How to Decorate a Coastal-inspired Tablesape for a Seaside Dinner Party

A seaside dinner party is always a big hit for a birthday. And the plus factor is it’s generally quite easy to pull off. So easy, in fact, that you may run the risk of overdoing the theme. What we’d like to propose, then, is how to create the look and feel of a coastal-inspired tablescape using tasteful and stylish touches. The key actually is to suggest the theme with a few well-chosen accent pieces, rather than to overstate it. With these 3 table decorating ideas—all using shells, incidentally—we demonstrate how this can be done so easily, yet so elegantly! (*this post contains affiliate links)

Use Shells as Charming Place Markers

Seaside Tablescape styling | by Bellenza (Party Blog)

Break away from traditional place cards and their holders, by using natural shells as place setting markers. Choose bivalves in interesting fan shapes, ovals, and crescents and simply paint each guest’s name on them with colored puff paint—metallic or glitter finish paints would be really pretty as well! Then, for a charming finishing touch, glue a lustrous faux pearl on each shell. Guests will be thrilled to take these home as party mementos.

Different takes:

  • You can dust the shells’ frilly edges with some sparkly gold, silver, or clear glitter.
  • In place of the pearl on each shell, a colorful crystal or faux gemstone would be lovely as well.
  • If you choose not to use these as place markers, they would still make delightful table decorations scattered amidst the place settings. Then, you could package a pair for each guest to remember your party by.

Give Pretty Shell Surprises

Seaside Tablescape styling | by Bellenza (Party Blog)

Make guests look—and look again! That’s the secret of using just decorative touches to subtly slip in that beach vibe. The table may be kept quite simple, then you surprise everyone with some sweet details right by their plates. It could be beautifully handcrafted shell place card holders displaying guests’ names or holding glittery coral cutouts. Or you could opt for exotic-looking starfish accents to adorn the napkins.

Different takes:

  • Instead of name cards, have the card holders display photos of the birthday celebrant with people special to him or her. Then, position these randomly on the party table for all to enjoy.
  • Tuck blank cards into the shell holders at each place, and invite guests to write a personal birthday wish for the honoree to keep.
  • If you’re the crafty type, you could actually make the starfish pieces yourself from five cone-shaped shells glued together, painted gold, and finished with a pretty pearl. Talk about a way to impress your guests!

Utilize Candlelight with Shell Accents and More

Seaside Tablescape styling | by Bellenza (Party Blog)

If you’d like to bring the magic of candlelight to the tablescape (and who wouldn’t?), do it with shells, too. Simple tea lights go stylish when presented on shell dishes trimmed with swirly shell pieces, and surrounded by a scattering of assorted natural shells, pebbles, and crystals. Such a lovely sight in the candle glow—like jewels of the sea washed up on a sandy shore!

Seaside Tablescape styling | by Bellenza (Party Blog)

Different takes:

  • Leave the lighting to the floating candles, and have the shell trays act as place card holders. Just fill them with a bed of sand to hold the guests’ name cards upright.
  • The same pretty trays could be used as candy or appetizer dishes, offering guests some tempting munchies while they wait for the main meal.
  • Imagine their delight when you present each one with a shell tray of their own as a party favor, bundled up in a fabric!

Recreating our tablescape: some favorites on Amazon!

Seaside Tablescape Essentials | by Bellenza (Party Blog)

To help you capture the look of our beach-inspired tablescape, you can source lovely earth-toned tablecloths and table napkins. And you can take your pick of all kinds of seashells. You can look for colored beach glass to match your table palette, decorative sand (available in virtually every color and in a glitter version, too!), and even an inexpensive substitute for driftwood called “ghostwood“!

This post contains affiliate links and Bellenza, Inc. will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking the affiliate links. You can find our disclosure statement here.

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