go earthy and authentic (we’ll get to that in a second), it’s the snap of clean, bold white sheets or tablecloths that can really bring your room together.

Getting grainy

Beaches are sandy, rocky and often give off an authentic, weathered feel. Beach décor is an interesting design scheme largely because it allows extremes like snapping colors and drift wood/rocks to exist in the same space and make each other better. Don’t be afraid to go with the worn look on many of your furniture selections and accents. It’ll give an organic, authentic feel to your surroundings.

Good luck with your new décor! Nothing beats the beach!

When is the best time to go shelling?

One of the best aspects about shelling is the individualistic experience of it all – being able to tune out the outside world and enjoy something so rewarding at your own pace and at your leisure. But we want to give you a friendly warning – sooner or later you’re going to want to start raking in the bigger hauls! And getting those bigger, better hauls means being more efficient and tactical in the way you approach you shelling expeditions.

And that’s what we’re here to talk about today – when the best times are to go shelling in order to find the best possible shells.

Right after a storm

Storms are always a little more intense on the coasts, especially down here in the Florida Gulf Coast region, but they can be a boon to shell seekers everywhere. Storms cause oceans to churn and when oceans churn you get stronger tides and you’ll see more things that get washed up on a beach. Among those things are shells, which means not only a better selection, but better quality shells as well – which commonly get dug up from the ocean floor and make their way to shore.

Easterly winds

Storms aren’t the only things that can bring shells ashore. High winds are also a big help. When mother nature cues the winds eastward down here, you’ll notice a stronger tide and a more forceful, favorable tide. If you get out to the beach during low tide on those windy days, you’re sure to find the kinds of shells you’re looking for – in addition to some pleasant surprises as well!

Offseason months

We’re not the most sports-centric blog, but believe it or not, shelling follows a very similar pattern to baseball season, except flipped on its head. Colder, winter months – from November through March – are usually the best times to go shelling. The winter months are best because of #1 and #2 in this blog. There are higher winds and there are more storms in the winter months, with thinner, colder waters. That means larger shell piles to peruse to find the kinds of shells you’re looking for.

Shelling is really a recreational activity at heart – so the best time is always the time you just feel like doing it. But if you want to find the good stuff, focus your efforts on these three occurrences and you’ll find just what you’re looking for!

Shelling tips to get back into the swing of things

It’s January now, but soon it’ll be February and you’ll be thinking about your vacation. Or you live down in the Florida area like we do and will be taking great relief in the fact that the weather is warming back up again. Either way – it’ll be time to hit the beach again – and for our inner shell nut – it’ll be time to let loose!

But like anyone who’s good at anything in this world, it’s always important to slowly work our way back into things – and that’s what we’re here to do today! Here are some shelling tips that’ll help you get the new season started on the right foot!

Where should I go shelling when I’m on vacation?

Well honestly, it depends a lot on where you’re shelling. If we knew where the best shells would be all the time, I know a select few would probably have all of them! And honestly, even if I did and was unselfish about it – it’s kind of taking the fun out of things. Shelling is like a treasure hunt and finding that missing piece or that long sought after shell; that’s the best part about it!

Tides

Look at the tides for the days you’ll be on vacation. Usually your best times to go are about an hour before and an hour after low tide. If you need to find local tide charts, you can find them easily online.

Moons

Why is the moon so important? Because the moon often has a dramatic impact on the breadth of the tides. Full moons generally have the greatest impact, while crescent moons have the least. But when the Moon is at it’s moodiest is when you can find some of the most exotic shells.

Knowing what you’re looking for 

If you’re after a certain type of shell – there are a ton of helpful resources online that’ll not only help you identify the shell, but also provide you with charts and maps as to where those can be found. Hopefully the shell you’re looking for is close to where you’re vacationing.

Don’t forget to clean those shells!

Cleaning is a major part of a shelling experience that’ll bring the highest degree of satisfaction. It’ll help shells maintain the color and from there – it’s really up to you how you display them or use them in crafts. Just be sure to get the salt and sand off and dry them properly.

Good luck! Peak shelling time is right around the corner!

