Style & Shopping News & Trends

The Retro Trend That Will Make Your Summer Decor Extra-Playful

Scallops galore.

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Beachy decor is back in a big way, but not quite in the way you would imagine. As shell imagery has circulated the fashion world (you’ve surely seen conch and pearl statement earrings across your Instagram feed), this oceanside inspiration has trickled back into popularity when it comes to your home as well. Shell decor is everywhere, and it’s decidedly not nautical.

If you were to describe a beach-inspired interior a few years ago, you’d likely paint a picture of a room dappled with light blues and sandy neutrals, a few anchor symbols, and a smattering of shells (sometimes real, sometimes not). Or you’d depict a totally tropical setup that evokes the imagery of a perfectly warm island. Today, however, beach-themed decor has a different look. It’s defined by retro silhouettes, color palettes that range from dreamy pastels to vivid jewel tones, and plenty of gilded details. Beachy vibes are suddenly looking very bold, and with the right shell-shaped accent piece, it’s perfectly easy to embrace.

If You Love the Simple Things

The pearlescent sheen of this soap dish lends it an ultra-luxe look—you might even be compelled to opt for a bar soap for good. Or if you want to highlight its elegant silver plating, use it as a ring dish instead.

If You Never Tire of Bauhaus Style

Los Objetos Decorativos’s entire shell collection makes near-constant appearances in our Instagram Saved folders, but this single-stem vase steals our heart the most. Pair it with a single tulip for a springtime look.

If You Dream of Getting Your Scuba License

Sure, this pillow from Ferm Living may be made for kids, but we think it adds just the right amout of playfulness to a sleek, modern sofa. Who says throw pillows need to be square?

If You Love Long Walks on the Beach

There’s something especially sweet about an uncomplicated scallop plate. This piece can be the star of your next dinner party or it can be used as a pretty place to display tchotchkes.

If You’re All About the Details

Bid your boring wall hook farewell: This ultra-glam and dramatic piece is the wall accent you’ve been waiting for. Made by Danish brand AYTM, this piece looks just as good whether it’s in use or not.

If You Would Spend Hours Looking for the Coolest Shell on the Beach

This eye-catching green bowl has many potential uses. It can be a snack dish, it can be a vessel for potpourri, it can be a succulent planter, or if you want to let it shine, you can just set it out on its own.

If You Rarely Stray From the Sandbar

A gilded scallop from Zara Home holds cone incense perfectly. With a price under $20, it’s a budget buy with major style.

If Your Sandcastles Are a Bit Avant-Garde

Ceramicist Rachel Saunders offers a dynamic take on the shell trend with her pleasingly round dish. A coat of glossy black paint makes this piece a far cry from nautical.

If Your Beach Setup Always Includes a Massive Statement Umbrella

Want a bigger way to bring some seaside flair to your home? Opt for this velvet accent chair—the scallop effect pays homage to this current trend while also nodding to art nouveau style.

If You Admittedly Love a Classic

This intricately detailed vase by Aerin looks great with or without flowers. Its realistic appearance makes it appeal to more traditional design tastes, but this piece is awe-inspiring in nearly any interior.

If Soft Sand Makes Your Heart Flutter

Who can resist a sweet velvet shell statement? Tamar Mogendorff’s designs look great set against a pile of throw pillows or displayed neatly on their own.

See more retro trends: 

Rattan Is Back, and This Time, It Comes With a Refreshing Twist

This “Grandma” Design Trend Is Back in Style (and We’re Here for It)

After a Near 20-Year Decline in Popularity, This Decor Trend Is on the Rise

Rebecca Deczynski


Rebecca is most often found digging through troves of vintage treasures, both in-person and online. Ask her to recommend a good book to read or an obscure Instagram account to follow, and you won’t be disappointed.