Setting Sail: Nautical Nursery Décor for a Happy Little Sailor


Published: May 24, 2023
Updated: November 25, 2023

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. See our full disclosures here.

Ahoy there! If you’re a parent-to-be expecting a little sailor or mermaid who loves the ocean, it might be time to set sail on a nautical adventure into nursery décor! A nautical theme is a classic choice for nurseries and can be a fun and whimsical way to decorate your little one’s space. From anchors to sailboats, there are so many nautical elements that you can incorporate into your nursery design while also providing an enriching and educational environment to foster an interest in marine life.

Not only is nautical décor cute and charming, but it’s also versatile and gender-neutral. Whether you’re expecting a baby boy or girl, a nautical theme can be easily adapted to fit your style and preferences. With some creativity and inspiration, your nautical nursery can be a charming and delightful space for your little one to grow and explore. So, hoist your anchor and get ready to set sail on a journey of nautical nursery décor!

1. Whale Hello There!

As someone who loves all things ocean-related, I must say that whale-themed baby bedding is one of my favorite nursery décor options. Imagine the gentle giants of the sea protecting your little one snuggled under the warm quilt while they dream. This set features different-sized whale motifs in various soothing shades of blue. It is stitched by hand and made from 100% organic cotton percale, the other side of the quilt, a gorgeous navy blue and white stripe, is a 55% cotton and 45% linen blend. This means the quilt is soft, breathable, and very durable.

2. Waves and Whales

I may not be a baby or designing a nursery; however, I may still purchase this wicker storage basket. Not only is it a practical solution for storing toys and blankets, but it is also adorable and adds a touch of marine life to any room. This basket was made with water hyacinth. I would style this basket on the floor in a corner or near a play area and fill it with my child’s toys; not only can they access them to play, but it will make it fun for them to clean up after!

3. Diving into Dreamland

An ocean-themed mobile can create a serene and peaceful environment for your little one while also being visually stimulating and a focal point for them to gaze up at during nap or playtime. The soft, gentle movement of the mobile, much like ocean waves, can help soothe and calm your baby if they are extra fussy at bedtime. I would style it above a crib designed with the nautical whale bedding we previously discussed for a super cohesive look. Also, try incorporating a sound machine playing soothing whale sounds to round out the entire vibe.

4. Oceanic Organization

A diaper stacker is ideal for organizing diapers, wipes, powders, and lotions in an easy-to-reach spot at your fingertips. However, they aren’t always the most trendy or stylish; this adorable diaper stacker features a cute little whale to match your nautical décor. In the future, when you are no longer using it for diapers, your little one can use the stacker as a tote for toys or books.

5. Ships of Storage

Wood Boat Shelf Standing Boat Decor, Decorative Bookshelf Boat Shelves Nautical Wall Hanging Boat for Beach Theme Bathroom Living Room Baby Nursery Floor Tabletop Coastal Farmhouse Lake House Decor

Adding a wood boat shelf to your nautical nursery can add a unique yet whimsical touch to the space. It is a decorative and functional space for storing smaller items such as books, toys, or diapers. I would style this boat shelf next to a changing table for extra wipes and powders that aren’t in your crib diaper stacker, or I would fill it with tiny books next to a rocking chair to create a reading corner.

6. Shirts, Shorts, and Sharks!

I know I keep boasting about functional and decorative teams, but it is essential for a nursery! Nurseries tend to be small; even with a large nursery, why not make mundane things fun and magical for your little one? This little shark hamper is decorative yet practical; also, it can be used by your child as they age. I would tuck the hamper out of the way in a corner or against a wall. If you have one, a hamper can also be slipped into a closet, but I don’t see why you would ever want to hide this fun laundry hamper.

7. Whale Watching

When I saw this wallpaper, I had to add it to the list. The playful yet calming vibe of the whale motif and the eclectic boho patterning create a unique yet soothing atmosphere both you and your baby will love. This wallpaper could be the perfect base to mix and match patterns and textures, such as some small macrame hangings or a textured rug with similar colors, creating dimension in the space.

8. Anchors Away!

This anchor-patterned playmat would be a wonderful addition to your nautical nursery, providing a soft, safe place for your little sailor to have tummy time and explore. This fabric baby mat is made with ease in mind; not only is it machine washable, but also easily folds up to be tucked away or brought with you on new family adventures.

