Bring Home the Beach

Make your house shore-chic with our easy coastal decorating ideas.

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When you're lucky enough to live by the water, even routine morning strolls yield great beach finds. We've got five easy ways to turn your treasures into striking accents.

 1. On Display 
Looking for a simple way to showcase your favorite discoveries? Create a seaside display atop a bookshelf, side table, or mantel. Highlight a single shell or a group. Just remember: When grouping your display, consider size, color, and texture.

 2. Custom Creations 
Let your imagination run wild. Using your favorite sea hues, paint river rocks, sea stars, or shells in solid colors, polka dots, or stripes. We recommend acrylic paint because it's water-based and can be easily washed from clothes and skin.

 3. A Memory Box 
Combining a few shells with photographs, maps, postcards, and other memorabilia adds a personal touch to collecting. Use a framed glass table or wooden shadowbox to celebrate a favorite vacation, commemorate the summer, or remember a child's first trip to the beach.

 4. Time in a Bottle 
When you must say goodbye to a favorite coastal destination, take a bit of the beach home with you. Simply fill an apothecary jar or bottle with sand, a few shells, and any of your favorite beach discoveries. Label the jar and keep it as a constant reminder of days at the shore. As you continue to travel, add to your collection.

 5. Shell Showcase 
After years of beachcombing, you may have an extensive collection. Display a vast assortment of finds in one stunning piece. With the help of a hot-glue gun, encrust a mirror, lamp shade, or picture frame by adhering your favorite shells in rows. Group them by size, shape, or color.

Another idea for a shell collage: Cover a Styrofoam ball with small shells uniform in color. When finished, these shelled gems look great on a table or grouped in a bowl. Tip: Poke a pencil into the Styrofoam ball to help you hold it while you're hot-gluing.

 Beachside Collecting Tips 
Always thoroughly wash, dry, and bleach your favorite finds.

Make sure to collect only abandoned treasures-nothing alive.

Remember that some beaches restrict the removal of shells, so make sure beachcombing is permitted.

 Also:  Coastal Living Shell Guide

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