And, what makes them nautical!

A "nautical room" is one that looks and feels like someone who actually knows a port hole from a bung hole lives there. It can be in the architecture, the accessories or even the vista's. Ralph Lauren's quasi-successful attempt at the "nautical" interior is always over tweaked, over romanticized...and to real sailors it looks especially twee.

(Source: Gary McBournie)
A nautically inspired home is also different from a home at the seashore; it's saltier, less chintz - more canvas, less floral - more durable, less feminine - more masculine.
As a lifelong sailor myself I've always been attracted to anything "boat-ish;" an errant oar in a corner of the porch or the use of old time-worn charts applied as wallpaper, those are things that feel comfortable to me.

Here are some photos of Nautical rooms which I've been collecting as I think they give the essence of what I'm talking about.


Isn't this an awesome room? Everything about it is perfection!
The rich blue walls with the large-scale nautical charts, the mahogany furniture and simple textiles all contribute to a very smart looking room.

(Source: Joseph Paul Davis)
This is a room I decorated for House Beautiful Magazine a few years back and I chose a nautical theme. The telescope, a framed chart, sailboat photos and the brown "Tall-Ships" transferware are all modest acquisitions. There are four different check-patterned cotton fabrics, simple painted floors, and sloppy slipcovers on everything creating a totally chillaxed look.

(Source: Coastal Living)
What makes this small townhouse (somewhat) interesting is the "star compass" on the floor, otherwise, it would be a another plain blue and white room.

(Source: Joseph Paul Davis)
This home I did for a couple who are major boaters. We added a few pieces of "nautical" decor to give this house a Nantucket feel. The large globe-like fixture is a nod to Ferdinand Magellan; the wall sconces have large scallop-shell backs; the ships wheel centered on the balcony (or bridge) above adds charm and makes the home specific to the owners.

(Source: Coastal Living)
I'd freekin' live on this porch, right?!?!?!

This bad-ass mish-mosh is made of all sorts of bits and pieces from here and there. The old surfboard and the blue palate make it feel nautical and beachy. A place that screams don't worry about your sandy feet.

(Source: Joseph Paul Davis)
This was actually my own boat, a 1939 Trumpy, which I totally restored. For the interiors I didn't want the "red, white and blue bit" that most boaters choose, so I went with red, white and tan which complimented the black walnut panelling throughout.

(Source: Joseph Paul Davis)
This is the library of a "boating" client of mine.
I used narrow tongue-and-groove with the mahogany caps on the ceiling and or the walls I used horizontal (shiplap) mahogany wainscoting with flush mount brass pulls and accented it with the hand carved mahogany rope detail on the chair railing.

(Source: Herlong Architects)
This totes-cray billiards room feels as if it's inside the hull of a glorious sailing vessel. The teak and panelling with the holly and teak floors are what gives it individuality.

(Source: Lisa Creegan)
The is the perfect, casual, seaman's house!
Casual, bright and not overdone.

Here's an old house done up with a nautical theme for a sport fisherman.
The horizontal wood paneling is the perfect background for the crisp blue.

(Source: Keller Donavan)
This handsome Nantucket home feels nautical and simple.
The beautiful faux-wood wallpaper on the walls gives a drift-woody effect to the space. The use of solid, clear colors is what works here. Pastels suck for implying "nautical."

(Source: Suzanne Kassler)
This wonderfully fresh version of nautical is so welcome! You don't have to "do" old-fashioned when you "do" nautical.

(Source: Gary McBournie)
OMG, this is the best nautical kitchen I've ever seen!
The grate-fronted cabinets, mahogany tops and knobs are authentic and practical. Don't you totally dig that ceiling left exposed?

(Source: Ralph Lauren)
This is the aforementioned Ralph Lauren advert and a perfect example of what I mean by "too twee," it just isn't genuinely nautical as it's way too feminine and too staged looking.
Queue the fishnets with glass balls and styrofoam mermaids and crabs.


(Source: India Hicks)
Whaaaaat? Inexpensive furniture in a crappy room looks this cool?
Uh yahhhh...
Paint everything bright white
Add an inexpensive online/catalogue table
Add el-cheapo directors chairs with white covers
Hang charts of the local Bahamian waters on the walls...
Geeeeniiiiuuuus! (Oprah voice)

This casual feeling is accomplished by using classic elements in a casual manner; the Irish console painted white, the English dining chairs in a canvas stripe, and so on.


(Source: Domino)
Anyone who knows me will know I luvs me a room that looks great and doesn't cost anything, and this one kicks-ass! Old charts as wallpaper, yard-sale furniture and wall-to-wall carpeting (which is always cheaper than refinishing floors and buying a rug)
Dontcha wanna spend the weekend here? aiight then.

(Source: House and Home)
I love the crispness and clean look of this space. Remove the small toy cars on the wall shelf and it's perfect for any age.


(Source: Patrick Sutton)
The formula doesn't get any easier than this; strap a kayak to the ceiling, hang up some oars and bing-bang-boom, you're done! No cutesy lighthouse lamps, or boring, fake boat prints on the walls...

I've shown this image before, it's so freeking perfect for a nautical theme! Mahogany framed beds with white tongue-and-groove panels are a shipwrights Viagra!

(Source: Phoebe Howard)
This ship-shape room implies an antique patina by using the dark Victorian style beds, but its totally freshened up with the textiles and accessories.


This wicked-cool sink has a top made from a mahogany ships wheel. It's awesome with the chrome accents. A brass sink would look like hell as it never looks clean.

(Source: Sig Bergamin)
This Tommy Bahama number is definitely working for me.
It doesn't scream nautical - but nautical shouldn't scream nautical anyhow!

Arrrgh matey, I'm gonna take me wooden leg off and soak me personal parts in this mahogany tub while lookin' at me frigate thar yonder in na harbor.

Porthole in a as shit, riiight?

Ahhh yes, a dinghy to soak yer dinghy!
This, while being totally over the top is also way cool. Notice the backgrounds are kept simple to allow the tub center stage.


Dontcha think this is just a slight bit too staged looking? Nice view, but all those made-in-China gift shop accessories are nasty!

Stamped pony-hide zebra and pre-teen throw pillows?? Let's hope this is a rental unit somewhere.

They did a 30 minute sweep through Pottery Barn and now be feelin' all nautical... riiiight, as if...

Little Jimmy's nautical Idaho.
OK, just how totally dorky can you get???


The use of yachting trophies and awards are always fun; a collection is even better.

(Source: Joe Nye)
An American holiday table dressed to impress the Commodore, indeed!

These andirons are such a good way to add some nautical flavor to your room.

What a cool way to give a little maritime flavor to your home. The "lines" could be a bit thicker but the idea with the brass cleats is great.
ogany newel posts; the painted shiplap walls.

(Source: Phoebe Howard)
This boring hallway is made interesting by using brackets to show a series of model boats.

(Source: Coastal Living)
This scrappy, old room with the tired knotty-pine paneling is fun and beachy with the use of some lobster-pot buoys, a Sailfish and a few found shells sitting around. Honest and charming.

Simple is as simple does!

(Source: Stylebeat)
Just the addition of a fixture like this will add a fun touch. If you're crafty you could easily make something just as smart looking.

Accessories like these pillows can be great fun in a kids room or on a porch, but will look totally lame in the living room.

I wish you clear skies and smooth sailing!

You can do it, I'm here to help!