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7 Ways to Bring the Ocean into Your Home

If you’ve ever spent some time in a seaside town, you probably noticed that the design elements were just a little different: a little lighter, cleaner, more natural.

Ocean-inspired design feels as fresh as the salty air coming off the ocean, and it can be incorporated into just about any space. If you’re dreaming of days spent by the ocean, you’ll want to consider updating your décor to bring the ocean inside your very own home.

Start With Color
Beach-inspired colors are incredibly soothing and can be applied to just about any room. Blues and tans of all shades punched with pops of clean white, a strong navy or a chocolate brown—the possibilities are truly endless.

A more muted palette is universally appealing—think baby blues, beiges and creams. You could also try a whitewashed look, with shades of whites and greys (with a touch of blue).

Keep it Clean
The beauty of the ocean is its tranquility. To achieve this feeling, getting rid of clutter is a must. Keep it simple by keeping it clean. Use decorative pieces, but let them stand on their own to really be appreciated. Let “less is more” be your mantra.

Show Off Your (Carefully Curated) Stuff
A simple bookcase can be used to display your favorite seaside collectables, whether it’s a beautifully framed family photo with the ocean in the background, a favorite seashell or a coffee table book of a famous oceanside town. Try a bookcase with cube-shaped cubbies—four by four is the perfect number of cubes. Try to keep it to one item per cubby to achieve that clean, peaceful look.

Clean and Simple Linens
Crisp cottons and linens (or a linen-polyester blend, which can be lower maintenance) are perfect for your ocean-inspired room. Throws and pillows are a welcome addition, just keep them simple. Create visual interest with textures, rather than busy patterns.

Make the Room Come Alive
The ocean is brimming with life, and your room can be, too, if you incorporate fresh flowers or plants. A single stem in a sea glass vase is easy to implement and can have a huge impact.

Seaside Accessories
It’s so easy to be inspired by the sea—lanterns, tropical fish, shells, seagulls, the list goes on. There are so many elements that conjure up that beachy feeling, and you should absolutely incorporate them into your room—with restraint.

It’s a fine line between a cool, classic look and a tacky motel room, so decorate wisely. Instead of populating your room with every creature in the ocean, stick to a single element and keep it subtle. For instance, a few pillows imprinted with pastel starfish is delightful, but resist the urge to add starfish wallpaper, starfish-shaped cabinet hardware, starfish wall-hangings and so forth. Keep it as an accent, not a dominant theme.

Play With Material
There are so many different materials that can be worked into a seaside theme—most of which come in neutral colors, so you can incorporate a variety materials without overwhelming a room.

Wood, bamboo, glass, rope and stone—mix and match these materials to give the room a multidimensional feeling.

If you need a little inspiration, book a plane ticket (or start clicking around the web). Different seaside towns have very different moods. Cape Cod will inspire something radically different than the Pacific Northwest, and California and Hawaii are totally distinct from one another. Whether your surfing the internet or actual waves, you’ll inevitably collect ideas based on your favorite locale.

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