How to Make Faux Coral {Inspired by Pottery Barn}

A few months ago, my friend Marianne tweeted that she was looking for some faux coral (like the Pottery Barn pretties below) and couldn’t find any where she lives in the Netherlands.  I guess the Dutch aren’t into faux coral.  Go figure.  I was trying to help her out with U.S. craft sites that sell it on-the-cheap ( is a good resource) when someone tweeted that she should look for some at an aquarium store.  Brilliant!
I took their advice and with a little spray paint came up with this!
Below is what my coral looked like before it was attacked with a can of Rustoleum Gloss White.  I found all four of my coral accessories in the pet section at Walmart.  Yep…Walmart!  Don’t hate.  
In my entryway, I have an antique armoire that was my husband’s grandparents.  I love it and decided to decorate the inside with my pretty coral.

Doesn’t it look cute?  The book pages taped to the back are from a book hubs found from a discard pile at a college library.  He knows the way to my heart!  The starfish and sand dollars were bought a few years ago at a store called the Christmas Tree Shop.

I made the little chalkboard signs ages and ages ago but use them for everything!  Click here for a tutorial on how to make yours. 2011 is obviously the year right now but it is also our house number.

 And because I couldn’t resist playing around with my coral some more, here it is on my coffee table.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that it is almost May and that consistent warm weather will be here once again!  (Be a dear and don’t remind me that I said that when I’m whining about 90*+ weather mmmmkay?)

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  1. Designs By Pinky says

    OMGoodness, thank you! Walmart pet section….who would have guessed!!!! I am off to Walmart tomorrow. I decided as soon as I got my PB catalog that I was going to recreate this look too! XO, Pinky

  2. Brooke says

    Awesome! What a great idea! I walk through the aquarium section at Walmart almost every time I'm there because my youngest loves to visit the fish. It never occured to me that those wildly-colored tank decorations could be turned into something so chic! Love it!

  3. Michell @ Girl In Air says

    Oh LOVE it!! I knew the minute I seen it…Wal-mart pet section…I have to take the boy to see the fish every time we are in Wal-mart…Now I will be more excited than he is to hit the pet department:-0


  4. marty (A Stroll Thru Life) says

    Now how clever is that. I love it. I would have never thought to look at the pet section. Hugs, Marty

  5. Rachelle says

    Ah, looks so good! And, I'm with you on the weather, except it's Michigan, so today it was 70, then rained, then sun shined and hailed then stopped hailing to have gorgeous skies but tornado sirens.

    Gah! But the coral makes me happy. :)

  6. Annesphamily says

    Hi Beth! It has been a long time. I came over one day last week and the blogger would not let me leave a comment! Double Drat! I do look this look especially for the summer. You are one crafty and talented gal. Hugs to you! Anne

  7. Krista@TheGatheringPlaceDesign says

    Good thinking! Your display looks so nice and your couch and coffee table pic looks like a pic out of a magazine:)

  8. Jemsmom says

    GET OUT OF TOWN!!!!! I would have never thought of that and I have been craving all this lovely coral!!!! The last PB had me drooling! You are a Goddess!!!!!

  9. Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage says

    Wal mart — seriously!! You are awesome!! More than awesome! Brilliant! Can I be like you?? 😉

  10. Madigan at madiganmade says

    This is genius! I love painting stuff white & who knew even pet supplies would look cute painted? :)

  11. Blondie's Journal says

    What a great idea! I am trying to give my house at the lake a more beachy look and ran out of ideas after starfish and sand dollars!! Walmart, here I come! Thanks, Beth!


  12. Judy says

    Yours looks just as good if not better than PB, I would never have thought to buy coral in the pet dept. of WM but guess where I'm going on my lunch hour tomorrow?


  13. Yolanda @ Miss Refashionista says

    I would've never thought to do this and I have been wanting one of those for a while now!!!

    I'm so going to walmart tomorrow!! 😉

    Thanks for sharing, no really, thank you!! 😉

  14. Kim @ Sand and Sisal says

    Very clever! I've been eyeing some at Home Goods for a while now, but now I'm thinking a road trip down to Wally world is in order. Looks beautiful.

  15. arkie says

    Lovely! What a great idea to get the look you want for so much less! Love how you placed the book pages in the background! Did you use them on the lampshade also?

  16. Erin Zacharda says

    FABULOUS idea! I am totally bookmarking this project and doing it SOON!
    You are just so clever…thanks for sharing this :)

  17. this blessed nest says

    another reason why i heart twitter. people who aren't on twitter are missing out, i tell ya!

    beth, this looks fabulous! seriously fab. you go girl.

