I am in the process of redecorating a house in Aptos, California that we stay at every summer.

If you’re not familiar with Aptos, it is a beautiful and cozy beach community just outside of Santa Cruz. We love going there to spend some quality family time and enjoy the beach.

The homes there definitely have that California-beachy vibe. If you read my Meet Marilyn post, you’ll remember that I am really inspired by nature. The setting in Aptos is perfect to get me inspired!

While I love the ocean vibe I also find that it can be difficult to pull of a complete nautical theme unless you are living in a beach town, whether on the West or East Coast. I mean, let’s face it, if you live in Kansas and you have a bunch of anchors and shells in your living room it might not make the most decorative sense.

But if you love the nautical look yet don’t want to go overboard, it absolutely possible to add a little bit of your favorite beach town to any room, no matter where you live.

Like with any decorating project, a great place to start is with a mood board. Take a wide swath of inspiration. Print it out from Pinterest or tear from magazines. Then use a sharpie to circle or mark the specific elements you like. (For example: do you love this kids room concept but don’t see yourself building a ship bed? Circle it and keep it in mind when searching for sheets.)

Scheme the room. Think about all of the elements you will need to pull together: paint/wallpaper, furniture, flooring, decor. Paint and decor or some easy ways to bring in the seas using hues of blue and imagery that can be found around the sea.

Larger elements can be complex, but nonetheless fun to bring in. Check out a salvage yard in a beachside town to see what fun things you can find. A wall (or even floor!) made of reclaimed wood from an old ship can be a really unique and subtle way to bring back some beach from your vacation.

And when it comes to decorating elements you have a lot of DIY options: use a hemp rope to add a border to pillows. Fill different containers with sand, seal them so they are air-tight, and use them as candle holders. Take old fisherman-style sweaters (you know, the cableknit kind) and put them together as a blanket or throw…The sky is the limit!

Check out my Pinterest mood board to get you started on your nautical makeover.