21 Easy Beach Cottage Decor Ideas on a Budget

It’s summer and we want our spaces to look it. These easy beach cottage decor ideas are what you are looking for.

Summer Cottage Beach Decor Made Easy

When I was a little girl I would walk the beach, scouring the shore line for beach glass, sea shells, and beautifully polished stones. Pockets jammed packed full of my treasures I would proudly head back to the cabin and empty my them onto the back stairs. New bits of summer gems for my ever growing collection.

I still have my childhood collection. There are pieces of beach glass and sea shells in this home that are almost as old as I am. To this day I still head to the shore line to fill my pockets with nature’s treasures. It makes me happy and I don’t plan on out growing it.

The following are some of my favorite ways to use these summer treasures to make easy beach cottage decor. None of these ideas should take you more than a few minutes to make and all of them are inexpensive to create. They are simple, they are elegant, and all of them make for perfect and easy beach cottage decor.

How Can We Decorate Coastal On A Budget?

During the summer months the last thing many of us want to do is spend a lot of time and money on decorating. Call it the calm before the fall/winter decor storm. In this moment, our desires lay with the sand, sun, and water. Laziness is the name of the game.

That being said, we also want our surroundings to be attractive and we want to make our guests feel welcome and pampered. We want to surround our loved ones with the magic of summer. The aim being simple comforts and beauty but on a summer friendly budget.

Ways that you can decorate coastal on a budget:

  • Use natural beach materials. They are literally free!
  • If you can’t get what you need free look at your local dollar store for products.
  • Shop end of season at big box stores and craft supply stores.
  • Head to your local thrift store for great decor pieces that can be altered to fit your style.
  • Shop at garage sales, antique shops, and flea markets.

How Do I Make My House Look Beachy?

Here are some of the easy ways that I like to do to make my house look beachy and beautiful for the summer months:

  • Turn to mother nature and all that she has to offer. Look to the garden, the cottage country ditches, the beach, and the woods. There are elements to be used everywhere.
  • Decorate with soft, pastel, beachy colours. Teal, cream, white, brown and soft blues and greens make for a restful look.
  • Use natural elements like wood, stone, and sand.
  • Use natural materials where possible. Think blankets, throw pillow, and slip covers.
  • Bring the outdoors in. Add plants, bird and fauna images,
  • Use all 5 senses. Have fun with foods, coastal sounds, and add summer smells with a oil scented diffuser.

21 Quick and Easy Beach Cottage Decor Ideas

These 21 simple beach decor ideas are all fun, quick, and each costs next to nothing to create. So let’s get DIYing!

Revolving Seas Shells

Grab a round tray. I like to use a wooden turn table tray for this. Little kids love to spin it and search for treasures. Place a fish bowl vase on top. Fill the vase with sand. Top the sand with colourful sea shells, beach glass, and stones.

Oh Sandy

Save the sand from an extra special beach visit and fill a small glass jar with a lid with the sand. Place this beside a picture of that day. You will love the reminders.

Garden Beach Cottage Decor

Look around your home for a plain, glass jar, empty candle holder, or short glass vase. Head out to the garden (or the grocery store) with a pair of scissors and snip some woody herbs. I recommend using thyme, rosemary, or lavender. Using some twine or string tie the herbs to the front of the jar. Pop a candle inside and Voila! Beautifully scented candle decor.

No Glue Summer Wreath

Using a grapevine wreath and some faux floral stems from the dollar store create an easy, no hot glue needed, summer wreath. Cut the stems down so that there is just enough stem left to stick in between the the grapevine stems. Tie a ribbon or rope around the top and hang on the front door.

BONUS TIP: I love to use grapevine wreaths this way. You don’t need any hot glue. It takes seconds to create and best of all you can reuse both the faux flowers and the grape vine wreath after the season ends. I made similar faux floral wreaths using this method and they held up beautifully.

Luminary Beach Cottage Decor

Fill a terra cotta pot with sand. Stick a candle in the sand and then top it all off with the chimney part of an antique lantern. Make a few of these with different sized pots and group them together. Talk about beautiful table decor. The perfect easy beach cottage decor piece for windy evenings.

Sea Shells Beach Cottage Decor

Find a shallow vessel. I went with a silver tinned tray that I found on my last thrift store haul. Fill it with sand. I went with some beautiful white sand that I had on hand. I wanted to use white sand so that the sea shells would pop. Add colourful sea shells. Simple but lovely.

Floating Summer Centerpiece

Look around the home or the thrift store for a shallow vessel. It can be glass, cermamic, or metal. I decided to use an old paella pan. Fill it with water, add some faux succulents, and a few floating candles. So delightfully elegant.

Simplest of Beach Cottage Decor

Fill a tall, glass vase 1/3 of the way up with beach glass. Again, so simple but stunning. Add a few LED fairy lights for a little extra sparkle.

