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08 July 2016

Decorating Our Sailboat With Cheap & Cheerful Pictures

I think most of you know that I live on a sailboat, a Moody 346 called Tickety Boo. Some of you are new around here, so just in case you weren't aware - yes, I'm one of those oddballs who lives in a tiny floating house.

Because our sailboat is our home, I wanted to do some decorating to make it, well, more like a home. A while back, I made slipcovers and throw pillows for our settees, but we had these blank walls which needed some sort of pizazz. But, because we live on a tight budget, I needed to fine a cheap and cheerful way to make our saloon more homey.

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You know what, let's have an interesting, albeit random aside about the English language. Don't worry, we'll get back to boat decoration in just a minute.

Do you know that folks who speak British English use the term "homely" when they want to describe a cozy and comfortable home? I used to be so perplexed when I lived in Scotland and New Zealand and people talked about redecorating to make their place more homely. As an American, I wondered why they wanted to make their place ugly. Because that's what "homely" means in Americano - something that's not so easy on the eyes.

As an American, I'm going to have to go with the word "homey" rather than "homely" when it comes to decorating our boat. But, because I learned about sailing and boats in New Zealand, I do call our "living room" a "saloon," which is the British term, instead of a "salon," which is the American term. I'm all about contradictions and inconsistencies. Sorry about that.

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Okay, let's get back to it. I think we were talking about blank walls. We've got one wall in our saloon which runs across the forward section and a smaller wall over our chart table. Here's a picture of the layout of our boat so that you know what I'm talking about.

Source: Sailboat Data

I spent some time staring at the blank walls. I could have gone with some large pictures on each of them, but what if I got bored looking at the same pictures day in and day out? What if I chose poorly and spent lots of money getting large frames and pictures to go in them?



I decided to go with lots of small frames so that they would be easy to change out. The previous owner had a few small frames hanging on the walls, but they weren't exactly to our taste. That's the great thing about taste - everyone's is different. So, I left the old frames on the free table at our marina, somebody took them and now they're happily decorating their boat.

I went with cheap and cheerful plain, black frames from Walmart (around $2 for a 4x6" frame, even cheaper on sale) and got prints made from some of Scott's photos at Walgreens (around 12 cents for a 4x6" print). I did get a few 5x7" frames and prints as well, but only a few as the frames and prints are more expensive.


The first order of business was to figure out where I was going to place them on the wall. I cut out paper the same size as the picture frames and taped them up until I got a pattern that worked. Then I used Command picture hanging strips to attach the frames to the wall. I've seen a lot of people mention that they use these on their boats. I have to say they're pretty awesome. They're basically some sort of velcro material which stick to the wall and frame and lock together when you press the frame on the wall. They're supposed to not damage your wall when you remove them, and I did test this out when I wasn't happy with the placement of some of my frames. No damage - yippee!


Once I was happy with the arrangement, I started putting photos in frames and sticking pictures on the walls. The table in our saloon serves many purposes. Not only does it hide bottles of booze inside a compartment in the middle, my sewing machine sits on it, it's my eating area and it's also a handy-dandy crafting space for trying to figure out what pictures look best next to each other.



Here's what they look like on the forward wall. Apologies for the quality of the pictures, but I use my cell phone to take them. This ain't no glossy decorating magazine here. You can't really see the photos, but they're from our travels - some are of National Parks in the States, some are of interesting looking people in Tahiti, New Zealand and New Orleans, some are from our travels in the States and Europe and there's one of a rooster for no apparent reason.

On yet another random side note, notice one of the vents on the ceiling has light coming through and one doesn't? I bought the wrong replacement and had it shipped over from England. Way too expensive to ship back and return, so we're stuck with it.



Here's what the pictures look like on the aft wall over the chart table. {John and Joan - if you're reading this, yes, that's a picture of an old oil test well in North Dakota from those old post cards.}


I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Now I can sit on the settees and reminisce about all of the wonderful places we've traveled to and the interesting people we've met along the way.

What are your favorite home decorating tips and tricks?

