Decorating for Summer with Vintage Beach Decor
It’s not officially summer but once the calendar rolls over to June, it’s summer to me. In celebration of summer, I decorated my living room with a beach theme. You know I love vintage, so my beach decor incorporates vintage along with items from the beach or those that make me think of the beach.
Decorating my Living Room with a Vintage Beach Theme
I so much enjoy decorating my living room for each season. Summertime makes me think about going to the beach, so I gathered up my beach decor and gave this room a coastal look for summer. Come take a tour with me!
This room gets great light nearly all day and was our primary hang-out space before we added a family room to our home. Now our dog is the main family member to use this space. His spot is either on the sofa or on the floor in front of the chest.
The chest was my grandmother’s and is one of my favorite pieces that I inherited from her.
A wicker tray corrals a few beachy items. The Abalone shell was my grandmother’s and was used for garden club flower arrangements. Mama gave me the glass insulator. It’s not dated, but is marked “Made in the USA” and “Armstrong’s”. The postcard is postmarked December 10, 1909 and was sent from my great-great aunt from Norfolk, VA to her sister in Vinton, VA. Aunt Fannie was a hat maker and was writing her sister to let her know that she had sent her a hat COD.
The scene on the postcard is of Ocean View, VA located in Norfolk.
To the left of the wicker tray is another piece that was my grandmother’s, a blue and white pottery piece. This piece has no marks and I know nothing about it other than that my grandmother always had it on display in her kitchen. The coral in front of the pottery piece also came from my grandmother’s house and I was told that it was found in West Virginia. If that story is correct, it is fossilized coral.
The wooden box on the wicker tray was a trash pile find. For summer I filled it with starfish.
Near the candle is another postcard from Ocean View, this one says “Leap the Dips” which I suppose it talking about the roller coaster. This card was sent August 11, 1916 from Norfolk to Miss Fannie Hudson from her sister Blanche. My former teacher assistant gave this postcard to me. Blanche and Fannie were her relatives.
Now we’ll move on to another coastal vignette, this time on the small table between the wing chairs. Speaking of wing chairs, the pillows on the wing chairs were my grandmother’s handiwork. She loved to needlepoint and made these at some point. I thought about buying some coastal themed pillows to use on these chairs this summer but instead just used what I already owned.
The postcard on the left is marked, “The Arlington Cottage, Virginia Beach, Virginia” and is postmarked August 18, 1907. It was sent from Lucy to Mr. Robt. L. Funk in Vinton, VA. Lucy was my great-grandmother, perhaps she sent this card.
The middle card is another marked, “Ocean View, VA”. It is postmarked December 3, 1909. The message is more hat talk between my great-great aunts.
The card on the right is marked “Princess Anne Hotel, Virginia Beach, Virginia” and is postmarked August 22, 1907. It was sent to Lizzie Hughes in Montgomery County, Virginia. I don’t know who Lizzie Hughes is but postcards addressed to Lizzie are amongst those that my grandmother had that belonged to her aunts so I suppose she was a friend.
I usually display my vintage postcards using small floral frogs but recently discovered that I could bend drapery hooks to use as mini easels for display. I like displaying postcards on this table because I can enjoy both the back and front sides of the cards.
The mantel always is the hardest part of this room to decorate. I kept is simple with DIY lanterns that I made last fall that hold Mason jars filled with shells.
Here is a better view of the lanterns on my mantel. I took this picture outside one evening when the light was just right. You can see exactly how I made these lanterns here.
The music stand to the left of the fireplace holds another beachy vignette. The blue vase is Blenko and belonged to my grandmother’s neighbor. Blenko is located in Milton, WV, not far from where my grandmother lived in Giles County, VA. My grandmother and her neighbor had several Blenko pieces, probably from visiting the factory.
The Bobbsey Twins book has a 1954 copywrite.
The wooden toolbox on the fireplace hearth holds an old oar, an oyster can, and assorted shells and starfish. The oyster can and oar both belong to my mom and she used them to decorate a beach house that she has since sold.
Mama comes from a family who kept everything, so I’ll have to ask her the story behind the broken oar. It had to have belonged to some relative!
The marble topped table to the right of the fireplace is also decorated with beachy goodness.
This is the other side of the living room. Hanging over my dad’s 1960’s Montgomery Ward Stereo are framed sheet music from the early 1900’s. The sheet music belonged to Maggie Scanlon, one of my other grandmother’s cousins. My mother lives in the house that Maggie’s dad, Jim Scanlon, built for his family in 1913. Chances are that Maggie played her piano using this sheet music in the home where my mother now lives.
The lidded box on top of my dad’s stereo was made by family member out of an old radio. On it I have another postcard and a North Carolina Beach nature guide.
The postcard was sent from Atlantic City, NJ to my great-great aunt August 8, 1907. Willye’s then boyfriend George was letting her know that he would leave tomorrow evening and would see her Saturday night or Sunday. George worked for Norfolk and Southern Railroad and perhaps was in NJ on business.
The silver bowl has my dad’s name on one side and was given to my grandparents by the senior class of William Byrd High School in 1941. My grandfather was then the principal of William Byrd and the class secretly invited my grandmother and dad who was an infant to be at the ceremony when it was presented to my grandfather.
I hope you enjoyed my beach themed living room decor and that you enjoyed seeing my beach themed vintage things.