Decorative Tray

Decorate a tray by topping it with summer inspired accessories. Add a candle, a summer photo, a tea cup or vase full of flowers, sea shells, summer books and the like. This looks beautiful as table decor.

Simple Summer Blooms

Gather several clear glass vases in different shapes and sizes. Fill each with water half way up. Stick a single beautiful bloom in each. I like daisies, gerbera daisies, calla lilies, zinnias, geraniums, or dahlias. Such a pretty and easy beach cottage decor piece, don’t you think?

Floating Sea Side

Fill a Mason jar with river stones. Tie some twine around the rim. Fill half way with water. Pop a floating candle inside and you have a delightful way to light up your decor.


Place small, shallow bowls all around your home. Fill them with smooth, all white or all black stones. I just love how this looks and I love the excuse to search the beach for these lovely smooth stones. Add a wooden beaded string with a shell attached to create a lovely vignette.

Classic Beach CottageDecor

Head to the dollar store to grab yourself a couple of their short glass vases. Fill with sand. Top with a few small sea shells and a couple of faux succulent stems.

Sea Shore Indoors

Fill a long, short tray with rocks. (This particular tray is another one of my thrift store finds). Twist some tea light candles into the sand or you could use small, glass votive candles. Add a few beautiful sea shells. This makes for a gorgeous and super simple table centerpiece.

Nautical Pillar Candles

Wrap a trio of battery operated candles in wide, burlap ribbon. You can often get these in different decorative motifs at the dollar store or you can go with just a plain burlap ribbon. Hot glue the ends together. Hot glue sea shells and faux succulents to the front of each. Place the trio of candles on a round tray.

If you want, you can also add stones, shells, or beach glass to the display.

Decorative Oversized Sea Shell

For this easy beach cottage decor, stuff an over sized sea shell with a floral foam. Stick faux succulent stems into the floral foam. Awesome.

Floating Sea Shells

Full disclosure: this is the most challenging easy beach cottage decor idea here. And that’s not saying much because it is a bit finicky but it’s still pretty easy.

Steps to Make Floatin Sea Shell Candle Holders:

  • Gather some dollar store glass vases in varying heights, beautiful sea shells, fishing line, hot glue, and battery operated candles.
  • Pick out a sea shell.
  • Measure the interior of the vase so that when attached with fishing line the sea shell will hang in the center of the vase.
  • Tie a thick knot on one end. Cut the fishing line to size.
  • Hot glue the fishing line to the back of one of the sea shells.
  • Using a hot glue gun aim the tip at the center, inside bottom of the vase. Make a hot glue puddle.
  • Using a pencil guide the knotted tip of the fishing line into the hot glue puddle.
  • Keep the twine in place until the hot glue has had time to harden.
  • Turn the vase upside down and place the battery operated candles on each.
NOTE: I made similar candle holders but with succulents instead of sea shells. If you like the sea shell idea I think you would like these as well.
PRO TIP: I found that after a few days the hot glue eventually gave on out but they were fun while they lasted. Use cheap sea shells that you have no sentimental attachment to and plan these for when you will have guests. Guaranteed they will get a ton of attention. And honestly, I loved these so much I just kept reattaching them with more hot glue.

Take It To The Loo

Place a battery operated LED string lights pack in the bottom of a glass Mason jar or clear vase. Pour a few pieces of beach glass inside while working the string lights around. Keep adding more beach glass and lights until you reach the top. Place this in the bathroom as a cute night light that will help guests during those late night visits.

PRO TIP: Make sure that you have installed the batteries and turned them on before placing them in the jar and topping them with stones. I learnt this the hard way when I made a faux succulent arrangement in a glass vase.

Ya Basic Beach Cottage Decor

The queen of easy beach cottage decor – antique Mason jars filled with beach glass. Nostalgic and pretty.

Personalized Nautical Wreath

Grab a dollar store rope wreath and a wooden letter. I went with L for our family name. Hot glue beach glass onto the wooden letter. Glue the letter onto the wreath. Add sea shells and greenery around the letter. Hot glue all of this on. Add a succulent to a spot on the letter that looks right.

PRO TIP: Use plenty of hot glue and glue on every party that the letter touches and every part that the sea shells touch the rope wreath. This will help ensure that they stay in place.

And last but not least, my final easy beach cottage decor idea…

Aquatic Table Decor

Fill a glass jar with rocks and aquatic looking faux greenery. Top the arrangement off with floating candles. In the evenings light the candles. The glow is incredibly magical.

Jenny’s Finishing Thoughts on Creating Easy Beach Cottage Decor

I love summer. I also love decorating. No matter how jam packed our hot summer days may be if there is even just a tiny moment to make a cute idea I have for an easy beach cottage decor piece a reality I will do it.

I love the way these gorgeous, tiny reminders of summer surround us and make everything seems comfortable and well thought out. Decor makes the space and when you take the time to pay attention to these tiny details and create an ambiance of summer time memories

If you could pick one summer time decorative piece from nature to decorate and create an easy beach cottage decor with which element would you pick?

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