Summer, Vintage Style

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 😉


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!


*If you purchase a suggested Amazon item I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you. Please see my full affiliate disclosure policy for details.



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  • Reply CoCo

    I love all the different ways you’ve tucked coastal vintage style and shells into your home for Summer, Amber. They’re all so pretty and unique! Spending time at the beach is always so relaxing and I’m excited you and your family had a chance to get away and enjoy being together. Thanks so much for putting this hop together and for asking me to be a part of it. Big hugs, CoCo

    July 22, 2022 at 7:30 am
  • Reply Michelle | Thistle Key Lane

    Wow, I love the makeover of your dish thingy, which may be a compote, but don’t quote me lol! Lovely vintage treasures and as always so uniquely displayed. Your amazing talents have me I’m longing for the beach!

    July 22, 2022 at 8:34 am
  • Reply Laura Ingalls Gunn

    I feel instantly cooler already! Your dish makeover is simply fantastic. Thank you so much for hosting!

    July 22, 2022 at 10:13 am
  • Reply Rita C at Panoply

    Amber, I love how your creative mind ticks. All of your ideas, whether it’s French coastal, Easy summer coastal, English cottage coastal…..they’re all so very unique. Your thrifted finds are what make it all so special. Nice blog hop. I’m off to visit a few more. Have a great weekend.

    July 22, 2022 at 10:25 am
  • Reply debra@commonground

    well friend, I could go on and on about how gorgeous every little element is, but my absolute favorite is your seashell “thingy” and the wonderful paint makeover you gave it. Such brilliant subtle look with the shells and candle displayed inside. Just Beautiful. You have the perfect combo of vintage, French country and coastal. Thanks so much for putting the Hop together!

    July 22, 2022 at 11:58 am
  • Reply Calypso in the Country

    Amber, I love all your beautiful coastal finds and how you styled them. You have such a creative mind. Thanks again for hosting us all on this lovely blog hop! Stay cool!

    July 22, 2022 at 12:22 pm
  • Reply Cindy@CountyRoad407

    Only 3-1/2 more weeks until schools starts????!!!! No way! I was completely shocked when you said that. I guess I’m out of touch when it comes to summer school months.

    Anyway, I want to lounge on a beach (maybe in Alaska) and want no reminder of reality or responsibilities. LOL. That’s so cute. Also love what you did with your vintage coastal cottage decor. So many great ideas. Totally love the revamped seashell bowl as well. It looks so much better! Really enjoyed this hop and you making me think outside the humdrum-Cindy-style. 😉

    July 22, 2022 at 3:49 pm
  • Reply Ann

    Amber I would love to find antique sheet music like that wow, what a find! Thanks so much for having me join you on today’s hop. Hope you’re having a nice summer~

    July 22, 2022 at 5:52 pm
    • Reply Amber Lyon Ferguson

      Thanks Ann! Since I am a music teacher I am always on the lookout for vintage sheet music. I usually can find them at estate sales of people who played piano or were musicians. I have also found some cool Kentucky related pieces on Ebay.

      So glad you joined! Happy Summer!

      July 22, 2022 at 10:34 pm
  • Reply Kim | Shiplap and Shells

    I love all of your pretty coastal vibes Amber. So many beautiful details. You always have the most creative ideas. Thank you for hosting. I always love joining you all.

    July 23, 2022 at 1:44 am
  • Reply Rachel Harper

    I loved all of your nautical and coastal decor. This was such a great idea and right on trend. Thanks for including me.

    July 24, 2022 at 10:21 am
  • Reply Katie Mansfield

    I love the lady print. So darling. You’ve done a great job mixing coastal with your vintage style. Great idea for a hop.

    July 25, 2022 at 8:49 am
  • Reply Kelly

    Amber you always have the best vintage and coastal decor! So inspiring. I love your shell makeover with the stone effect. so pretty and the shells from your trip make it even better. Thank you for hosting!

    July 25, 2022 at 10:47 am
  • Reply Rachel

    This is a masterpiece post, Amber!! I LOVE how you have used natural elements as well as beachy textures with the blues and teals and whites to make incredible vignettes and displays. I truly pulled so many ideas from this one!! Thanks for sharing your amazing ideas!

    July 25, 2022 at 7:17 pm
    • Reply Amber Lyon Ferguson

      Thank you so much Rachel for the nice comment and for visiting!

      July 26, 2022 at 9:57 am
  • Reply Christy @ Our Southern Home

    You have some beautiful coastal treasures. One of these days we will have to meet up in Wilmington or Southport. Would you believe that we have not been at all this year? We hope to go Thursday or Friday. Such gorgeous ideas you have shared. Enjoy the rest of the summer.

    July 26, 2022 at 1:35 pm
  • Reply Kathy A

    As always, I love seeing your home. I always enjoy your vignettes; it amazes me that I don’t get dizzy from my eyes darting from here to there and back! My faves were the framed print of the little girl and your seashell compote makeover! As a dollhouse lover, I search for the tiniest shells, glue them on the black velvet cards that earrings come on. and voila, a shell collection–my faves are 1/4″ sand dollars!
    Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    July 27, 2022 at 3:56 pm
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