  18. kelly says

    those look fabulous and probably much cheaper! i have seen some nice faux coral at bedbathandbeyond.
    love the setting in the armoire!!

  19. Vivienne @ the V Spot says

    Is it exhausting to be that clever? Please lie to me and tell me it's hard work, OK? I am kicking myself for paying a pretty hefty price for a piece of FAUX coral last summer. grrr.

  20. sunshinequeen says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE…Ok not only do I love the idea of thrift and stylish decor you spiked my curiosity even more. Would you mind sending me a picture of your antique armoire? I have armoire lust and can't find what I'm looking for so the handy hubs is thinking about building one. Love a little inspiration. Thanks


  21. Marianne@Songbird says

    I have actually been looking for faux coral to makeover for some weeks now. Ever since I tweeted you. Haven't found any. All the regular fish shops are for sweet water aquariums and they don't sell coral because that's from the sea. They sell buses and houses to put in your aquarium but not coral. Go figure.
    I did score some beautiful real coral at a flea market though. The only real coral I would buy anyway (don't want to harm the coral reefs by stimulating people to harvest and sell it).
    So I am really not complaining, but I could use some more coral, to make a pretty vignette like yours. So the hunt continues…

  22. Susan @ says

    I love, love, love all the coastal decorations you have! Everything looks so beautiful! I love that you spray painted the coral… I'm copying that one!
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful home!

  23. says

    You are not only beautiful, you are brilliant! Bravo for this better than original knock off idea!

    Your Friend,

  24. Cheryl says

    What a great idea! Yours look fabulous! (and I bet your version costs hundreds of dollars less!) You are so creative!! I love it!!

  25. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says

    Gorgeous, Beth! I love how it turned out. Great, great idea, but then you always have those. So, is Wally World's coral fake or real? Looks real to me?? Your display is so pretty!

  26. melissa * 320 Sycamore says

    LOVE you for this post..I was just thinking the other day that I need to find me some fresh white coral for the bathroom and was wondering where to look and you found a perfect solution for me :) Thank you, girl!

  27. Grace says

    Ooh, great idea! Love your coral! Oh, and today our high is supposed to be 95 degrees! Crazy! 😉

    Blessings, Grace

  28. michelle says

    Oh my GOSH I want to hug you right now!!! :) This is the best idea! I am so going to Walmart today. Thank you thank you!!!!

  29. Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea says

    OMG-thanks so much for this fabulous idea. I have been drooling over this PB display for a while now. I need to go to Walmart anyways:) Your display is fantastic.

  30. kfredricksen says

    Brilliant. I too was looking for coral with no luck here in Wisconsin. But we do have Walmarts. Thanks for the idea.

  31. ⊰OCDesign⊱ says

    Like all other 50 ppl OMG! Thank you so much for doing the leg work for us all and showcasing your fab idea!!!! I was just thinking last night how I could make a mold to make one cheaper. Now if you can figure out where I can get a giant faux clam for super cheap that would be great!!! And dont worry, I pray for the heat too, then when it gets here and I start sweating I curse it.

  32. paris parfait says

    Brilliant idea! And I had to laugh when I read your comment about Walmart – "don't hate" – as I'll soon be visiting my parents in the US and my mom usually tries to drag me along to Walmart (and I refuse). :)

  33. Maya @ Completely Coastal says

    Lovely display and great idea! Don't shop at walmart though…, but might have to make an exception!

  34. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says

    Great idea Beth. These look great. What an easy way to get such great looking faux coral.

  35. Sue (Someone's Mom) says

    I have a lot of beach things in my house…even a piece of "real" white coral, but I wanted more and it isn't easy to come by here in Illinois. This is such a great idea…so glad you posted it!

  36. Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating says

    Simply brilliant! I think WalMart is going to have a difficult time keeping these in stock now. :)

  37. Melody says

    What a great idea! I love it. I have a few real pieces from the beach store but they are hard to dust, they grab onto the duster things. I wanted to ad more so this is great way to do it. And easier to clean. Plus PB's was too expensive for not being real. Thanks for posting.

  38. Pink Overalls @DIY Home Staging says

    Genius. I can't wait to try this. It's exactly the look I wanted. Nice job.

  39. Andrea@ourbluefrontdoor says

    Loved your idea, how creative! Went to the famous Walmart today and picked up one piece and only because they only had one left. I thought to myself, "really does EVERYONE know about this awesome idea, surely not." I spent $8.88 and already have the spray paint so can't wait to get to it.
    New follower, thank you again for sharing and inspiring me!

