10 ways to create a coastal-inspired Christmas

Drift off to the beach for inspiration to create a relaxed and easy Christmas scheme filled with oceanic blues, sandy hues and a touch of sparkle.
Cath Muscat

Christmas is all about taking special care with the details, from personalised gifts and wrapping to a beautifully set table to treat your loved ones. If your classic red and green theme is feeling a little dusty, why not take inspiration from the sea this year and bring a coastal elegance to your home with these 10 decoration ideas.

1. small and delicate

Extend the Christmas cheer with more than one tree on display. Head out to the garden and collect fallen branches to create a shapely tree-like feature. Paint the branches white to allow sweet baubles and decorations to shine.

Bedouin crab, $69.95, and Bedouin fish, $129, both Papaya. Barnacle cluster, $30, Salmon & Co. Foundations marble vase, $129, West Elm. Bedouin hanging starfish, $12.95, Holiday hanging glass bauble in bronze, as before, both Papaya. Sea urchins (used as decorations), as before.

2. calm colours

Choose a selection of calming colours to carry through the whole look, from welcoming cushions to prettily wrapped presents, aimed to entice.

Christmas tree, $123/7ft plus delivery, burlap tree collar, $39, and Cinco tree stand, $66/medium, all Dural Christmas Tree Farm. Decorations, from top: Columbus Imports starfish tassel, $14.95/19cm, and flat white starfish, $15/set of 3, all The Sourceress. Symphony champagne tinsel balls, $19.95/set of 4, Symphony glitter balls, $29.95/set of 4, and Holiday hanging glass bauble in bronze, $19.95/assorted set of 4, all Papaya. Lytworx bud lights, $27.50/set of 250, Bunnings. Presents wrapped in gift wrap, from $7/roll, Vandoros Fine Packaging. ‘Freda’ coffee table by Design Kiosk, $980, Project 82. On table, from left: Crab, $49, Salmon & Co. Marble tray, $79.95/large, Country Road. Small glass cloche, $29, Salmon & Co. Sea urchins, $25/box, Salmon & Co. Espa candle, about $64, The Hut. Books and vase, stylist’s own. Cushions on sofa, from $121/40cmx60cm, No Chintz.

3. blue horizons

Extend your decorating theme with exquisitely wrapped presents. Here, aquatic blue and white are teamed with hints of gold in the pretty papers and layers of ribbons. Starfish and shell decorations add a further festive flourish, and can be added to the tree later.

Gift wrap in (from left) ‘Under the Mistletoe’, ‘Gingham’ and ‘Tree Lights’ all in French Blue, $7.95/roll, all Vandoros Fine Packaging. Ribbon in Primo Baby Blue, Grosgrain White and Lumi Gold Metallic, all from $1/m, all Vandoros Fine Packaging. Columbus Imports flat white starfish (on gift in background), $15/set of 3, The Sourceress. Other shell, stylist’s own.

4. counting down

Have fun making your own advent calendar with mini cardboard boxes. Fill each box with a small toy or sweet treat and stick printed or handwritten numbers on each lid. The best part about creating your own is that you can personalise the gifts to suit your family.

Shamrock Craft round mini boxes, $8/pack of 4, Spotlight. Black and white twine, $3/50m, Kmart. Brutti e Buoni vanilla biscuits, $13.50, Simon Johnson. Symphony hanging champagne tinsel ball, $19.95/set of 4, Papaya. Footed bowl, as before.

5. sea trinket garland

Make a coastal-themed garland to display Christmas cards with a length of twine, some mini timber pegs and a few sweet decorations.

Christmas cards, from $4 each, Salmon & Co. Bedouin hanging turtle, $24.95, and Bedouin hanging jellyfish, $29.95, both Papaya. Mini wooden pegs, $9.95/15 pack, Kikki.K. Cotton yarn, $6/70m, Spotlight. ‘Godtagbar’ candlestick, $5.99, Ikea. Grey candle, $4, Salmon & Co. Footed bowl, $195, Haven at Home.

6. sand inspired stockings

Choose natural linen stockings to work with your palette and hang from an oar for a playful seaside touch.

Oar, $139, Haven at Home. Natural linen stockings, $48 each, Honeysuckle & Lime. Bedouin hanging seahorse, $19.95, Papaya. Cowhide star, $15, MamaPapa. ‘Ash’ bench by JW, $2450, Project 82.

7. starry night

Play with motifs and swap out traditional stars for starfish. Here, they’ve been hung on the tree in various sizes alongside gold ornaments that echo other delicate sea creatures. Fairy lights bring an ethereal twinkle that recreates the magic of sunlight reflecting in the water.

Christmas tree, as before. Decorations, clockwise from top left: Symphony glitter balls, $29.95/set of 4, Symphony champagne tinsel ball, $19.95/set of 4, Bedouin hanging starfish, $12.95, all Papaya. Columbus Imports starfish tassel, $14.95/19cm, and flat white starfish, $15/set of 3, all The Sourceress. Ribbon in Royal Blue, Grosgrain White and Lumi Gold Metallic, from $1/m, Vandoros Fine Packaging. Gift wrap, as before.

8. as the day breaks

Set the tone for Christmas Day by starting light with a breakfast served on matching crockery to suit your decorating theme. Here, all the blues come together from the napkin to the presents, while the natural cane tray, with it’s sandy tones, acts as the perfect foil.

Cane tray, $89, Haven at Home. ‘Cape’ dinner plate, $12.95, ceramic tapas bowl, $14.95, teaspoon, $109/as part of a 16-piece ‘Nolan’ set, Byron tumbler, $12.95, ‘Brae’ napkin, $39.95/set of 4, all from Country Road. Gift wrap in ‘Gessati’ (top) in Navy/White and ‘Tree Lights’ in French Blue, $7.95/roll, Vandoros Fine Packaging. Columbus Imports flat white starfish, $15/set of 3, The Sourceress. Ribbons, from $1/m,Vandoros Fine Packaging. ‘You and Me’ tag, stylist’s own.

9. happy as a clam

Use a clam shell for an ice bucket for a bit of fun at lunch – it’s sure to be a conversation starter among your guests. Either use it for oysters as friends and family start the feast or keep your Champagne at the perfect temperature ready to be popped as needed. Cheers!

Palm tree lantern, from $49/small, Haven at Home. Columbus Imports giant clamshell, $455, The Sourceress.

10. fresh and festive

Keep the tabletop decorations simple and fresh with greenery from the garden and a pale blue linen runner, and, most importantly, the champagne within each reach.

Maxwell & Williams Cashmere Resort Coupe dinnerware, $139.95/12-piece set, Myer. Alto white wine glasses, $17.95 each, Alto highballs, $14.95 each, all Country Road. Pure Linen linen table runner, $66.65, Simon Johnson. Napkins, as before. In the

Sac linen throw (on bench), $345, No Chintz. Lantern and giant clamshell, as before. Hat, stylist’s own.

Related stories