Coastal Cottage Decor with French Vintage Style


Welcome friends! Do the current high temperatures most of us are experiencing have you longing for cool ocean breezes and refreshing dips in the ocean, lake or pool?  Is it too hot where you are to even go outside at all? Today several blogging friends and I are sharing how we are still keeping our homes looking lighter, brighter,  and “cooler” by creating coastal vibes indoors before transitioning to the warm and cozy colors of fall. *This post contains affiliate links.

Today’s hop is full of beautiful coastal and nautical decor or colors and textures that might simply evoke thoughts  of  breezy summer days and cooling, crystal clear, blue-green summer waters.  You will find links to each creative post at the end of this post. 



How I Decorate with Simple Vintage Coastal Touches 

You don’t have to have a beach house or a cottage by the sea to enjoy the beauty of coastal-inspired summer decorating.   Coastal decor doesn’t necessarily fit my home, but vintage treasures and natural elements do, so that’s where I always begin when it comes to adding some summery coastal touches with my existing decor. A couple of years ago I began exploring mixing coastal and French vintage decor for late summer and I just love it!


Instead of buying beach 0r nautical themed items retail, I keep my eyes open year round on my junkin’ adventures for just one or two items that have some kind of coastal or nautical reference, or maybe just blue or teal items.  An inexpensive copy of “By the Sapphire Sea” antique sheet music was the inspiration for an bit of French vintage coastal decorating in my music room a couple of years ago. The large shells were yard sale finds.


Coastal Decorating Vintage French Country Coastal Beach House Decorating ideas Summer coastal Decor

Vintage or (repro) small glass bottles, and just a few seashells of any size instantly create those coastal vibes in a vignette with other vintage treasures. The trick is to not go overboard (pun intended) with too many shells or nautical references if you just wanting a few little nods to nautical.






French Vintage Coastal Vibes in the Dining Room

We just got back from the beach so I am still really feeling all the beach feels and not quite ready to let go just yet. I was looking forward to this hop too, so had plenty of motivation to create a simple vignette on the vintage chest in the dining room. (I should just start calling  it “the vignette chest” since I style most of my seasonal vignettes on top.) 


ATTACHMENT DETAILS Vintage-French-Country-Coastal-Flat-lay-vintage-picture-seashells-teal-glass-bottles-scaled.jpg July 21, 2022 651 KB

The vignette was inspired by two recently thrifted items including this beautiful young lady picture (teal-blue background) and a seashell “dish?” from a local consignment shop (below.) * Maybe a compote? Thanks Michelle đŸ˜‰


This seashell thingy wasn’t “bad” as it was, but I knew right away I could give it a quick makeover with paint so it would fit in with my vintage style of decorating.


I LOVE how it turned out!


I didn’t take any before and after pictures for a tutorial because I was rushing to finish it up fast. It was also “hotter than blue blazes” outside as they say in these parts, so I wasn’t sticking around out there to take pictures of the spray painting process. 


Here’s just an overview of how I sort of created a faux stone look: I started with a cheap matte gray spray paint as a primer. After that dried I just lightly painted on several different colors of gray and taupe chalk paint and acrylic paint from my stash in layers until it started looking like stone. After that dried I dabbed on Deco Art Vintage Effects Wash (teal) in some little cracks and crevices with my fancy wadded paper towel to give it a sea-weedy patina. Lastly, I lightly sanded here and there to let some of the different paint layers come through.


You can’t tell in vignette photos, but the seashell “candle holder” is filled with shells from last week’s vacation. All the other items on the styled tray were things I already had around the house.



Elegant Vintage French Coastal Vignette Beach Decor cottage style coastal French



Since we do plan to move to the beach in less than ten years, I do enjoy “practicing” mixing my French Vintage (Traditional vintage-cottage) and coastal decorating.


Coastal decorating ideas basket with teal pillows Beach House book

I am planning ahead and have started adding coastal decorating books to my interior design and gardening library.








