I have recently been to several home decorating expos and fairs and I was struck at the number of companies featuring seashell items.  Lamps, mirrors, tables, frames – you name it, it’s the new thing in decorating.

Seashell chic can be expensive, however, because many items are handmade.  If you are crafty you can make many of these items yourself. Martha Stewart is ready to help with lots of ideas.

Lamps:

Etsy, the Internet crafts fair, has many shell items for sale.  We like this shell lamp.  $150.

A fun seashell lamp is the cylinder style that you can fill yourself with shells from memorable trips to the beach.  We like this one from Sea Shell World that you can either buy already filled, or empty.  Filled is $111 and empty is $85 .

We also like this Kathy Ireland Beachcomber Fillable Table Lamp.  $199.

Mirrors:

This sea glass and seashell mirror from Etsy is very pretty.  It is 18” x 18”, and colors can be customized. $139.

This Harbor Mirror is $310.

Bea’s Tropical Design has many decorative shell objects, all handmade.  We loved this mirror, for $575.

Furniture:

This round shell table is gorgeous.  On sale for $299.

We also love this shell side table, $750.

Sconces:

Shell sconces are one of the most beautiful decorative shell items.

This Grotto Shell Wall Sconce is fantastic and at 15” x 21” x 7” quite large.  $413.

We also love this one.  $550.

Bookends:

These bookends are wonderful.  $55.99.

Miscellaneous decorative items:

This picture frame from Ocean Blooms Now is lovely.  $24.99

This seaglass and seashell 4 x 6 frame is very pretty.  From Etsy, $39.

An environmental note:  The gathering practices and policies of some of the companies selling the shells used to make the decorative objects you purchase have come under scrutiny and are now governed by environmental laws.  This is because:

  • Many shells are harvested while their inhabitants are still alive.  This is only allowed if the inhabitants are being used as a food source and the shell is a by-product.
  • Shells that wash up on the beach are used as housing for hermit crabs and other similar species.
  • Just as dead trees are very important to the forest’s ecosystem, empty shells are important to the bottom of the ocean, and also contribute to natural barriers to combat beach erosion.

On the other hand, there are also many instances where shells are a waste product or by-product from a food source and therefore legitimately available to be used decoratively.

There are ‘fake’ shells that are identical to the real thing.  These shells are often made from resin. In fact, you have probably already purchased a shell item that wasn’t real shell and have remained blissfully unaware. They are a wonderful alternative to the real thing.