You’ve likely seen nautical fashion before – from striped Breton shirts to wide-legged trousers and cable-knit jumpers. These styles reached peak popularity leading up to World War I and WWII.

Nautical- and coastal-inspired homes rely on ample windows for natural light. These spaces also incorporate reclaimed wood and weathered materials for that authentic maritime look.


The nautical aesthetic is centered around bodies of water and encompasses many elements of life on the sea. This theme includes ships, sailboats, lighthouses, rocky coasts, and seashores. The color palette typically leans toward blues, whether serene aqua or dark navy, with whites to reflect the foam of a breaking wave. Soft tan earth tones also work well in this style, as they evoke the colors of sand and seashells. Pale pinks and coral hues are also a good choice to enliven this theme.

The goal of nautical-inspired spaces is to recreate the tranquility and beauty of the ocean without actually having to be on the ocean itself. They do this by blending elements resembling the seaside, such as wood and brass accents resembling ships’ hardware. This style also uses mirrors to open up tight spaces and incorporates light colors to create the illusion of bright sunshine and a clear blue sky.

In contrast to the overt nautical decor cliches of the past, this style is more subtle and makes its statement through accessories like striped throw pillows that evoke a classic Breton shirt. The incorporation of comfort and a sustainable color palette stops new interpretations from feeling like a gimmick.

Artwork that deals with the maritime aesthetic reveals how the beauty of a natural sphere is used as a tool for social control and the hegemony of capitalist forces. This is true for Sekula’s project, which aims to “deconstruct the decorative character of patterning that results from the systematized nature of commercial shipping.” While his images of mammoth ship skeletons discarded on the shore seem to celebrate the panoramic potency of a marine environment, they also reflect a consumerist world that consumes every last trace of the ocean.


If you’re dreaming of a blue-and-white abode brimming with ship and sailing memorabilia, nautical design is the style for you. Coastal design is a similar style, but it emphasizes beachy elements that create the feel of being at the ocean’s shore. For example, coastal-inspired rooms tend to be wide-open and feature natural materials like driftwood and seashells. Light-colored flooring and rugs are also a common choice to mimic the look of sand.

Both styles love striped fabrics and accessories that evoke nautical flags, uniforms, and awnings. They’re typically in cool blues and whites, with navy blue as a nautical decor staple. Other colors that are popular for striped nautical textiles include azure, sapphire, and teal. You can also find hints of orange or yellow, but keeping the overall look light and airy is important.

While nautical and coastal decor can have a preppy, classic look, mermaid-core fashion leans towards more tropical tones. This style is a bit less formal than nautical design and often features floral or jungle-inspired wall art. You’ll also find a lot of muted teals and seafoam greens in mermaid-core-inspired rooms, as well as sunny yellows and warm orange hues.

Nautical-inspired spaces often feature a lot of wooden furniture, from rattan chairs to reclaimed tables. Sea-inspired wall art and framed vintage maps can help add to this beachy theme. In terms of accents, you can also use blown glass to convey an element of the sea or opt for vases filled with dried flowers to give the space a fresh, sea-inspired vibe.


While nautical design is all about ships and sailing memorabilia, coastal-inspired spaces can also have a more subtle feel. They prefer beachside living and open, airy spaces that blend indoors and outdoors, using light colors, mirrors, and large windows for a spacious, sunlit feel.

One of the most iconic features of the nautical aesthetic is striped patterns. These simple motifs are an ode to classic sailor uniforms and flags, and they can instantly add a nautical element to any room. They’re a popular choice for wallpaper, carpeting, and even throw pillows, which are perfect for bringing the theme to a living room or bedroom.

Other nautical-inspired patterns include reclaimed wood and weathered surfaces. The rugged texture of these materials lends an air of authenticity to a room, and they’re also a great way to connect a space with the outdoors. This style is often incorporated into outdoor seating areas and is an excellent choice for beachside homes and restaurants.

Nautical designs often incorporate a lot of details inspired by shipwrecks and other sea-related events. They may include faux sailor knots in wallpaper or feature actual ropes in furniture. While these unique touches can add a sense of character to a nautical-inspired room, they can also be overpowering. A more subtle approach is using accessories replicating these unique details, like wallpaper with a delicate anchor pattern rather than an authentic nautical-themed anchor.

If you want to capture the nautical aesthetic in your home, look for a color palette that is rich in blues and whites. You can also accent your space with natural materials and textures, such as rattan furniture or reclaimed wood furniture. Finally, you can add a pop of color with nautical-inspired accessories like pillows with seashell or coral motifs.


Nautical style is based on bodies of water, so it is a natural theme for furniture and other home décor. The color palette for this style is dominated by blues, from darker shades reminiscent of navy uniforms to lighter hues that reflect the calming waters. The neutrals of sand, wood, and stones also make an appearance in nautical decor to create an authentic oceanic ambiance.

Nautical-inspired spaces offer a variety of interpretations, from coastal to traditional to modern. This style relies on furniture made from rattan and wicker as staples, along with pieces crafted from drifted or raw wood. The latter adds texture and contrast to the sea-inspired colors of the space while adding a more rustic feel. The use of rope or jute for accessories or as an accent in the room can be another way to incorporate this theme.

You can also use natural textiles like linen or cotton to evoke the seashore while maintaining a clean and classic appearance. These fabrics are suitable for making curtains and other window treatments. Coastal-themed wallpapers and artwork that feature the sea can further reinforce this design concept.

Nautical decorative elements can be found in a number of places, from antiques and vintage finds to new home goods. Adding a few decorative accents can transform any space into a nautical haven without packing your bags and moving to a beachfront property! Whether wooden oars or rope pulleys, old ship wheels, or a framed vintage map, these accents give your room a nautical feel. Just be sure to avoid decorating with too many shells, as this can quickly become tacky.


There are a variety of accessories that can help create a nautical aesthetic in your home. These can range from rugs to pillows to light fixtures. There are even curtains available that have a striped pattern. You can also find rugs with wave-like patterns that remind you of the ocean. Other decorative items such as ship wheels, anchors, and lifebuoys can help you complete your nautical room decor.

The nautical style revolves around bodies of water, making blue and white essential colors for creating the aesthetic. Various shades of these colors, from navy blue to azure, frequently blend with white or ivory to achieve a classic look. You can also use plaid and other nautical patterns to add to the style.

The nautical aesthetic room decor can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Many people use shabby or vintage decorations to give their rooms an oceanic vibe. These decorations can include miniature rustic ships, wall anchors, and old wooden helms. Other decor items such as leather suitcases, seashells, and lifebuoys can also be used to create a nautical feel in your home.

Dark nautical is a subset of nautical aesthetics that focuses on darkness and danger associated with the sea. This theme focuses on the ocean’s vastness and unknowable depths, aligning with other dark aesthetics such as Witchcore. Dark nautical isn’t binary; both men and women can enjoy it.

While stripes are a common nautical motif, it’s important to find a balance between them and other more subtle accents. These small details can enhance your nautical design without making it too cliche. Embrace the classic Breton stripe for a timeless look, or opt for broader bands that are more reminiscent of summer days on the beach.

Meet Tim, your friendly lifestyle wordsmith and curator of everyday joys. With a passion for sharing helpful and easy-to-follow guides to meet your daily needs, I'm here to add magic to your routines. Together, let's embark on delightful literary journeys, exploring life's little pleasures, and creating cherished memories that last a lifetime!


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