Decorating with Shells – Please Don’t

Let’s face it, shells are beautiful.  The bigger the better.  As a child, we used to collect shells on our weekly summer visits to the (New) Jersey Shore.  Most of the time, we just used them to decorate sand castles we built and left them behind.

Fast forward many years later to when I learned how to scuba dive.  I did my open water in The Maldives.  The Maldives are many atolls with a resort built on them.  Most of the beaches on the atolls are made up of coral.  It is against the law to take any shells or coral that is washed up on the beach or to take anything from the sea.  I have tried to respect this law – it is really difficult when you see a beautiful piece of coral washed up onto the beach, but it isn’t worth the fine or the time in jail.  Many islands in the Caribbean have beaches made up of coral.  Just think about it.

I currently live near the sea.  You would think that it would be natural to go for the beachy look when decorating your home.  Well, I live in the UK and the light isn’t always right for the light and airy beach look.  It only looks good on sunny days and we don’t always get many of those even though I live on the ‘Sunshine Coast’.  At this time of year, the blogosphere is rampant with ideas for decorating with shells.  Google it yourself and see.  I am not posting any photos with shells used as accessories in decor as I do not want to encourage this trend.  We do have a few shops that sell seashells, by the seashore.  They are most likely imported.  It isn’t something I want to encourage and so I don’t buy, even though they are beautiful.  There is a price to be paid for decorating our homes with shells and I don’t want to be responsible for the outcome.

By the way, I have not been immune to shell buying in the past.  I have some shells.  However, there is no point in throwing them out as the deed had been done.  I don’t buy them anymore.  There are a few companies that make faux or artificial shells.  I would buy them if there were any in the UK, but they seem to be made in the good ole USA.  Instead, I try to decorate my home with shell inspired items or paintings that depict the sea or seaside life.

Here are some beach inspired items I have purchased for my home…

This is a wooden shell sculpture that I purchased at Home Sense.  I love how it looks like a shell, but it obviously isn’t.

This vase reminds me of a sea urchin skeleton.

This vase has colours like mother of pearl.  This and the vase above were also purchased at Home Sense.

You don’t have to limit yourself to vases, sculptures or painting to get the seaside effect.  The colours of your home can give it that seaside feeling or you can put up photographs of shells.

Here is a photograph I took earlier in the year on one of my diving holidays…

This is what those giant clams look like in the sea, where they belong.   When they die, they stay where they are and the coral moves in to make a new home.  You would have to dive down and take this off of the reef and kill it if you wanted to sell it.  You would never find a clam shell such as this on the beach.

Nowadays, when we decorate our home, I think it is just as important to think about the effect on our environment as well as the look we are trying to achieve.  Might be time to start thinking out of the box to get the seaside look for your home.

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