Ship's wheels are iconic. They pervade every bit of nautical lore and history by providing an instantly unmistakable look. As such, they are a favorite centerpiece for nautically styled homes. When supported effectively by smaller nautical accents, ship's wheels become more than just a decoration on the wall, they become a piece everyone admires. Just as the case with porthole shop inspirations, any additional decorations around the ship's wheel should be minimal and avoid clutter. Unlike with porthole shops, these typically don’t do well in pairs or triplets but rather as a solo attraction with other accents to provide supporting details. Too often a ships wheel is left to stand by itself but without supporting details it doesn’t have the same pizzaz. To avoid that look try adding supporting nautical accents that provide detail without overshadowing the effect.
The following are examples to inspire decorating an area with a ship's wheel. The possibilities are endless. Start by deciding on the style, such as a ship’s wheel with brass ring or a ship’s wheel without. Sizes start from 12” all the way up to 60”.
Use Maps Alongside a Ship's Wheel
This example displays several maps around the ship’s wheel, which add to the nautical theme. Consider using nautical wood maps which have superior detail as they were created with the help of a professional cartographer. We also offer nautical burlap prints and a old map of Nantucket, which work well as complementary items. The smaller frames might be easier to use such as San Francisco and Bay Area, Martha’s Vineyard, or Nantucket Island.
Smaller Decorations on Shelf Beside Ships Wheel
This is probably the easiest way to achieve the desired effect. It is easier to find items and place them on a shelf than it is to place the right items to hang around a wheel. The beauty of using shelves is the items can be swapped out to “freshen up” the look. Keep in mind that some like the first example may be a bit busier than the ideal. Some examples of items to use on a shelf beside a ship's wheel include a compass, masthead oil lamp, or a sextant.
Another option is to flip this and have a map and other items as a focal point and a smaller 12" ship's wheel as a supporting detail as shown here:
Ship's Wheel as Focal Point
Of course, you could also use a ship’s wheel as a focal point with supporting elements in other areas of the room or on a separate wall. This works for some who really want to showcase a large ships wheel, like the 60” wheel, above something like a fireplace. This makes sense since balancing out such a large piece can be tricky otherwise. Some supporting pieces to consider placing on other walls in the same room are artwork, nautical clocks, or porthole shops.
Another possibility is using a large ship's wheel outdoors. Over time you can get a nice natural weathered look as shown here:
There are endless other possible configurations depending upon the area and supporting elements. If you already have other elements to complement a ship's wheel but need just a few additional items try using a Nickel Ship's Wheel Clock or Polished Brass Ship's Wheel Bell (there is nickel as well) or any other nautical accents. After you get what you like together send us a note via Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, or email and share what you have done! We love to highlight what others do such as with a customer's nautical nursery.