How To Decorate With Shells For A Beachy Look

Let’s start with the basics of sea shells. Salt and chemicals from the sea (such as calcium and carbonate) are the building blocks gastropods and mollusk’s use to make sea shells.  While these animals use their shells as a home, we can use them as decorative items in our homes.  The varied shapes, sizes and colors are ideal to add a little visual pizzazz to your sea shell decor ideas – especially for coastal décor.  These versatile beauties can go a multitude of container types or just be laid out on a flat surface.

The Magical Shell as a Decorative Item… I WAS HOOKED AT SHELL-O

Living in Florida (where my Airbnb’s are also located), most of my collections include shells from the Gulf and Atlantic coasts such as the Florida Fighting Conch (brown ornate spiral shape), Scallop Seashell (fluted symmetrical fan shape) and Olive Shells (elongated oval shape). 

shells for decor
different sea shells for decor
variety of shells to use for decorating
decorate with sea shells

Where can shells like this be used?

These types of shells are ideal to place in glass, wood, ceramic and wicker bowls. The receptacle can be either plain or decorated.  Coastal decorations include neutral color twines or rope.  Attaching shells to the outside is also a nice idea.

If you use glass bowls to display your shells, make an easy glass cleaner at home to have on hand.

teal console table with shells in glass vase

The fruits of your labor can be displayed in all sorts of locations.  I’ve used them on kitchen and bathroom counters, on table tops and even for outdoor floor and table displays.

The bedroom is another great spot to display your sea shell creations!

blue starfish with shells

The colors of sea shells can be used to compliment or liven up your décor.  Placing sea glass with a color in the same palette as your other décor is always a nice idea.  Or, you can compliment the neutral shell colors with a bright receptacle color.

sea shells and sea glass vase

It’s especially nice to know that your supply of shells is basically free (or you can always purchase at the local shore shell-shop if you want that special mix or size of shell – or perhaps something special).  Well you probably will have to incur the cost of visiting the shore, but bring along that net or plastic bag and collect-away. 

blue ceramic bowl with shells

Do I need to buy shells?

Definitely not if you live or vacation near a beach town. You can easily select enough shells (in locations like Marco, Sanibel or Amelia Island) to fill a small glass bowl in about an hour.  Check on-line for shelling beaches. 

As an added attraction, you might in some places (like Ponte Vedra Beach) look for prehistoric sharks teeth.  And you’ll have fun in the sun doing it.  Just remember the sun hat and put on your sunscreen. 

If you don’t have direct access to a beach with shells, you can buy some here in the meantime until you fill up your collection!

white washed wood tray with shells

Please don’t collect any live animals.  Shore vacations are the best!

Attempt to fill your vessels with sizes, shapes and colors that fit the motif of the room.  Sometimes all white tone shells look great, other times mixed colors are best.  And you can always put in some colored stones or sea glass. 

patio table with sea shell basket for decor

Packing any container is usually best achieved by putting different sized shells in the vessel to avoid large void spaces.  Save those special shells for the top.

Be creative – Some People See More In A Walk On The Beach Than A Trip Around The World.

Putting shells in a jar is easy and a great way to bring the beach home!

Here are some more fun ideas from my parents house to decorate with sea shells!

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