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Nautical Décor for Your Patio

Updated on May 17, 2013

Nautical Décor for Your Patio

Nautical décor doesn't necessarily mean red, white and blue anymore. It can be any array of colors that remind you of the water -- whether or not you live on an ocean, lake or pond. Designers also incorporate nautical style into Coastal Décor -- a very popular style these days.

You might want traditional American nautical with red, white, blue or a more serene cottage coastal with ocean hues or a modern beach nautical with bolder shades and hues. Whichever you are partial to, you'll find so no-nonsense ideas here.

Image Credit: Completely Coastal

Ships Wheel is a Must for Coastal or Nautical Décor

Welcoming your guests to your patio, porch or deck area with a ship's wheel sets the tone right from the beginning! They start looking for what's to come next in their coastal, nautical trip to your outdoor entertaining area. The ship's wheel is available from 9" diameter all the way to a 30" diameter. Find the size that's perfect for your patio!

Treat the Patio Like Any Room in the House - That's the Key to a Great Nautical Décor Patio!

Before you begin the process of decorating or redecorating your patio or outdoor living space, remember to treat it like any other room in your house. Below are some tips for creating your dream patio or outdoor space.

  1. Choose a color scheme and then fabrics that reflect those color choices. Don't forget to mix patterns and solids. That will give you more texture and depth which is visually pleasing.
  2. Arrange the furniture in a manner that works for you and your family. Take note of natural traffic patterns and arrange your furniture accordingly. If you have space, consider making vignettes or different areas for different activities like a dining area, conversation area and bar area.
  3. If you space is small, try to have your furniture do double duty -- footstools can double as extra seating when needed, a table against the wall for everyday but can be pulled out and existing chairs added for a small party or get together, a trunk for storage also acts as a coffee or side table... you get the idea.

nautical shapes
nautical shapes

Nautical Feel for Your Patio (Coastal)

Use Shapes

You can achieve a nautical feel for your patio by using shapes that suggest a nautical feel in the decorating of your patio or outdoor space.

For instance, circles can represent a porthole or foam life preserver, triangles can simulate the sails of a sailboat, squares, triangles or rectangles bring to mind the nautical signal flags and stripes almost always remind us of beach cabanas and umbrellas.

All these shapes can be infused in your design to give the suggestion of a nautical feel without it being "in your face".

Rope Framed Mirror for Nautical Décor - Excellent Nautical Accessory

Mirrors are always a great way to decorate. They reflect light and make spaces appear bigger than they are. For a nautical patio, consider adding a rope framed mirror. You'll get the nautical feel as well as the other benefits associated with mirrors.

Color Schemes for Your Coastal or Nautical Décor

Complete Patio Replacement Cushions

Another way to get a taste of nautical style into your outdoor room is to replace the cushions or slings of your existing patio furniture for new ones in the color scheme you want to embrace for a nautical patio. Fabrics go a long way toward grounding a decorating design.

For whatever color scheme you decide to use, combine fabrics. Try using one basic color or pattern and then accenting on one chair or with outdoor throw pillows in another color or pattern. The examples below are from the Sunbrella® Outdoor Fabrics line for 2012:

Traditional Nautical: Red, White, Blue and Yellow

Modern Coastal Style: Ocean Hues with Blues and Yellows

Nautical Beach: Colors of the Sand, Sky and Surf

Modern Bold Nautical: Bright, almost tropical colors for this nautical style

Beach house Nautical
Beach house Nautical

Nautical Décor -- Accessories Bring It To Life

Nautical accessories can take an "okay" outdoor patio and turn it into something amazing -- a feast for the eyes! Depending on the direction you go with your nautical décor, you have tons of choices.

For a "Beach House" type look, stick with natural materials like sisal rugs, wood patio furniture and reflective surfaces such as mirrors or glass to replicate the ocean or water surface. To accessorize this type of nautical, add natural elements along with your nautical elements. Things like seashells, sand in bottles and candle holders, starfish, fishing net, jute or rope accessories, ships wheel, buoy, signal flags and anchors.

One thing to keep in mind when trying to achieve the "Beach House" style is to look for weather beaten objects to add to your décor. Things like interesting driftwood, old trunks, signs in less than perfect condition and other distressed wood décor.

Image Credit:

Beach House Oar - A Perfect Piece of Nautical Decor

Distressed White Decorative Nautical Wood Paddle/Oar
Distressed White Decorative Nautical Wood Paddle/Oar

Oars are a great accessory for any nautical design. This one features a weathered, distressed white finish sure to go with any nautical color scheme. It's 50" long and 6.5" wide at its widest point. Add some nautical essence to your beach house design by hanging an oar on one wall.


Buy This at

Modern nautical or coastal style is pretty close to the beach style. The main thing that makes it modern is the use of clean lines. No fussy wicker furniture or bold floral prints here. It's the "less is more" type theory.

The name is deceiving, in that modern nautical or coastal design does embrace vintage items as well. Boxes, trunks and simple wooden benches fit well in this type of design. The accessories are important since you will use less of them in a modern design -- be choosy.

The colors can be subtle ocean hues (blues, greens, whites) or bold statements

Modern Patio Furniture - Chaise Lounge Set

Pacifica 3 Piece Chaise Lounge Set
Pacifica 3 Piece Chaise Lounge Set

Modern patio furniture is characterized with clean lines and no fuss. This set includes 2 chaise lounge chairs each with cushions and a lumbar pillow and a side table. The cushions are genuine Sunbrella fabric -- the best in the biz! I wouldn't have it any other way!

traditional nautical décor
traditional nautical décor

Traditional Nautical Décor

The traditional nautical theme usually revolves around a red, white and blue color scheme, though in recent years, different shades of those colors are being used too. Think deep navy, brick red and off white as another option for the traditional nautical theme. Lots of times yellow is also added to this color scheme to replicate the standard colors used in signal flags.