9. Whale of a Time

Wow, the baby fever is getting so strong, or maybe I wish I had this adorable rocker when I was young! This whale rocker is sure to make a splash with your baby; not only can it be a gorgeous piece of décor, but it can become a beloved toy for them as they age a little. It is perfect for them to play and exercise their coordination and balance skills. I would make it a focal point of the play area in the nursery and place it on top of a plush rug or play mat to protect the floors and my future little ones from any little slips.

10. Seaside Snuggles

Handcrafted with 100% wool in Nepal, this pillow would be a charming addition to your nursery. It has a 100% polyester fill and 100% cuddle potential. Every child deserves some plushy friends. Giving them stuffed toys that are marine animals can stimulate their imagination and curiosity about the world around them, which can be further nurtured with books or educational activities. If your baby is too young to have plushies inside the crib, I suggest styling this and the many other stuffed toys I am sure they receive in a hammock net above the crib so they can still look up at their future cuddle buddies.

11. Cephalopod Cuddles

Much along the line of the seahorse pillow, this octopus can be a snuggly educational buddy. This plush is made with soft, durable plush fabric and high-quality PP cotton material. I come in an assortment of colors and sizes so that you can choose the ideal fit. The many plush tentacles make it ideal for hugs and styling; you can set him on a shelf with his legs tumbling down, wrap him around crib bars, or place him in a toy hammock with the rest of your baby’s underwater companions.

12. A Perfect Catch!

Mkono Stuffed Animal Hammock Toy Storage Nautical Style Hanging Stuff Animals Net Organizer with Shells and Nautical Decor, Large Steering Wheel Fishing Toys Net for Nursery Playroom Kid's Room

Here is the gorgeous plushy hammock I keep alluding to. Any plush hammock will work; I’ve even seen some creative DIYs. However, this is my top choice because it is not only durable and easy to hang but also, the nautical decorations hanging off the net add a whole new layer to the design. This net also helps free up shelves and floor space that stuffed toys would otherwise take up, not to mention how much easier clean up would be.

13. Beachy Bliss

CraftThink LED Pendant Lighting, Rattan Coastal Spiral Shell Pendant Lighting 1 E26 Bulb Bistro Suspended Ceiling Lighting Fixture in Beige for Living Room Bedroom Dining Room Bar Restaurant, 14' W

Okay, so this one isn’t nursery specific, and I want this in my bedroom immediately! Though, if you use it in a nursery, it could create a lovely calming, whimsical atmosphere for your baby. The rattan material gives a natural and organic feel while casting gorgeous patterns on the walls when illuminated at night. Opting for a soft lightbulb or dimmable bulbs can provide the perfect amount of warm cozy lights for naptime. Overall, this light fixture is a must for a nautical-themed nursery or any coastal home, for that matter.

14. Swimming with the Sharks

Decorating your nursery with Shipley the Shark Children’s Lounge Chair can be fun and help create the perfect reading spot! The chair is designed to look like a shark with its fabric fins and teeth. To create a cohesive look, pair it with another nautical-themed décor piece, such as those we previously discussed, such as whale rockers or a boat shelf, or be matchy-matchy with the shark hamper! The chair can be a comfortable reading spot for your children, encouraging them to ‘dive’ into literature or educational books about their favorite marine life!

Navigating Nursery Decor: How to Incorporate a Nautical Theme

As someone who has helped many friends and family members design nurseries for their little ones, I think creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing space is essential. A nautical-themed nursery provides a charming and whimsical space for your baby to relax and grow. The combination of playful decor and soothing colors can help create a calm and comfortable environment for your little one to rest and play. By incorporating ocean-inspired accents and nautical elements, you can add a touch of personality to your baby’s room and create a space that feels unique and special.

Overall, the nautical theme offers a versatile and fun option for decorating a nursery. From anchor motifs to sea creatures, there are many ways to customize the theme to fit your style and preferences. With a bit of creativity and attention to detail, you can bring the magic of the ocean into your home and create a welcoming and soothing haven for your little sailor to call their own.

Scroll to Top