Sorority by the Sea | Reader Request

I love a challenge.  Even more, I love helping you lovely readers get inspired to make your dorms and apartments as lovely as possible.  So when I got this email, it totally made my morning:

Hi Jessica,
I love your blog and design style so much! I was hoping you could help my sorority sisters and I out with some decorating advice. For our bedroom, we've agreed on a nautical theme with navy blue, white, and yellow. I was wondering if you had any ideas that could make the space comfortable and stylish?

I love the nautical theme for rooms.  In fact, I went through a stage in my pre-teen years where I was all about ship wheels, lighthouses, ropes, shells, and sand.  These days, I see a fine line between nautical and going absolutely overboard (haha, get it?!).  With the bold colors and motifs, there's a fine line between crisp, beachy, cheerful look and something that turns out rather cartoonish.  

The trick to getting your space into shipshape?  Balance.  It's all about balancing the bold and bright hues and telltale motifs with natural and understated elements.  You need the fun stuff to feel nautical: boats, anchors, shells, stripes, ship wheels.  Bring in fibers like wicker, linen, and burlap for texture.  Keep window dressings simple---sheer white curtains are effortlessly chic and so very "cottage by the beach."  Include an assortment of both crisp white furniture and rich, warm woods.  A few worn, vintagey items are great, too.  

Be sure to get crafty.  Painting a round mirror gold and navy, then gluing gold studs to it will look like a window right off the Titanic.  Scavenge antique stores and thrift shops for one-of-a-kind pieces like old binoculars, silver shell dishes (to hold jewelry/spare change), colored glass lanterns, and jars (which you can fill with sand or shells).  Include a few bright, crisp store bought accessories like a sleek yellow tray or funky lamp to add modern edge and freshness.  

Here's some more inspiration when it comes to nautical-done-right:

Maps lend an adventurous, swashbuckling feel. (Especially if X marks the buried treasure!)

The rustic texture of rope looks refined displayed in glass containers.  

Vintage suitcases can store clutter out-of-site.  On the walls, vintage
book pages with diagrams of shells and sea creatures are framed for art.  

Oars, sailor hats, shells, and rolled up maps are ideal for a seafaring space.
Add an industrial touch with a worn-out metal basket for magazine/textbook storage.

This room balances the crisp white and warm wood perfectly, with bits of rope and wicker for texture.

Make your own nautical flags by painting paper or fabric and stringing it across the wall as art.

Throw in a little of the unexpected: such as a bit of zebra
print for zest or a mercury glass candle holder for sparkle.  

To sea, to sea!



Elaine said...

This was a great challenge piece! I dig the industrial meets nautical! The yellow is a nice touch to the classic blue, white, and red. Excellent, excellent!

Olivia M. said...

I love your ideas! I totally dig the nautical look when it's not overboard (pun intended), and all of your finds are so great!

Anonymous said...

great post as usual, jessica. and also really love all the actual pics u post. pls. keep up the good work you do.

Hana | The book smeller said...

great post jessica, i love your blog!

Caitie said...

Thanks so much for answering my email Jessica! I love everything and it will all be a big help for making our space beautiful!

white furniture said...

I really loved your post and it's really an inspirational blog. You've gotten great ideas for above room decoration.