Decorating Nautical Window Seats Without Cushions

3 Materials
2 Hours
In the back bedroom of our little cottage, we have two window seat units. They are built into the back walls, and the wooden tops hinge at the top, offering a fairly wide amount of storage underneath, which we use to store off-season winter jackets, blankets and scarves.

While we do love this quirky addition to the home, we didn’t want to use the window seats in a traditional way. We thought adding cushions and height to the seat itself would elevate our small children up too much, where they could easily find the window hinges. Instead, we went with a simple nautical look to keep the aesthetic minimal and the function high.
First, we painted these window seat units white. When we moved in, they were the same knotty pine as the rest of the house. While we removed the knotty pine paneling from the side walls and installed drywall instead, we kept the wood in some areas, and the window seats were no exception. To freshen up the space, however, we knew we wanted to paint over the dark wood. We chose a crisp white shade and applied it to the entire seat.

On the left seat, we kept the look minimalist with a pale pink and white vase and a glass vase filled with seashells and sand dollars that we have collected over the years. To replicate this idea, I suggest sticking with shells that are the same general tone. Though one or two brightly colored ones can pop and stand out, we opted for a more neutral look with this vase. On the window is a little butterfly in the same shade of pink as the vase. In the near future, we hope to cover these windows with some plantation shutters to add privacy and style but for now, they are as simple as the rest of the decor.
Here is a close-up picture of the vase. For this, I simply went outside and picked a few thin sticks from a tree and put them in the vase without any water. I also included some paper flowers picked up from a market in Charleston, as they were the same shade of light brown. These same sticks have been in this vase for years and haven’t fallen apart or rotted, even in the absence of water. It is truly a very simple, yet pretty, way to use a vase to its full potential and have it out full-time.
On the right seat, we kept the nautical theme going with another clear vase filled with shells. We decorated around this vase with several conch shells we wanted to highlight, ones that were too large to place inside the vase. This was also a great place to store my husband’s band trophy from high school.

While these window seats might not be the most styled aspect of our home, I love that they allow us to share some of our treasures and pay homage to one of our favorite places, the beach. Because the items are so breakable and precious, they also discourage anyone from climbing up onto the seats, which was our original intent all along.

Suggested materials:

  • Seashells   (Beach)
  • White Paint   (Hardware Store)
  • Clear Vases   (Hobby Store)

Brooke Bowman
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