My battery died here and the sun was starting to go down, so Liam grabbed his camera and snapped a few pics for me. He has been teaching himself and I am so impressed at the amazing photos of nature/friends/sports and food he has taken so far.  Can’t wait to see more!


Tiny treasures make my heart sing! The dried pressed yarrow in the little bottle is from my garden. Pressing and drying flowers is my latest obsession hobby. Isn’t it just so dainty and detailed?


Vintage French Country Coastal Decorating Ideas French Coastal Seashells decor teal glass bottles

These pretty shells and twine wrapped votive holder were actually purchased inexpensively at Family Dollar a while back. I love the teal green shells.


With the exception of the Carolyn Westbrook book, nothing here is inherently “French Vintage” but the combination of items used appears to give the vignette that kind of essence.


In addition to the teal-blue background of the picture, there was something about this pretty young lady that gave me all the vintage nautical vibes. Maybe she reminds me of the style of ladies carved on old ships, (figureheads) although she doesn’t look foreboding enough to ward off sea monsters!




Or maybe this pretty painting would have been found tucked in a treasure chest on board a ship. Whatever her story, she sure is a ($2) treasure to me!


Dry Sea Oats in rattan demijohn

A lot of people decorate with beachy or coastal decor at the beginning of summer, but I usually wait until late summer as I find it seems a little more transitional toward fall with the earthy tones and natural elements. Our beach trips are usually toward the middle or end of July so that is when I am feeling most of the “coastal vibes” and I always come home with some fresh coastal cottage decorating ideas.  I will probably enjoy this decor for a week or so more, then switch to some very late summer garden inspired decorating. These dried sea oats will transition to late summer nicely.


Additional Vintage Coastal Cottage Decorating Ideas


Don’t you wish you could stop time at the beach and in those last few weeks before school starts? I loved this simple little cloche  on a vintage butterpat with an old watch face and a seashells.



Vintage finds, flowers and seashells…my heart’s passions! Here the styling was all about sweet summer simplicity, and not necessarily coastal or beachy.






One pretty seashell alongside a fresh picked bouquet of flowers after a summer rain was so Jane Austen inspired! Perhaps a little more English cottage than French vintage, but it all works together for me!


A Simple Summer Bedside Bouquet


Sorting sea shells nautical decor

On our first trip to Wrightsville Beach many years ago I found so many gorgeous shells for crafts and display.


I loved filling these little Treasures of the Sea Keepsake Bottles with shells from our first trip to Wrightsville. The orphaned vintage “sea-salt” and pepper shaker toppers add a touch of whimsy.


Beautiful coastal nautical vintage vignette with small treasures vintage fishing lure sea and seashells



Isn’t this post card the sweetest? My husband might not build me a little home, but he is building me a little potting shed!


Nothing here screams “Beach Tourist Giftshop” but this vintage summer vignette still evokes coastal vibes.



No matter the size, chippy urns filled with seashells or other natural seaside finds or little vintage bits and bobs always look French vintage coastal to me.



I have always loved displaying seashell collections in glass bottles, jars and candle holders.








How to make a mermaid garden using found objects beach keepsakes

This Treasures of the Sea Mermaid Garden from a few years ago is one of my favorite coastal inspired projects.


The addition of the pearls and French vintage seltzer bottle helped to integrate the beachy theme in with my shabby-vintage French cottage decor.


Adorable upcycled mermaid scrapbooking craft shabby chic coastal decor

The mermaid captures my current sentiments perfectly!





There’s still three and a half week’s until school starts, and I plan to savor every last second! 




I hope you have been inspired to mix vintage French cottage style elements with treasures of the sea to create an elegant vintage coastal summer vibe. Now it’s time to keep the coastal vibes flowing over at Our Southern Home! Christy lives near the coast so she always has some lovely nautical and coastal ideas to inspire! Don’t forget to check out all the beautiful posts below for a wide variety of beautiful summer and coastal themed ideas.


Thanks for visiting, keep cool, and enjoy the rest of summer!


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