This Is Why Everyone Is Obsessed with Seashell Décor Right Now

published Jun 4, 2019
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When Kyla Burney first laid her eyes on seashell pillows, she knew they were destined for design fame.

“I was shopping for pillows for my own bed and fell in love with them and thought that other people would love them, too,” says Burney. Burney is the owner and creative director of Adaptations, a New York-based lifestyle boutique.

And if visions of boxy, aggressively cheesy seashell-printed pillows like those your family has had in your lake house since 1994 come to mind, you’re mistaken. We’re talking more along the likes of Tamar Mogendorff’s carefully sculptured seashell-shaped pillows, complete in a variety of colors and textures.

Credit: Tamar Morgendorff

Small Shell Pillow in Velvet at Tamar Morgendorff, $95

“They are sculptural and elevated with a playful twist,” Burney says of the aquatic accessory. “The silky velvet adds a luxurious and sophisticated take while still being whimsical.”

However, Mogendorff isn’t the only designer that’s making us contemplate life under the sea. We’re seeing shell-shaped coat hooks from AYTM, shell mirrors from Pottery Barn, and even Urban Outfitters has an array of shell-inspired trinket dishes.

So, yeah, seashell décor is a big deal. Buy where did this come from? If you ask Claire Mazur, it comes down to timing of trends — shells are ready for their moment in the spotlight.

Credit: Urban Outfitters

Seashell Wicker Catch-All at Urban Outfitters, $8

“We’ve all done the florals thing (and do it every couple of years, really) and are in the midst of a (very fun) fruits thing,” the co-founder of Of A Kind and co-author of Work Wife explains. “It makes sense that now we’re beginning to see ocean-inspired pieces and prints crop up that feel really fresh and new and are also hitting on that desire to reference the natural world.”

Mazur has a point. Shells offer a fun, playful touch to a space that’s neither as ubiquitous as flowers or campy as a cherry-shaped pillow.

But Elizabeth Stuart, principal of the Charleston-based firm Elizabeth Stuart Design argues that seashells aren’t just hitting it big. Instead, they’ve always been in trend.

“For me, there has never stopped being a seashell trend but that’s probably because I live near the beach,”  she explains. “I love the texture that they provide. I love the multiple colors of white that can be seen in one single shell and together the shells patterned can be nothing short of exquisite art.”

The jury may be out on whether the seashell fad is exactly new, but one thing’s for sure: This style is here to stay.

Credit: Finnish Design Shop

Concha Wall Hook by AYTM at Finnish Design Shop, Starting at $39

“Every trend evolves and shifts, however seashells have always evoked memories for people and have been around in fashion and home decor forever,” Burney argues. “We feel they are timeless.”

But as we reach peak seashell décor, you may find yourself wanting something a little more, well, original. One way to give your space a personal touch is by flexing your DIY muscle.

“I have made patterns with the typical gray shells that individually might not be that special, but when they are circling a square box they become incredibly interesting,” Stuart says. “Just recently I had a dinner party by the pool and I put my collection of shells down the center of the table and mixed it with flowers. It was gorgeous, if I do say so myself.”

What do you think? Are you into the seashell décor trend? Should off below.