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Simple Tips to Decorate Your Home With Paintings of Ships at Sea

As with landscape art, a seascape is any work of art depicting the sea. A great example of seascapes is Marine Art, a genre of art that is inspired by the sea and illustrates ships at sea as its main feature. It emerged as a client-driven niche for buyers interested in the theme. 

Depictions of sea vessels have been featured in art from the earliest times in art history. However, as a distinct genre, marine painting emerged in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age art period. Beginning mostly as “ship portraits”, Dutch masters like Rembrandt van Rijn depicted wonderful paintings of ships at sea as subjects, illustrating their significance in overseas trade and naval duties. 

Ship portraits are simply paintings of ships at sea. They sometimes feature more details like beaches and seamen, but the main subject is always a ship or ships at sea. If you love the sea and also appreciate art, you may consider getting paintings that reflect your love for seascapes. In this article, we look at simple tips to help you decorate your space with ship portraits.

The Beginning of Paintings of Ships at Sea

Around the 16th century, ex-voto paintings were popularly commissioned by religious mariners who were grateful for surviving disasters at sea. Towards the beginning of the 17th century, artists shifted their attention from religious images to the natural scenes around them. With the importance of maritime themes in the old Dutch Republic, marine art began to thrive in the Netherlands. 

Hendrick Vroom was one of such artists who caused famous ocean paintings to flourish. He was a significant Dutch marine artist notable for his commemorative depictions of Dutch and English naval vessels and their battles at sea. Through his influence, other artists in Holland, including the father-son duo, the Van de Veldes, relocated to Britain in 1672, where they established a growing school of maritime painting and set the tone for British marine art for almost a century. 

From Britain’s powerful Royal Navy to the global significance of Britain’s merchant ships to transatlantic passenger liners and even yachting activities, the early 20th century fostered a great deal of support for marine art. This culminated in the 1939 establishment of the Society of Marine Artists, later the Royal Society of Marine Arts, and the creation of some of the most famous paintings of ships at sea

Marine artists have employed various styles of illustrating grandiose vessels and their courses on the high seas. In some works, they were depicted as majestic floating castles on an infinite backdrop of serene blue. At other times, the depictions featured heroic vessels battling tempestuous winds and frothing waves. Whichever your style, here are some useful tips to help bring the ornamental splendor of ocean voyages into your living space.

Create A Nautical Vibe

The word “nautical” refers to the sea, ships, and their crew. A nautical style incorporates sea elements into the interior decor, and it is typically every ocean lover’s dream. 

It features distinctive elements like a color palette mostly made up of blue and white, decorative ornaments like rudders and anchors, and of course, beautiful paintings of ships at sea. 

Creating a nautical/coastal tone is the easiest way to introduce marine art into your home; it serves as a stage with all the right props to create an appropriate setting.  

Create A Gallery Wall

In the art context, a gallery wall is a collection of framed paintings that are hung together on a single wall, usually creating a unique aesthetic. Some gallery walls are arranged to tell a story, while others feature stand-alone pieces that create a theme. 

If you have several seascape paintings and are faced with the dilemma of where to put them all, create a gallery wall for all of them to fit in. Try this and watch it automatically become the focal point of the room. 

Your collage of ship portraits would create a beautiful grid that appeals to the inner thalassophile in everyone who views it. An additional tip is to place your gallery on the staircase wall, the ascending arrangement adds a unique effect.  

Go Solo

Ship portraits look just as wonderful when hung solo as when grouped on a gallery wall. Think of an oversized single ship portrait against the backdrop of a blank wall strip and the regal attention it would command. 

Solo ship paintings of impressive proportions could serve as anchors for sofas or bed frames. They could also create an illusion of a massive window into the vastness of the sea. 

This tip is perfect if you have a blank wall and you have no idea where to get started on decoration, especially if you have just moved into a new home. Choose a suitable color for your wall and hang a massive ship painting; it’s the simple trick you need to transform bare into breathtaking. 

Complement Your Painting

If a wall gallery feels chaotic on the one hand and a solo painting feels scanty on the other, then you could try complementing your solo portrait with other elements that add to its presence. The complementary element could be a second painting or other aesthetic materials like ship-in-a-bottles or sailboats. These embellish your painting which stands as the centerpiece. 

In order to illustrate this concept, your solo painting could be hung above drawers made to look like a treasure chest or a regular chest of drawers with your complimentary elements atop. You could also incorporate major décor statements like treasure-map rugs just beneath your painting. Whichever your approach, the goal is to layer with materials that amplify the oceanic theme.  


We owe our gratitude to the Dutch golden era for the marine art style and nautical decor we can adorn our homes with today. The ideas in this article are useful to the true art and sea enthusiast in merging both areas of interest into one unique style, reflecting the splendor of the ocean and the complementary aesthetic of art. 

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