  40. vanilla bean says

    I know everyone has said it, but it's a great idea! I would have never thought of the pet section! I was completely inspired by the beach cottage my parents rented last weekend and have been pondering "beachy" ideas since Friday, so this is a perfect fit! I'm off to Wal-Mart!

  41. Kathy@mishmashmom says

    I have been kicking myself ever since I passed these up at TJ Maxx! Your idea is genious, and I will soon be visiting a pet store near me!

  42. mollie's mom says

  43. feelincrafty says

    Beuatiful display! Great idea. thanks for sharing. about ot head ot our beach house next week and this a great beach house project! :)

  44. bev says

    This is an awesome idea…and who would have thought of Wal-Mart pet department? Must less costly. Thanks for the idea it is quite lovely.

  45. Kari says

    This is brilliant! It's all I can do not to go wake up my sleeping baby to drive to wal-mart right now!!!

  46. vanilla bean says

    You were right! It looks so great on my coffee table! I have plans to do a couple more for my master bedroom! I posted a pic of it today if ur interested to see how it turned out! Again, great idea! Now I can finally get my beachy theme going! I also found bags of all white shells in the same pet section, so I'm hoping to do a frame or mirror that will go along with the coral! Thanks!

  47. Jessica @ O. Alouette says

    What a stinkin awesome idea!! I can't to go to Wal-Mart and get some fake coral so I can try this out. I was just at PB today admiring all the coral but hating the price tag. This is a great solution!

  48. Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys says

    Genius, Beth! The brown and white display of the coral and all of the sea treasures is just gorgeous!

    Btw, great find from the hubs. The font on the book is very cool.

  49. Lynn says

    I've been looking for beach theme decor for my daughter's wedding in August and wanted to use faux coral in the table centerpieces! This idea is fantastic and affordable! Thanks!

  50. says

    Oh, Beth! You have once again made my day! I redid my mantle this weekend and used my coral, but need a few more pieces…Guess where I am headed as soon as I get dressed? Thanks a million!

  51. judi says

    Check out Big Lots for faux coral – they have a coastal theme decor section – and it’s on sale now – and has lots of shells and several pieces of the coral.

  52. Anne Gooch says

    Thank you for doing this!!! I am going to be painting my master bedroom and bathroom in the same color blue in the next few months and I was wanting to do something in the bathroom with a beach theme. I have been looking at PB and of course they are so high and I would have never thought of getting stuff from Walmart. Thanks again because I will be using your idea :)

  53. Kristy says

    GENIUS!! Some times the obvious is hidden in plain site! (the pet dept! Seriously!? I’ve hit TJ MAXX a dozen times looking for more coral!!)
    Beth = smart and savvy
    Kristy = eh, not so smart and savvy… Haha!
    Awesome job! Lovin your blog!

  54. says

    I’m constantly amazed how many things we can accomplish with spray paint. I love saw this idea in PB and wanted to use it but of course coral is soooo expensive. Thank you for posting this awesome idea! I have a white and peacock blue thing going on and now I can finally add some cool coral. yay! Hopefully I can post the results and trackback here.

  55. says

    Who doesn’t love Walmart?!!!
    Thanks for this awesome idea i love beach and making this inspiration design at home will make me feel a little bit near to nature… walmart i’m coming soon!

  56. says

    Hi… My mouth dropped and I am so excited about going to wal-mart!! I may have come across this post late but at least now wal-mart had a chance to re-stock after everyone else ran there last year!! LOL
    Simple things are always the ones I smack myself on the side of head ~whack~ why didn’t I think of this!!
    thank you very much!

  57. says

    BBB Brilliant! I Loved reading this post! I would of never thought of doing this but that’s why we have DIY bloggers like you to think of it for us, laughing… Thanks so much, I love your blog and think you are very talented!

  58. Emma says

    AAARGGHH wallmart…here from Holland as well, I tried finding this kind of coral, it’s 40 euro’s for a ‘big piece’ as big as a head.
    Which is like 45 dollars btw.


  1. […] Beth from Home Stories A to Z gave Wal-mart aquarium coral a once over with some spray paint to create these little pretties for her entryway. I love it when a simple coat of paint can turn something ordinary (and neon and rather tacky) into a decorative piece worthy of a designer catalog. The crisp white corals are the perfect pieces for this sea-life inspired vignette. […]

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