Coastal Inspired Holiday Decorating Ideas for Christmas 2013

Designer Casey Noble shares these ways to bring a cool, casual and coastal vibe to your home during the holidays with seaside-inspired decor.

Seashells are ideal for dressing up a simple tabletop. For a casual, coastal look, create small seashell Christmas trees using cone-shaped floral foam. Pick up floral foam forms in three different sizes, then hot-glue seashells of various colors, textures and shapes all over the surfaces.

To put a coastal spin on a classic manzanita branch, dress it up like a tabletop Christmas tree. Use rope-strung shells, sand dollars and starfish as makeshift ornaments to adorn each branch.

Make It: Add casual, coastal flair to your door with a rope-and-burlap wreath. Buy a 24-inch foam wreath form, one spool of white nylon rope, one spool of blue nylon rope, white acrylic paint, one detail brush and one half-yard of red burlap. Use a hot glue gun to secure every third or fourth strand of white nylon rope along the back of the wreath form. Next, add contrasting bands of blue nylon rope to the four corner quadrants of the wreath, creating a two-toned, layered effect. To create the banner, trace the shape of a pennant onto the red burlap, and then cut it out with fabric scissors. Free-hand a seasonal message using a detail brush. Attach the banner to the left and right sides of the wreath using white nylon rope, then hang on the door with an over-the-door stocking hanger.

Sand-dollar sugar cookies add a surprising seaside twist to Christmas sweets. After making classic sugar cookies, use a knife to cut five small slits approximately one half-inch from the edge of each cookie. Press a flat almond slice into each slit to complete the look.

Model sailboats offer a more masculine approach to nautical style. Intended for year-round use, these classics instantly take on a holiday look when surrounded by seasonal colors and textures. To keep a model sailboat from appearing out of place, work in nautical or coastal accents such as rope, weathered woods or aged metals.

Make It: Gather gently used beach towels, dividing them by like color palettes, textures and patterns. Next, print out this stocking template, then cut the towels to size using fabric scissors. Hand-sew or machine-stitch the pieces together, turning the stocking right-side out once finished. Complete the stockings by hot-gluing sections of nylon rope around the top, tying a knot on each end.

Similar to snow globes, glass beach scene ornaments are perfect elements for invigorating seasonal decor. Buy clear glass ornaments and add a layer of sand. Drop small seashells through the ornament opening until they're layered along the sand in a balanced manner.

For a more textural approach to nautical holiday decor, update a green pine-needle wreath with organic embellishments like capiz shells and starfish.

Make It: Pick up driftwood or weathered barn wood planks, then cut to 10-inch-by-12-inch rectangles using a handsaw. Choose your holiday greeting, and then customize each plank with individual letters, shaping the O's as captain's wheels, the S's as ropes and the J's as anchors. Next, free-hand or stencil letters onto each piece of wood using latex paint. For a more casual look, consider simply leaning the letters against the wall. To properly hang the letters, add picture hooks to the back.

Make It: Pick up twine and gather sand dollars, small shells and starfish. Use a small screwdriver and a rubber mallet and create one small hole near the edge of a single arm of each starfish. Unfurl the twine and thread it through the holes in the starfish and sand dollars, tying it into small knots, leaving gaps between each one. Lastly, add a final layer of nautical flourish by securing small shells to each knot using a hot glue gun.


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