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Nautical Desk & Shelf Décor

Updated on July 26, 2015

Nautical Decor for Desk & Shelves

This lovely nautical desk/shelf décor will go perfectly in your nautical office! You'll find a wonderful collection of nautical décor here that will look beautiful on any desk or shelf!

What you'll also find is some fun information. For instance, do you know the difference between a paddle and an oar? And what instrument was used to measure time on ships in olden times? You find the answer to both of those questions right here on this page.

Many of the elements found in nautical and coastal décor are rich in history. This nautical desk décor is sure to bring a smile to your face. That's especially true when you think of some of the items in terms of their history or symbolism..

If you enjoy cruising or sailing as much as I do, these nautical decorator touches are sure to bring a smile to your face when you are in between those treasured times at sea.

Image: Sailboat Bookends

See below for further details

Nautical Book Ends - nautical décor for shelves or desks

Nautical book ends are a perfect way for book lovers to add a little flavor of the sea to their office décor. Whether you choose a pair of old sailing ships, or some other nautical theme, your books will be stylishly secure when anchored between nautical bookends.


Nautical Terms: Oars and Paddles

What's the Difference Between an Oar and a Paddle?

if you're a boater, you probably know that there is a difference between oars and paddles.

If you aren't a boater, did you ever wonder what the difference is?

Well, wonder no more. Here's the answer!

A paddle is hand-held by the paddler. So, one would use a paddle with, say, a kayak.

Oars, on the other hand, are usually connected to the boat, and have a ring like device to hold them in position.

They're usually longer and stronger than a paddle, too.

Photo credit: SRCHEN from

Decorative Wood Canoe with Paddles - For Those Who Paddle Their Own Canoe

If you work at home, and march to the beat of your own drummer, or paddle your own canoe, you'll get a kick out of putting one of these miniature canoes on your office shelf.

And yes, in case you're wondering, it's complete with its own paddles.

Available at Zazzle, where CruiseReady is a contributor and affiliate
Available at Zazzle, where CruiseReady is a contributor and affiliate | Source

Popular Symbols of Sailing and the Sea - for Art and Design

Maritime symbols, like the anchor, lighthouses, and the compass rose are very popular with those who love the sea.

Other favorites are the sailor's knot, ships, sails, international signal flags, and sea creatures of all kinds, most especially dolphins.

Which is YOUR favorite nautical symbol? Weigh in with your answer on the following poll.

Vote for your favorite nautical symbol

See results

Anchors and Helms - Classic Symbols of the Sea (Nautical Paperweights

Find your favorite paperweight today - will it be an anchor, a ship's wheel, or something else?

Here are a couple of ideas in brass.

Brass Ship Wheel Paperweight 4" Beach Bedroom Decor Nautical Gifts For Men - Brand New
Brass Ship Wheel Paperweight 4" Beach Bedroom Decor Nautical Gifts For Men - Brand New

Symbolic of a captain, or the one in charge, the ship's wheel is a great way to remind yourself that you are master of your own fate.

Although most large ships are no longer steered by a wheel with six or eight spokes, the old helm retains its historical meaning of being in command and staying on course.


The Hour Glass - Used on Ships

By Anneli Salo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
By Anneli Salo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

The Hour Glass and Ships

Hour glasses that use sand to measure the passage of time have been around a long time. Did you know that the earliest known accounts of the use of sand hour glass timers are from ship's logs?

Centuries ago, sundials and water clocks were used to measure time on land. However, neither of these methods were reliable on board ships. Sundials needed to remain in a fixed position relative to the heavens. Water clocks were only accurate on a surface that didn't move about and slosh the water.

So, mariners turned to the hour glass for measuring time. The normal rocking of the ship from the motion of the ocean does not adversely affect the operation of a sand hourglass. Sand hour glasses were used on ships as early as the 1300's!

They were used at sea for well over 400 years.

Then, in the 1760's, the highly accurate marine chronometer was invented, and spelled the beginning of the end of dependence on the hour glass.

Today, you can choose from many modern nautical desk clocks. But, now you know: an hour glass is a decorative element that is truly nautical in nature!

Nautical Desk Clocks - office accessories

A good desk clock is an essential accessory for a well outfitted desk. It's so easy to lose all track of the time when you are engrossed in interesting work.

So, when you look for a desk clock, make it a nautical one!


By Lukasz Lukomski (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Lukasz Lukomski (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Lighthouses - A Popular Nautical Theme Worldwide

On of the great symbols of maritime history around the world is the lighthouse. You'd be hard pressed to find a country with any appreciable coastline that doesn't have at least one.

The absolutely magnificent image above is of the New Brighton, or Perch Rock Lighthouse, in England.

Though some are (like the one above) no longer in use, and many that are still used are automated, their historical significance is unquestionable. For many a mariner and non mariner alike, their symbolism is meaningful on a personal level.

When considering various elements to include in a nautical or coastal décor, you can't go wrong with at least one lighthouse.

(For some home decorating ideas that center around these beloved structures, see Lighthouse Home Decor Popularity.)

(affiliate link):
(affiliate link): | Source

Lighthouse Business Card Holders

For a special occasion, a nice business card holder is always a practical gift choice. If the recipient loves the sea, then a nautical one will surely be appreciated most!

Think of the business environment of the recipient when choosing the type of card holder that's best for them.

If most of their time is spent in office, or if they own the type of business where clients come to them, then a pretty piece of desk art that also holds cards will appeal to them.

Are they frequently out and about, visiting clients, attending meetings, or networking? Then you'll wand an 'on-the-go' type of case, that they can slip on their pocket or purse.

Either way, it's all about presentation, and making an impression on their audience. Fortunately, a nautical theme is almost always appealing!

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