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24 comments:

  1. You did a great job. Wow, excellent in fact.

    We're having coffee on the back of our boat. We have a cruise this weekend to another yacht club. Should be fun.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thanks Sandee! Sound like you have a great weekend to look forward to :-)

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  2. That's a post worthy of our 'cheap and easy boat tricks' category. Nicely done! I agree that if you are going to live aboard, then your boat should feel like a home, and that means that it needs to be visually pleasing to your eye and comforting to your body. I've been slowly moving a few things from our house over to our boat as decor. We have a painting of our previous boat hanging in the salon, and some other things, along with my hand made mermaids hanging around wishing they were swimming instead of being dry-docked. My only concern about the framed things on our boat is moisture eventually ruining them. I did my best to make the framing water tight, even added one of those little packets of dessicant to the back of two of them. So far so good, but I may decide to photograph them and frame the photos, then leave the originals behind when we leave.

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    1. I am a bit worried about moisture. Because the frames are cheap ones, the backing is some sort of cardboard material which I don't think is going to react well to humidity. But, hey, since they're cheap if they end up getting destroyed it won't bother me too much. Tough call about what to do about your nice pictures - bring with or leave behind :-(

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  3. I was wondering what you were going to do with 19 frames . . . they look great!

    Cheers,
    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

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    1. Thanks! I still have some spare frames. Trying to decide if I should put some more in the aft cabin.

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  4. Shhhh, I love the previous owners, they have become great friends, so don't tell. Before there were command strips, they put up all of their "artwork" with brass screws into the teak. (Eeek! But it keeps things fastened well) They loved one particular artist, and put up framed note cards of her work everywhere. Fast Forward, I am sort of a minimalist, and I like clean bare walls, but when I took down the artwork, that left screw holes everywhere, and darkened teak behind the frames. So in some cases I used the original frame and screws, and put my taste in notecard/postcard/photo in the frame and re-screwed it back in place, and is some places used command strips to put up something new. So far - bashing into 25-30kts of headwind, all are staying put. I have quite a bit of wonderful (my opinion) artwork, but I put it into storage at my brother's house.

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    1. Our previous owner also used lots of screws. I didn't bother filling in the holes, but fortunately most of them are covered up by the picture frames I hung.

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  5. PS, I love the arrangement, and the idea of putting up photos of your travels. Your display looks wonderful!

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  6. Beautiful arrangement! I am not good at decorating, I have to be honest. I am, however, very good at cleaning and organizing! :)

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    1. Thanks Linda! I like organizing things, but cleaning isn't one of my favorite activities.

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  7. Looks great! Are the photos ones you've taken on your travels?
    And that is a very desirable trait in a compression post. (See, told you I thought you're a funny writer!)

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    1. They are all of our travels - my husband took them. And thanks for the compliment :-)

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  8. That looks great! I knew about the homely difference - it puzzled me greatly when I first came across it, probably a children's book talking about a homely girl. I didn't know about saloon / salon for the boat. To me, salon conjures up something exceptionally grand!

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    1. I know - salon does sound awfully grand, but then saloon sounds a bit odd too as it conjures up a bar in the Old Wild West to me.

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  9. I don't know what color your slipcovers really are, but the teal and the cheerful pillows look awesome! The wood walls are lovely, and now very homey since you put up the photos. Great job!

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    1. Thanks Lexz - the slipcovers are more green in color. I'm quite fond of my pillows. The print is a bit gaudy, but they make me smile :-)

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  10. Nice job with the decorating. I was just looking for something to hang our pictures so it's very serendipitous that you came up with the hanging strips on this blog.

    Keep up the mind reading.

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    1. The command strips seems like a good solution and I've seen a lot of cruisers say that they use them. Fingers crossed that they keep everything attached when things get bumpy.

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  11. Nice Ellen! Decorations of your own creations that bring back memories are the best! We had some of our photos in frames as well against the saloon wall on our boat. We used "real" velcro and it was a mess to clean the glue off the walls, when changing things around or before selling out boat. Canola oil on a cloth did wonders to clean and leave no stains, luckily! Enjoy the view. :-)

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    1. The previous owners used real velcro as well and it was a pain to take off.

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