Whether you live near the ocean or in the suburbs, fish-inspired flourishes can add a fun dimension to cool, laid-back decor. The aquatic concept can appear in different guises: as artwork, in sculpture, as the motif on ceramics and in wall coverings. If you’re hooked on fishy home accessories, take inspiration from these under-the-sea examples.


Angela LaVista, original photo on Houzz


Zone: Hallway

Mood: A touch of whimsy

Why it works: While the dresser pictured here is quite formal and sober, the collection of fish-shaped plates above it adds humor and beauty to the hallway. The positioning may appear random, but the owners have taken the time to get the right balance between large and small fish. Since the collection creates a strong visual element on its own, little decoration is required on the dresser — just a couple of items to make it more homey.

30 Fantastically Integrated Fish Tanks You Won’t Believe


Jeni Lee, original photo on Houzz


Zone: Outdoor dining

Mood: Vintage chic

Why it works: An exterior wall covered in recycled brick needed a decorative touch to personalize the dining area. Australian design team Timothy and Rebekah Cichero of One Small Room found this vintage sign to give a retro feel to the space.


For vintage items like this, check out salvage companies and antiques stores. Or for a similar look, mount one of the cinema light boxes that are popular now.


Lesley Glotzl, original photo on Houzz


Zone: Bedroom

Mood: The one that didn’t get away

Why it works: Moving in with someone can be treacherous, especially when it comes to agreeing on color palettes and furnishings in the bedroom. Often your partner is happy for you to take control, until he or she utters this line: “There’s just one little item I’d like to add … ”


It might be Granny’s rocker or a collection of vintage albums. Or it just might be a giant marlin that threatens to take over the entire room. Never fear: This bedroom offers a perfect example of how compromise can lead to design excellence.

Are Plantation Shutters Right for Your Windows?


Elizabeth Home Decor & Design, Inc., original photo on Houzz


Zone: Home office

Mood: Inventive design

Why it works: Floor-to-ceiling shutters may look great in a study, but they can leave you with little wall space for hanging artwork. Here, the owners came up with a solution: They compiled a fish collection and hung it on the posts between the shutters. To avoid a messy look, perfect symmetry is key.


LA Hally Architect, original photo on Houzz


Zone: Dining area

Mood: Deep blue sea

Why it works: A large ocean-inspired artwork brings serenity to a space, and drawing inspiration from a large piece of art is a handy device when decorating. Here, the shimmering blue of the piece is echoed in other elements, such as the acrylic chairs. As a finishing touch, the whitewashed wood floors reference driftwood on the beach.

Tone Down Nautical Decor With an Elegant Dining Set


Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC, original photo on Houzz


Zone: Front gate

Mood: Larger than life

Why it works: Sometimes bigger is better. This gate sums up the owner’s tastes: daring, creative and quirky. When installing a custom work such as this, it’s worth getting recommendations for an artist or sculptor from art curators, landscapers or even garden centers.


The concept can also be executed in a more understated way — small metal fish added to an outdoor brick wall or a piece of abstract art in the garden, for example.