4 Simple Ways to Style Shells & Coral

It’s no surprise that I love using corals and shells as decor.  After all, we have an entire category dedicated to them in our shop!  Corals and shells are incredibly versatile when used as decorative accents, but if you’re new to styling with them they can be a little intimidating.   If you love the look of corals and shells but are unsure how to style them, this blog post is for you.

Real corals and shells tend to be more expensive and harder to find, but they have a beauty that is unparalleled to artificial pieces.  If you do decide to purchase real corals and shells it’s important to know how they are being sourced and ensure they’re harvested in a way that preserves the source habitat.  Since this is something that was very important to me personally, I sought to find a vendor who does just that.  All of the shells and corals CC carries are harvested using responsible collecting methods that maintain the ecological integrity of source habitats and sustainable yield of target species populations.  If you’re unsure, just ask the retailer about their sourcing methods.

Now, let’s get to the styling tips!



Shells, sand dollars and star fish make great filler for a bowl, vase or jar.  Look for a vase or jar that has a wide mouth and a unique shape to it, like our Catalina Everyday Vase or Monaco Jar.  You can fill 2-3 different sized jars or vases with a variety of shells and style them together to create a beautiful vignette in a master bathroom, on a console table or buffet.  Shells of all sizes and shapes look beautiful styled in bowls.  One of my favorite types of shell to style in a bowl is our Jade Turbo Shell.  If you have kids and/or live near a coastline, collect your own shells! I love the personal touch of having collected shells displayed at home. Plus, it makes for a fun activity for kiddos when they’re at the beach!

Credit: Cailini Coastal 


Credit: Pinterest


Style a statement shell or piece of coral on a cake stand, trivet or tray to add a coastal touch to a kitchen, dining room or family room.  Pair the shell or coral with other coastal accessories like sea glass beads, a photo frame, books and/or a candle.

Credit: SeasideStyle.com



I believe you can never have too many coral and shells in your home – especially if you live by the water!  Corals and shells can be styled in shelves used as a book end, set on top of books, paired next to a frame, or clustered together to create a vignette.  Just make sure to vary the way you use them throughout the bookshelf to create interest.  To fully achieve a coastal look, add accents like driftwood, sea glass beads and bottles, starfish and sea fans.  I like to style shelves with vintage blue books for a cohesive look.  If you prefer to work with your existing book collection, simply turn the binding inwards so just the pages are exposed.  This will create a neutral and cohesive palette.

Credit: Pinterest


One of the simplest ways to style corals, or large statement shells like a Pink Conch Shell, is to set it on top of 1-3 books.  I like to style a vignette like this on coffee tables, entryway tables and nightstands.  Use the dimensions of your table to determine the size of your shell or coral.  Also, pair the shell or coral with books that have a coastal theme to them to pull the whole look together.


Credit: Cailini Coastal

I hope this inspires you and gives you the confidence to style your coastal home with coral and shells.  Message us with any questions and share your photos with us on Instagram.  We love to see your #CailiniCoastalStyle!

Xo Meg

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