Nothing stinks more than coming home from a trip – especially in a place you might never be able to get to again – and regretting that hand-carved wooden bowl or hand-blown glass light you left behind. The truth is that you probably won’t miss the extra money you would have spent for the item you couldn’t take your eyes off of, but you’ll probably think about that great piece and wish you wouldn’t have let the price or the size or the fact that you didn’t have enough space in your suitcase scare you off. Go ahead, buy it! And buy the extra carry-on bag to transport it, for that matter. It’ll always remind you of your travels, and it’ll help shape your home décor, too.
“Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a dreamer with a bucket list of destinations still yet to be explored, what better way to express your love for adventure than through your own home,” said Ordinary Traveler.
Here are some tips for getting travel décor right.
Avoid traditional souvenirs
Don’t get us wrong. We loooove us some tourist-trap souvenir shops. But sophisticated decor requires sophisticated stuff. And that means bypassing the magnets and snow globes – at least in the public spaces of your home.
Put your photography skills to the test and create memorable wall decor that will bring a smile to your face for a lifetime. These days, you don’t even need a professional camera to create brilliant photos with a high enough resolution to be enlarged to the size you want. An iPhone 8+ or X will do. These tips will help you to get the kind of shots you want to showcase on your walls.
Using maps to identify places you’ve traveled (or places you want to!) is an easy way to create inspired décor. Murals Wallpaper has dozens of variations of map wallpaper. “Another great idea is to create an elegant wall display using antique maps of places you have traveled,” said Olamar Interiors. “Talk about a conversation piece. It’s a very sophisticated way to add whimsy and interest and personal style to your decor.”
You want your décor to look put together but not haphazard, and collected over time for an eclectic feel. The trick is to add in a few pieces instead of jamming up a space with all thing Africa or Asia. “Our #1 tip for adding in those unusual global pieces is to mix them in sparingly among your current décor,” said World Market, a store known for their global-inspired décor. “Don’t be afraid to mismatch the styles and have some creative fun – but at the same time, don’t go too crazy with the new pieces. You don’t want to overwhelm the style you’ve already established.”
Look for textiles
“Buying fabrics is a good option,” said Conestoga Mall. “First, they won’t weigh down your suitcase. Second, they’re an original way to personalize a cushion or create a made-to-measure tablecloth that your dinner guests will admire!”
Remember your color scheme
One of the tricks to incorporating items you find while traveling into your existing decor is to remember your already-established color scheme. You don’t want to bring something home that will clash with everything you already have.
But…don’t be afraid to go all in on color
“Consider incorporating the popular colors from your favorite destination into your décor,” said Olamar Interiors. “Typically, different regions of the world have their own color preferences and trends. Tropical locations usually use bolder patterns or pastels as their main decorating colors. Or you can take a more natural approach and focus on the colors of the ocean or the sky into your décor. You can incorporate the colors of your preferred place into the paint, fabric and accent color selections you make for your home.”
Figure out what the country or city you’re in is known for and then focus on that. For instance, among many other things, Morocco is known for its Berber rugs. The hand-crafting of these items is one of the reasons they are so special and so revered. In many areas, you can also build an interesting side trip into your shopping adventure. Seeing the rugs be made by hand will further add to the experience of having one in your home, and will far outweigh the hassle of checking a rug at the airport! Business Insider has a great list of what to buy in a variety of different countries, including traditional Venetian masks in Venice, Italy and ceramic tiles in Portugal.
Go where the locals go
In Florence, Italy, you can buy beautiful leather goods all over the city in stores and kiosks, but they cater to a heavy tourist crowd. Ask around to find the more authentic spots. It might be off the beaten path, but that’s also part of the adventure.