Why the beach is best in the winter

People often associate the summer with being the best time to go to the beach, but we’re here to tell you that the winter offers just as much, if not more opportunity on the coast – especially down here in Florida.

In fact, many of your favorite activities are still available to you and at less cost and with a whole lot less hassle. Here are some of our favorite things to do in the winter at the beach and why in many ways – we prefer it.

It’s peak shelling time – Believe it or not – the winter time is often considered to be the best time to go shelling at the beach. It sounds, a little counter-intuitive, right? But alas, it’s not. There’s a lot less traffic on the beach in the winter months, which means a dramatically increased selection.

It’s actually not all that cold – Here in Florida, it’s never really ‘cold’ in a meaningful sense, with average temperature steadily lingering in the mid 69’s to mid 70’s, making it the perfect time to get some much needed rest and relaxation.

Gorgeous sunsets – Sometimes it’s overstated, but there simply isn’t a better time to take in the sites and sounds of the Florida coasts than the winter. While the summer heat can add in the haze of humidity, the atmosphere in the winter is crisp and clear in the winter months and around every corner is a picture perfect moment just waiting to happen.

The holidays – From celebrations, shopping deals and bonfires – it’s all there. While a beach Christmas isn’t for everyone – it’s certainly something that should experienced in life at least once.

Smaller crowds – Summer time is always beach time for most people, but the winter is so full of opportunity to avoid the throngs of people. You don’t have to make reservations at popular restaurants, wait in long lines, jockey for towel space on the beach, nothing.

So there you have it – don’t underestimate what places like Florida can offer you in the winter! Do you have any winter time activities you like to take part in at the beach? Leave a comment below!

Crafting Christmas Ornaments out of seashells

The holiday season is upon us and if you’re anything like us, it’s one of your favorite times of the year! And not only is it fun to give gifts and do all those holiday related activities with your family and friends – it’s a great time to craft. In our specific case – it’s an awesome excuse to craft our own Christmas Tree Ornaments.

And what else would be using? Shells of course!

Now your options are really limitless in terms of how, where why when and how you make seashell ornaments. I’ve seen large, ornate, polished ornaments, I’ve seen them adorn trees strung together and I’ve seen stand alone, simple shells placed inside the tree. What style you use to make yours with is up to you – and that’s what makes it fun and worthwhile – especially if you value individuality and uniqueness in your family’s Christmas tree presentation.

All that being said, there are some basic tips that can get you off on the right foot – tips that we’re here to discuss today. Here are some things you can do to make a great Christmas Tree Ornament out of seashells.

Let’s jump right in!

Step-1 – Be sure to clean your shells and take any debris and dust that’s accumulated inside. It’s also not a bad idea to bleach your shells if you have a chance. This will help take off any grayed or off-colored appearance that your shell may have. Once you’ve soaked them, let them dry completely.

Step-2 – Once they’re dried off, use a small drill bit (you can get one at any crafting store or even hardware store) to drill a hole into the part of the shell that you’re looking to thread the ribbon through that you’ll use to hang your ornament.

Step-3 – From here – you can get as creative as you want! Some people like to put a bow on the back of the shell to give it some extra pop and others just prefer to thread the newly drilled hole and hang it like any other ornament – saving the bling-bling for the body of the shell itself. For those of you who choose to go the full-blown bow route – steal some fishing line from somewhere else in the house and you can quietly use that within your ornament to serve as the hanger. This way – all the focus will be on the flash, style and substance of the bow and shell – and not how it’s hung from the tree.

Step-4 – Here’s the fun part! Now you can decorate your shell. You can use fabric roses, lace, more strands of ribbon, glitter – literally anything you want. If you’re looking for some inspiration, we certainly recommend heading over to sites like Pinterest – which has lots of interesting patterns you can deploy. So long as you have a glue gun – you can make practically anything!

Our takeaway tip would be that if you want to give your ornament one, final more earthy touch – to spray it with polyurethane to help seal up the shell’s pours and go with a more natural look. Yes – it’ll take some of the ‘pop’ away from the ornament, but it’ll also ensure that the shell looks nice and balance – and will also last longer.

Enjoy your holiday season and we’ll see you back here next month!