I’m sharing my love of vintage along with fellow vintage loving friends from the Creative Vintage Darlings group on Facebook. If you love vintage, we would love to have you join our group. Just click over and request to join.
Now I invite you to visit my vintage loving friends. Click on the links below to visit each post.
Lora B. Create and Ponder // ArtisBeauty.net // Sweet Pea
Loved the tour, Paula! So much history;) The drapery pin easels are a great idea-totally pinned!
That CHEST is absolutely STUNNING, and adding all the vintage goodies around it really makes the whole room feel like a Cottage on the East Coast.
The beach is my favourite place to be – I am a true West Coast girl that way! I just loved seeing all your beachy vintage goodness. Your abalone shell caught my eye – it’s gorgeous and what a size. Blenko? Be still my beating heart, oh Blenko! I am always on the hunt and such a fan. Your vase is amazing. I love the shape of it. Gosh, Paula. There’s just so much to comment on. What a wonderful post 🙂
Oh my goodness, I simply adore all of your family’s history! AND, I’m so impressed how you remember all of that, I would love to sit and read those post cards, what a treasure, all of your beautiful vintage is such a treasure! xo
I really enjoyed reading the family history and stories – it makes everything that much more interesting. I love the Bobbsey Twins book cover. Growing up I devoured all the Bobbsey Twin books and Nancy Drew books. Visiting from Finding Silver Pennies link party!
Hello, Kristine! Book covers from old books are so charming. I didn’t read a lot of Bobbsey Twins but I did read Nancy Drew and especially loved Trixie Belden. In fact I have the entire Trixie Belden collection. I spent a lot of my summer vacations reading!
Thanks for the tour. I love the starfish, postcards, and Omg – I have that Bobsey Twins book too! I remember reading that and just loving the idea of the beach. I just love the beach and it’s treasures to this day. <3
I am such a slug! I grew up with a mom who decorated only at Christmas and Easter, and I am pretty much the same way. I have no fun memorabilia like you, but I could do something! You inspire me.
Beautiful tour! My favourite thing, while not beachy, are the bird prints. Your drapery is beautiful too, perfectly hung. (that’s what she said.) HAHAHAHA. Gee, sorry about that. Couldn’t be helped 😉
I so enjoyed the tour of your home. I love how you are using treasures from your family’s past. I find that “things” help keep memrories alive; I have a few of my grandmother’s things and enjoy them immensely.
Everything looks great enjoy
What wonderful artifacts you have collected and I loved reading the history behind them! Thanks for sharing at The Blogger’s Pit Stop! Roseann from This Autoimmune Life
Paula, your vintage beachy theme is so complimentary to the rest of your decor! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm–pinned & tweeted!
Congrats I’ll be featuring your lovely coastal decor at tomorrow’s Vintage Charm Party! xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home
Love how the postcards have history and are real, sent back in a time when there was no social media, to share where you were visiting you had to find the perfect postcard, fill it out and send it.
love your trash heap find of that little box that holds the starfish.
the living room as a whole gives of the feel of an actual beach house!
I so delighted in the voyage through your home. I cherish how you are utilizing treasures from your family’s past. I find that “things” help keep memrories alive; I have a couple of my grandma’s things and appreciate them monstrously.
This is so pretty ! I pinned it to my coastal board!
So many pretty pieces! I love the starfish and your grandma’s pottery piece – those family pieces are so special!
I am so lucky to have inherited so many of my grandmother’s things. I really treasure them and I love using them in my decor.
Amazing! Such a lovely post. I really like your way of decorating a house in a theme like a beach. I will definitely like to use your ways or tips to decorate my house like beach theme. Your house looks so amazing with that theme. I really like the idea of postcard, its a bit nice transformation of postcards. Thank you.
I love you’re vintage beach decor! The drapery pin easels area sho neat. I remember the roller coaster on your part card from Ocean View. It was there when I was a child. I also remember when they tore out down. That place was a hot-spot back in the day. Hope you’re having a great week!
What fun that you remember Ocean View from your childhood! I may have seen it, I’m not really sure, as my dad liked to point those kind of things out to us when we went to the beach in the summer.
Great post! I am such a huge fan of accessorizing with the clear apothecary jars in coastal homes so you can fill them with whatever you want. Sand, seashells… I wrote a blog recently about how to nail coastal decor without getting too kitschy. You can check that out here if curious: https://www.loridennis.com/greenblog/2019/06/beach-chic-the-best-tips-to-design-your-coastal-home/
What lovely beachy vignettes, Paula! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm–pinned!
Lovely summer vignettes.
Such lovely pieces and beautiful memories.
I display the exact same Bobbsey Twins book, along with a Little Golden Book Day at the Seashore, because the covers are so cute! Surrounded by shells, Cherished Teddies at the beach and 4th of July, and the old glass telephone thingamabobs that I picked up as a child on my uncle’s ranch in Shasta, CA. I also have hundreds of vintage postcards that I put into an album – I really like your tip on how to display them, thanks!
Your decorations sound great! I love Little Golden books. The covers and illustrations are so cute! Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you’ll come back.
Loved the beach decor, and isn’t so much fun to inherit pieces from family? I love this history behind it all!
I like your idea to keep the mantle decorations simple since that can be a tricky part of a home to decorate. My husband and I want to buy our own beachfront condo so we can have a relaxing place to get away to on weekends and holidays with our family. Thanks for teaching me how to decorate the condo in a beach-style theme without too much stress!