Decorating ideas that use nautical antiques include displaying model boats, oars and life preservers on a wall or a fireplace mantel. Other objects suitable for display are ship wheels, anchors, pulleys and paddles.
Many nautical items are colorful and brighten a space. A string of signal flags hung from the ceiling adds color and depth to a room. A grid of framed boat flags can serve as a room's focal point. Sea charts used as wallpaper or attached to a room divider provide a maritime backdrop for furnishings.
Smaller nautical antiques are decorative in groups. Stacked in transparent vases or gathered in silver trophy cups or urns, small items can be displayed in bookshelves or on the tops of tables and chests along with ocean-themed objects such as sea glass, shells, coral and driftwood. Objects of varying heights and shapes create the most interest.
Items salvaged from boats and ships can be repurposed for the home. For example, an old porthole can display a mirror or a clock. Captain's chairs extend seating in the kitchen or den. Other items such as a bells, rope and buoys are ideal as outdoor decor. A telescope or ship throttle mounted on a deck or patio completes the exterior nautical theme.