I think it’s important to start off this post with you knowing that I do not have a conclusion about how I feel about this trend. Obviously, no trend is ever brand new and shells (like Chinoiserie) never really went “away.” Both Arlyn and I are from coastal areas and can attest to that very real fact. But shells all of a sudden started popping up in the cool Instagram accounts I following (what?!) and on my Pinterest feed (uh, oh). It was time to investigate and I did so with trepidation. I have become overtly aware that my general hesitation with a handful of the current trends (lilac, clear handbags, ’80s squiggle lines/Memphis, etc.) are due to the fact that they are almost all reimagined styles from my youth that I was never into. It must be the circle of life that about every 30 years, a “trend” comes back bigger and better or just more palatable to the modern era. So are modern shells next up to bat? And do we think they have staying power?
I do want it also known that I love the beach. I have just never felt the need to bring it home with me. Okay, SURE I had one large shell in my room growing up that I was convinced echoed the peaceful sounds of ocean waves and probably Ariel’s voice when I held it up to my ear. BUT aside from that one, shells stayed at the beach where they belonged. But then, I think towards the end of last year, I watched an instastory of Manrepeller’s Leandra Medine Cohen about her upcoming shoe line that had me shook. Much to my immediate confusion (and if I’m totally honest, horror) some of them had shell detailing. Yes, the fashion trend-setting queen herself was wholeheartedly behind this rebirth. Once I saw that, I knew it was serious because fashion and decor are VERY linked in terms of trend predicting (a tip I got from Emily), it just takes a little while to trickle down. And now in April of 2019 good luck finding a major fashion retailer that isn’t carrying at least a handful of ultra-chic shell inspired accessories.
See what I mean? But let’s turn our focus back onto home decor. The photos I’m about to show you took me on a journey that now has me kiiiinda convinced that this trend is cool. Much like any “eclectic” trend, it’s about picking your moments. This way it stays chic, special and nothing like the “beach” themed home of your childhood vacations.
Definitely not your grandma’s beach house at all (no offense to grandmas here, FYI, we know they can be super stylish). It’s modern, Pop Art-y but certainly fun. I think the styling of this dresser is beautiful but when I started to see shell decor like this I thought not totally for me even though it does induce a surge of joy. How can a shell lamp not? But then I was seeing even more and I started to maybe sway…
This stunning home, designed by Autumn Hachey, is nothing if not cool. It’s a great balance of high-end modern trends and classic pieces. The shell pillow adds a total uniqueness to the space that makes it more playful than your average sofascape. But said accessory does invoke a rather “current” feel which depending on the person may not last you longer than a few years. That’s not to say she won’t love this pillow in her space forever. Regardless, the space is incredibly cool and really had me thinking differently about shell decor.
Here we have an even quieter shell moment from a tour The Design Files did of Sara Levitas’ rental home. It’s pretty darn cute, right? The shell shape is definitely reminiscent of the eighties but since it’s surrounded by greenery, solid dark toned accessories it feels cool and makes me want to know more about the homeowner. They feel fun people and who doesn’t like being around fun people. Maybe that’s something to consider…a cool shell accent = fun person.
Speaking of fun and weird, Emily showed this photo of the Mjolk House above in her Mountain House Monday: How I am Planning on Bringing in the Weird post. If you are anti-shell still, fear not, Emily isn’t planning on a Beach Meets Mountain theme even though I would LOVE to see what she could come up with. However, my point with this photo is what we all noticed (aside from that killer chair) was the shell-framed mirror brought in sooo much personality and looks chic as hell. Maybe I’m convincing myself now…
UPDATE: The shell is a string pull so it very much has a function. I still love it and think it adds the perfect does of personality. But I also think it still makes a case to just hang a pretty shell from the ceiling (no function needed) that adds texture, personality and a flawless contrasting style to the room.
This shell pendant had me on the verge of me saying, “nope tooooooo ’70s coastal.” My mom had something kinda similar from her Miami college days. It never went up in our house but I always thought my mom was crazy for keeping it. But with this one, since most everything else is so neutral and varied in style I think I’m kinda into it. I’m sure I made fun of my mom and most certainly now owe her an apology.
Most of the photos above showcased either a “modern” shell in a neutral room or a natural shell in a neutral room. This one sports a large natural shell (VERY similar to my Little Mermaid one) in a very colorful modern space showing the versatility of styling with this trend.
This photo of the famous but newly renovated Featherston House in Australia had me pretty much convinced that if I found the right shells and perfectly curated ocean debris that I could be persuaded to do something magnificent like that wall collection.
In case you read this and thought Jess convinced me, I LOVE SHELLS and how can I get my hands on some decor? Look no further than right here because I have curated some shoppable pieces to make your dreams come true.
1. Shell Pillow | 2. Shell-Shaped Plant Pot | 3. Seashell Wicker Catch-All | 4. Concha Shell Wall Hook | 5. Ariel Rococo Shell Chair | 6. Silver Clam Shell | 7. Trapezium Barrel Chair | 8. Clam Shell Soap Dish | 9. Clam Shell Floor Lamp
That’s all she wrote…on shells at least. I’m still pretty sure I won’t be diving head first into this trend in my current apartment but who knows for the future. Maybe some chic shells will make their way into my life and we will live happily ever after. I mean it’s just hard to feel sad around shells. But I am DYING to hear what you think. Do you love this newer take on shell decor? Does the idea of it make you cry? Do you think every house should have a minimum of 20 shells per room? Let us discuss (with respect) in the comments. 🙂
Love you, mean it. xx Jess