10 Truly Horrifying Beach House Decor Fails To Never Try at Home

While kicking back in a beach house might sound dreamy, I have to ask: Why is beach house decor so bad? Here are the worst designs I’ve seen.


While kicking back in a beach house might sound dreamy right about now, I have to ask: Why is beach house decor so bad?

As someone who’s rented beach houses on sandy shores from New York’s Fire Island to the Maine coast, I can conclude that beach house owners tend to go overboard with beach-themed decor. We’re talking seashells not only at the seashore, but everywhere in the home, fashioned into soap dishes, wind chimes, “seashell bouquets”—you name it and it’s been done.

We get it—we’re on the beach! But that doesn’t mean taste, style, and just plain common sense need to be tossed to the wind. And so, whether you own a beach house, dream of buying one, or just want to revel in what you might find in some unfortunate beach house you rent or enter one day, here’s a look at some of the most ridiculous beach decor that really should be jettisoned before someone gets seasick indoors.

1. Groan-inducing signs

Distressed signs with lame sayings are a no-go.


Must I be reminded to “Wash My Palms” in the bathroom? And I already know that “The Beach Is My Happy Place,” because I’m renting here. I’m sure there are some good puns out there, but until I spy something fresh that makes me smile, I’m hiding these signs behind the closet door the minute I arrive.

2. Fake fish and coral

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Celebrating One of my my favorite places! Hilton Head Island! It is ready to sail away to a new home. Message me for pricing! #hiltonheadisland #hiltonheadislanddecor #reelitup #livehardfishhard #sailboats #sailboatlife #sailboatliving #coastaldecor #coastalliving #coastalhome #coastalhome #shellchristmastree #beachdecor #beachdecorating #beachlife #coastalart #driftwoodsailboats #supportlocoalbusiness #supportlocoalartists #gratefulthankfulblessed #alwayshavingfun #positivityvibes

A post shared by Reel It Up (@reelitup) on Aug 30, 2020 at 6:18am PDT

Another pet peeve of mine? Handcrafted “art” and faux sea treasures piled up on the one serviceable side table in the living room. All I’m asking for is a little space to put down my phone and my coffee mug while I’m on vacation.

3. Oars as art

Photo by Go Nautical Collections 

Oars aren’t only questionable as decor, they’re also a downright menace. When oars are displayed precariously, as shown here, they’re a recipe for disaster. That is, kids will crash into them, that glass cabinet door will shatter, and—oops!—here goes your security deposit.

4. Lobster trap furniture

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One of the things we said we would NEVER buy for our little house… the lobster trap coffee table. We got too much sun yesterday, so that’s our excuse. #badbeachdecor

A post shared by B. Winter (@bapwinter) on Jul 24, 2016 at 1:08pm PDT

I’m all for repurposing what you own (a steamer trunk as an end table, an old bookshelf turned into a bench), but stinky wooden boxes that are supposed to live under the sea are a hard pass. Talk about nautical nonsense! And these reinvented pieces shortchange your storage, leaving you just the top part since the middle is filled with a messy web of rope.

5. Dopey rope cups and other weird accessories

Save the rope for sailing, please.


What’s up with all the twine-wrapped accessories? Mirrors, frames, chair seats, place mats, and more—I get that rope is sturdy and plentiful at the shore, but it’s too chunky to handle and the white shade just gets grimy and turns gray over time. Gross.

6. Creepy crabs

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Here is one for my fellow Marylanders! #Stainedglassyourway #suncatcher #glassart #crab #stainedglasscrab #crabsuncatcher #beachdecor #coastal #sealife #maryland #marylandcrabs

A post shared by Stained Glass Your Way (@stainedglassyourway) on Sep 3, 2020 at 3:23am PDT

Stained-glass window hangings make no sense because they block the view that you’ve paid good money to see, and they’re liable to break every time you try to air out the kitchen. And when it comes to crabs, please leave them in the steamer. Lobsters, too.

7. Sand collections

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Sea Magnets Available on Etsy! #manowarstudio #seamagnets #beachmagnets #fridgemagnets #minatureglass #bottlemagnets #beachinabottle #beachdecor #bohodecor #décor #bottledecor #coastaldecor #coastalstyle #handmade #handmadewithlove #handmadedecor #feitoamao #feitoamaocomamor #handmadedecor #sea #mar #decoration #decoração

A post shared by Man O’ War Studio (@manowarstudio) on Sep 3, 2020 at 2:30am PDT

How nice that you’ve combed the beaches in Malaysia, Sanibel Island, and Cape Cod. But must you really bottle and label the sand from each place?

Whether they’re souvenirs of your trips or silly bottles you picked up in gift shops, sand vials amount to less-than-exciting beach decor—and they clutter up kitchens in loads of coastal rentals.

8. Driftwood mirrors and furniture

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#oceandecor #Alaska #beachdecor #crazysticklady #driftwoodart #oceanlife #handpicked #seashells #beachcomber #SitkaAlaska #beachfinds #AlaskaBornandRaised #shipswheel #anchor #halibut #driftwoodbeaches #octopus #crab #jellyfish #starfish #barnicles #driftwood #visitsitka #beachglass #japaneseglassballs #oceanlove.

A post shared by Alaska Beach Creations (@alaskabeachcreations) on Sep 2, 2020 at 6:13pm PDT

Weathered wood in very small doses is acceptable in a shore home (think picture frames or a stylish piece of wall art), but old branches or bark with clinging barnacles don’t belong anywhere, much less in designs with an evil octopus peering out from the middle. #Fail.

9. Seashell-encrusted anything

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Sorbet-colored pair of single-light, UL approved, electrified, seashell sconces. Delightful collection of shells in these #decorativelighting #coquillage #shelllight #seashelldecor #palmbeachstyle #bocagrandestyle #sorbetcolors #lionspaw

A post shared by Christas South Seashells (@christasseashells) on Aug 21, 2020 at 10:29pm PDT

I know that seashells scream “beach,” but encrusting them on sconces, place mat borders, wine glass stems, and fork handles is way too much. Let these pretty finds exist in nature. Understand that renters are fine with simple light fixtures and plain plates on which to eat their vacay cooking.

10. Starfish for Christmas

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How many starfish gave their lives for these trees? #badchristmasdecorations #whowouldbuythat #whowouldbuythis #badbeachdecor #badhomedecor #badholidaydecor #homegoods

A post shared by whowouldbuythat (@whowouldbuythat) on Nov 6, 2018 at 9:01am PST

Just—no. Don’t drag this sea creature into your Yuletide decor, even at the beach. Starfish aren’t that festive, and they definitely don’t signal the birth of our savior. And frankly, blue decorations at Christmas will never take off no matter how hard you try.

The post 10 Truly Horrifying Beach House Decor Fails To Never Try at Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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