Nautical uses items like oars, sailboats, signal flags, seashells, anchors, rope, and even lighthouses to accent the space. How much or how little is up to you.

White framed patio furniture is prominent in the nautical theme. Wicker, Adirondack, resin/plastic or white finished wrought iron or cast aluminum are often the frame choice. Cushions can be any of the three colors with accent pillows in designs or solids in the complementary colors of this scheme.

Image Source

Standing Wooden Cooler for a Nautical Patio

Sometimes your décor can do double duty! Take this cooler for instance. It is perfect for a nautical look with the outside having a distressed, almost driftwood look to it. The inside is lined with metal and perfect for keeping your beverages of choice ice cold on the patio. There is even a built in bottle opener for convenience.

The old looking metal handles and hinges just add to the nautical feel. This is a great find!

Nautical Style Outdoor Lighting - Light Fixtures as Nautical Decor

Vaxcel OW21861BN Chatham 7-Inch Outdoor Wall Light, Brushed Nickel
Vaxcel OW21861BN Chatham 7-Inch Outdoor Wall Light, Brushed Nickel

This is another way to make a cohesive statement in your patio decor -- replace outdoor fixtures with nautical style light fixtures. These are brushed nickle but is available in other finishes like antique brass, burnished bronze and textured black. They also have a host of related fixtures available.


Which Nautical Decor - Design?

Which nautical design style do you prefer?

See results

Easy Sand Candles Tutorial

Here's a quick and easy way to add some ambiance to your nautical patio.

The candles could adorn your patio dining table, side table, coffee table, bar or even a railing, retaining wall or hearth to an outdoor fireplace.

You could use the red, white and blue sand as shown, or colors to match your patio color scheme.

Either way, it's quick, easy and beautiful!

timeline nautical patio chair
timeline nautical patio chair

Nautical Décor

or Coastal Décor

Whether you want more traditional nautical décor or something like the coastal style of design for your patio, make a good plan. Look at your patio and outdoor space and know what type of elements you can include. Are there any walls (including the side of your home)? Will an outdoor rug fit? Is your space large enough to divide, with furniture, into different areas like a dining, bar and conversation area?

Do some research and set a budget. If you already have all the furniture you need, consider replacement cushions or just the accent décor and pieces to add to and breath new life into your outdoor space.

Image Credit: Sunbrella® image by Glen Raven, Inc., owner of the Sunbrella registered trademark.

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Do you like Nautical decor for a Patio? - Or, is there another Patio Decor you like best?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I like these nautical patio décor ideas, because it really gives homeowners a feeling that they are on the beach or at sea, which is pretty cool.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Love the vintage items! They really can impart a classy nautical feel to almost anything!


      Mike from

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      I prefer Patio

    • oranagade profile image


      6 years ago

      What a great idea for a patio. Decorating is a fun hobby for me, so this sounds perfect.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      I use my patio more than my living room. My biggest problem is adding color because I live in the desert. Container gardening is out of the question. Thanks for so many great ideas. I have some driftwood collected up sitting doing nothing on the side of my house. I am going to go move it.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      I love the sand candles. Great lens

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      6 years ago

      Beautiful ideas... I like to treat patio as any other room in the house... as actually is part of the house, and we use to use patio a lot especially in summer, spring, and autumn. Blessings!

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @ohcaroline: They do, don't they! You'd never know my dad was a Sailor with the US Navy... LOL.

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @tssfacts: Me too!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree if you don't treat your patio like any other room you are wasting valuable space. If you are going to use your patio then by all means decorate it :-) I like the wooden ice cooler the best.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I like those salty old sea captains in a nautical décor. They add a lot of character.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I search for new patio colors and designs every year. I think your nautical décor is a very good idea. I especially like the modern nautical colors.

    • sarasentor lm profile image

      sarasentor lm 

      6 years ago

      Your lens is so amazing i like your lens.

    • biminibahamas profile image


      6 years ago

      Terrific ideas! Nice lens ...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I enjoy seeing pretty colors. So I really enjoyed reading through this lens.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      All these ideas look so cool and summery that I'd like to decorate my patio right now (except it is 95 degrees out there). I'll keep this in mind.

    • wolvyz profile image


      6 years ago

      Yup, these decoration ideas look really awesome.

    • McBub-Squidoo profile image


      6 years ago

      I like the Rope Framed Mirror.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      That wooden cooler looks really good.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It is the best, I always try to renew the terrace.... Fantastic tips and new ideas

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: You are too sweet! A nautical theme is perfect for any room in the house, for sure!

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Sylvestermouse: Cool! Sounds like you have a start already. I think my Navy Brat past has hung on in the nautical theme I love so much!

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @BuckHawkcenter: It would wouldn't it! LOL

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You always have the most interesting to read, with great advice and tips. I love this theme, its what my Mom has done in her bathroom.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      There is so much wonderful and advice an so many great ideas for Nautical décor in this article! We do love the beach! I definitely find Nautical themed décor very appealing! (She says, as she stares at the sailboat right across the room.) I do believe I see the perfect place for that rope frame mirror too!

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image


      6 years ago

      Alright, alright! I'm sold - nautical is a great look for my large back porch!


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