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

By Kim Turnbull
August 12, 2008

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

1. On Display
Looking for a simple way to showcase your favoritediscoveries? Create a seaside display atop a bookshelf, side table,or mantel. Highlight a single shell or a group. Just remember: Whengrouping 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, polkadots, or stripes. We recommend acrylic paint because it'swater-based and can be easily washed from clothes and skin.

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

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 apothecaryjar or bottle with sand, a few shells, and any of your favoritebeach discoveries. Label the jar and keep it as a constant reminderof days at the shore. As you continue to travel, add to yourcollection.

5. Shell Showcase
After years of beachcombing, you may have an extensivecollection. Display a vast assortment of finds in one stunningpiece. With the help of a hot-glue gun, encrust a mirror, lampshade, 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 withsmall shells uniform in color. When finished, these shelled gemslook great on a table or grouped in a bowl. Tip: Poke a pencil intothe Styrofoam ball to help you hold it while you're hot-gluing.

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

Make sure to collect only abandoned treasures-nothing alive.

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

Also: Coastal Living Shell Guide