mini trends

ships ahoy!

by Grace Bonney

nautical pin pack

ships ahoy! design fans because the very first installment of d*s mini trends is all about nautical influences on modern design. whether you’re shopping for textiles or accessories to add a little “pop”, it’s all about pieces with rope, anchor and ship detailing- or that classic sea-faring combo of royal blue, white and red. [buttons above at fred flare, $8 a pack]


i’m sure you’re all just happy to hear about something other than birds for a while, so rest assured that i’ve been filling my inspiration books with sea-themed pieces instead of aviary ones. while popping through stores in manhattan and brooklyn (and online store fronts as well), i couldn’t help notice a trend towards the preppy nautical look. the movement seems to have two branches: marine life themes and straight-forward nautical. i tend to lean towards the marine theme (ie: sea sponges, starfish, seahorses and waves), but i’m also loving the primary color combo of classic red, blue and white. [picture above clockwise from top left: anchor plate by sarah cihat (under $50), rope lamp project at martha stewart, limited edition ocean reef bowl by michele oka doner for steuben glass (splurge! $23k!), paperweights at iomoi, $35]


the great thing about this trend is it emphasizes clean lines, bold color and something other than the bird craze we’ve been seeing for the past year or so. but don’t go buying up all the anchor themed pieces you can get your hands on- the best way to achieve any look is with moderation- whether that means adding hardware that mimics sailing rope, checking out some sea-themed pillows or daring to paint a wall navy blue and pop some bright white and red accessories off of it. so, here are some great ways to get the look in your home (even on a budget!) – enjoy! [photo above, clockwise from top left: pink octy pillow at hable $150, coral lamp at anthropologie $248, ship dress at elsewares $115, rope pull at kitchen source $23]


[photo above, clockwise from trop left: paperweight at iomoi $60, urchin vases at sprout home $11-$15, glass coral at velocity $33 each, sanddollar pillow at hable $210]


[photo above, clockwise from top left: rug at wisteria $399, urchin tealight at sprout home $16, sharky pillow at hable $145]


[photo above, clockwise from top left: sealife cards by stacy pancake $21 a pack or $5 each, coral cocktail napkins at source perrier $45 for 4, white porcelain shell at anthropologie $12, brass urchin candleholder at sprout home $16]

Suggested For You


  • well the bedroom furniture (which belonged to my husband’s 46 yr old sister when she was a LITTLE GIRL) that my mother-in-law FORCED us to put in our spare bedroom would fit in just well. it’s like from a ship or something. 40 years old.

  • Grace, you also highlighted some student work recently that could fit here. She made a lighting structure. It had glass balls (containing lights) that were tied together by crocheted rope. It was then hung by the ceiling. It had a freeform shape. The balls looked like the glass floats they used on fishing boats. And the crocheted rope looked like a net.

  • Could the nautical theme be an off shoot of the 70’s re-mix, particularly in fashion. Recently I have noticed at least two adults wearing thoes rope bracelets that shrink on the wrist. I hadn’t seen one since my family begged me to cut off my crusty, green/gray one in 1979!

  • it’s about time! my 6 yr old son LOVES sharks, and I was told “sharks aren’t *in* right now”, which is why I couldn’t find much for sea life. It’s back! Hooray! and I’m sick of all the birds too. :)

  • i’m looking for some “ocean inspired” knobs for a chocolate brown painted vanity….can anyone help?

  • I’m decorating my 1955 beach cottage rental in a nautical/beach theme. I love working with shells and have done mirrors with shell borders then painted them with gold, a great xmas present. I’ve got a chrome ocean liner look deco tea trolley out on my enclosed front porch and it’s filled with nautical motifs. It goes with a red and white stripe chrome chair and footstool I made over for very little money.

  • whenever i see and octopus i can’t help but think of the creepy mean one from the popeye movie.

    that aside… i love the nauticalness of it all. sure, its a word!

  • i LOVE the seaside look and it’s super trendy and cute!i am so buying that t-shirt

  • I am all about the ship mini trend. I’ve been finding great vintage sail boat fabric and decided to make some stamps too. So adorable. Even with the cooler weather approaching.

  • I wish my ship was setting sail right about now. Man, this makes me think of vacation time. Love the nautical.

  • I’m loving this post – it’s as inspiring today as it was four years ago.

    You can’t beat the red of a life ring with the blue and white stripe of a deckchair. Love it, Elle x