Nautical home decor is perfect if you've always wanted to live in a beach cottage but you're still stuck in the city. It can also work for a kids' room or nursery. Here are some tips for buying nautical home decor that won't be so in your face that your friends will always be making pirate jokes about your decorating style.

Don't underestimate the impact these items have. It's easy to put up some cheesy wallpaper and say you have a nautical room. You might just need one item in a room to really get your theme across. If it's the right piece it will have more impact than all of the seashell borders in the world. The great part about this is that it won't take a lot to transition your current room into this design style. You don't want your living room looking like a seafood restaurant.

Keep it elegant. Stay away from little cute lighthouse figurines that will just look like clutter. These are often too literal and will look cheap. Instead, try hanging a large faux anchor on one wall instead of the obligatory painting. This will become the focal point and statement of the room while still keeping things sleek and modern. It will be able to work with your existing design style. Decorate an office with a cool ship in a bottle.

Go with a star theme. This will be a lot different from the typical ships rope and shell room. You could put a gold telescope in one corner of the room. Create the look of a study by putting old maps on the wall and find a lamp that is also a globe.

Get your bookcases in on the act. Bookcases are great places to showcase smaller items. If you don't have bookcases you could always try floating shelves although these can only hold so much weight. Since the nautical theme is popular you can find oversized silver plated book ends that look like seashells for elegant sparkle to this design style. You could also showcase an ornate ship captain's compass.

Have a sense of humor about it. This style doesn't have to be cutesy but it can still have a whimsical look to it. You could use an old trunk for a coffee table that could mimic a pirate's chest. If your theme is more subtle it will be like your own inside joke. Plus, you'll be able to put your feet up on it unlike you would with a traditional glass coffee table.

Be really careful about the artwork you choose for this room. Hand painted lighthouses or watercolors might just be too cliché or expected. Instead, find a way to bring in an ocean or water vibe that isn't cheesy or tacky. You could take your own photography of these items and then just blow it up over scale. You could also find a lot of modern art pieces that will help break up the theme but allow you to get all those great blues, greens and grays in your room.

Nautical home decor can be relaxing, elegant or fun. Just remember to choose items that will make a big impact so you can decorate on a budget. This also gives you the opportunity to create your own unique take on a theme for a custom look.