Decorating with Faux Tortoise Shells

One of the items from Nate Berkus’ fall collection for Target that I’m most excited about is the lacquer tortoise wall accessory that will be available in green, cream, and yellow.

Apparently, Nate’s inspiration for the lacquered tortoise shells came from a tortoise shell in his childhood home that his parents had found on their honeymoon in Mexico. He has since used a vintage version in his own homes, including his Chicago apartment where it appeared as part of an art grouping above his sofa:

{Elle Decor}

One of the most well known examples of using tortoise shells in decorating is Kelly Wearstler’s use of hundreds of resin shells to line the walls of La Marea Restaurant at The Tides South Beach:

{Kelly Wearstler}

The variety in sizes, textures, colors, and patterns creates a stunning display:


There are many ways to incorporate these unique decorative elements into your home: a few smaller ones can be grouped together as wall art

{Urban Grace Interiors}

or one larger shell can be hung alone as a statement piece:

{Windsor Smith}
{Cote de Texas}

Tortoise shells also look fantastic as part of a larger grouping of wall art,

{Ben Pentreath}

displayed on stands,

{Antony Todd}

or in an unexpected spot, such as this tortoise shell that rests on an antique director’s chair: 

{Country Living}

I love the typical brown tortoise shell color but also love the more subtle sophistication of white:

{William Waldron Photography}

Resin turtle shells are also made in more vibrant colors such as this striking green patterned shell:

{Karen Robertson}

If you like the beauty of tortoise shells and are thinking about using them to decorate your own home, please buy faux shells! If you must have a genuine shell, make sure you are buying from a reliable source with certainty that the shell was naturally shed with no turtle having been harmed to obtain it.  There is really no reason to buy genuine turtle shells when there are so many stunning faux replicas out there! Here’s a few sources:

Neiman Marcus’ Gator Turtle Shell Wall Decor:

West Elm’s Paper-Mache Tortoise Shell (one of the least expensive options I’ve found!):

Jonathan Adler’s  Tortoise Lamps with translucent porcelain shells:

Bellacor’s Resin Tortoise Shells (update: no longer available):


And, of course, Nate Berkus’ Lacquered Tortoise Wall Accessories that will sell for $39.99 each:

Hope you all have a great weekend and are able to get your hands on any Nate Berkus items you’ve been eyeing!


  1. Anonymous says

    Typical Target nonsense. Saw the Nate Berkus resin Turtle shell in Country Living Magazine. Dec/Jan issue. NEED this for a beach house project. No where to be found . . . frustrating beyond words!!

  2. Anonymous says

    Well clearly I am late to the game and cannot find any of these – Berkus or otherwise- available on any site. Any new sources??

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