Nautical & Sailing Theme Decorating Ideas
When planning a concept for your next event consider the universal appeal, versatility, and wide range of decorating options that come with a nautical theme.
Whether it is boating or sea life, a nautical theme has something everyone can appreciate, and it works well for any celebration from casual to formal.
Here are some ideas to help you create a strong visual impact for different aspects of your nautical party scene.
Entrance & Welcome
Make a great first impression and set the tone for your event with a welcoming entrance.
- Simulate a cruise ship entrance at the front door or in the foyer.
- Line the entrance with channel markers: red triangles (right), green squares (left).
- Flank the front door with life rings and signal flags.
- Hang ocean waves of blue & white bunting on fences and/or porch railings.
Ceiling & Hanging
Decorate the ceiling and transform the room; here are some suggestions.
- Drape ivory or white sheets end-to-end to resemble ship sails. [designdazzle.com]
- Hang large-link plastic chains and/or knotted ropes.
- Stretch fishing nets with hanging glass buoys.
- Suspend hurricane, square, and/or rope lanterns.
Walls & Backdrops
Enhance the background with themed wall decorations, trimming, and backdrops.
- Line the walls with portholes. [welcome-to-the-woods.com]
- Hang a fishing net decoration on the wall and add shells, sea life, and/or photos.
- Mark the spot with crossed oars over a doorway, bar or fireplace.
- Install a large boat window made from an ocean scene & metallic gold frame.
Fire up your food service with unique details at food stations, appetizer spreads, self-serve buffets, raw bars, dessert tables, and hors d'oeuvre trays.
- Convert a table, counter, or kitchen island into a sailboat with mast, flags, & portholes.
- Serve food on mini oceans by covering tabletops with teal satin or blue cellophane.
- Skewer & circle hors d'oeuvres and appetizer bites with shark fin toothpick flags.
- Use monkey fist rope knots to hold buffet signs, table numbers, & place cards.
Lift spirits with extra fun touches and embellishments in cocktails and at the bar.
- Cover cocktail tables with navy blue fabric, then tie with rope. [nataliefranke.pass.us]
- Garnish drinks with nautical signal flag toothpicks.
- Add pennants to striped straws. [karaspartyideas.com]
- Position a red light or candle on the left (port) side of the bar & green on the right (starboard) side (when facing out).
Centerpieces & Focal Points
Create a scene with centerpieces, vases, focal points, and vignettes.
- Highlight lighthouses, sailboats, and glass fishing buoys in centerpieces and focal points.
- Spray paint tree branches to look like coral.
- Flip containers, buckets, jars, boxes, and wine glasses for creative risers of varying heights.
- Fill glass vases or globes with rope.
Give your event that magic touch with an extra beam of brilliance.
- Assemble a captain's wheel chandelier with hanging rope lanterns.
- Float candles in vases filled with blue water and sea shells.
- Fill colored and frosted bottles with fairy lights and decorate with a shell on jute rope.
- Up-light walls and focal points with blue and/or aqua lights.
For practically any occasion you can’t go wrong with a nautical theme, and you can give your event that extra special, top-notch feel by focusing on a few quality elements that are engaging, fun, and distinctive.
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