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Summer is a season for travel. I’m not much of a go-on-vacation-to-relax kind of girl, but I do love exploring new places and taking in different cultures. Decorating my room to remind me of the places I’ve been is a fun way to keep those memories alive. Every time I see the mini Dutch shoe I bought in the Netherlands, I remember how wonderful it was to go there with my family. And I love that I can simply look at my shelf to spur those memories, rather than yanking out scrapbooks or browsing Facebook albums. (Although, who am I kidding? I definitely still do that, too!)

If you’ve gone somewhere incredible in the past or you’re heading on a new adventure this summer, consider translating your travels into decor. Whether you plan on completely revamping your home or just incorporating a few trinkets acquired on your journeys, here are 7 tips for creating a room inspired by memorable trips:

Travel Design Inspiration: Start With Souvenirs

Photo: Courtesy of Ore Studios

Start With Souvenirs
You may not have bought that magnificent hand-carved chair you saw in Morocco, but you did bring back a colorful vase. Good news: Small souvenirs are a great way to add global charm to your space without breaking the bank (or your back)! Simply placing your find on a bookshelf or coffee table will add some fun flair. But, if you’re feeling more ambitious, use the souvenir as inspiration to redesign an entire room. Pull some bold colors from the piece, like the orange on this vase, to use for accent pillows or a bright new wall color.

Travel Design Inspiration: Throw in a Textile

Photo: Courtesy of Thibaut

Throw in a Textile
Every country has a unique textile heritage, so while you’re traveling, keep an eye out for traditional fabrics! Whether you bring back a Moroccan wedding blanket, tribal rug, or French toile curtains, use them to transform a room. Like the beautiful French fabric in this space, a textile can be a lovely way to add a sense of your travels.

Travel Design Inspiration

Show Off a Collection
If you’re like me, you can’t help but bring back some sort of memento from every place you visit. At some point, those trinkets can start to feel more like clutter than keepsakes. One solution: create a tasteful display. Whether your souvenirs have the same origin or were gathered from around the world, a display is a fun way to show off your collection. Not to mention, it will spark fond memories every time you walk by!

Travel Design Inspiration
Make it Modern
A great way to incorporate vacation inspiration without making your room look too theme-y is to modernize. This Asian-inspired bathroom by Danenberg Design is a wonderful example. Rather than filling the room with ancient Japanese artifacts, it puts a modern spin on classic elements, like a stainless steel ceiling structure that represents bamboo. The room still gives off an Asian aesthetic, but feels much more fresh and contemporary.

Travel Design Inspiration

Keep it Classy
Design themes based on a destination can easily take a cheesy turn if you’re not careful. Add one too many shells to create a beach house look and suddenly you’ve gone overboard into a sea of bad design. Whisper your theme, don’t scream it. Display a simple conch shell on your fireplace or place a sea-glass vase on a side table.  You want to create a room that reminds you of vacation, not one that makes you feel seasick.

Travel Design Inspiration

Image courtesy of Fiona Douglas

Mix and Match
If you’ve been lucky enough to travel to many places in your life, don’t be afraid to mix and match design inspiration! The couch and throw pillows in this room are covered in modern Scottish textiles while the curtains are made from a genuine ikat from Uzbekistan. Pull different cultural elements together using a common color, like the bold blue in this space. The final product will be a lovely eclectic blend of your adventures.

Picture Perfect
Of course, the most obvious way to remember your vacation is with pictures. Rather than the traditional framed photo option, why not try something a little more original like this Instagram map? Hang a map of a place you visited and pin pictures (Instagram or otherwise) to the location where they were taken. This is a striking way to display your memories and it’ll leave you eager to create more.

Where are your travel plans taking you this summer?

10 Responses

  1. DBCoop says:

    In my book, any season is a good time for travel! Since my home decor is eclectic, it's easy to add in favorite pieces I've brought home from my travels.

    Most importantly, go big and bold — push the budget — and bring home more than the usual handful of inexpensive souvenirs. You'll be proud to display your travel treasures and appreciate the great memories that go with them.

  2. Mark F says:

    I love the outdoor living room/kitchen feel I experience in hawaii and those in spain. My next house will be centered on a covered outside area but sure it will be in the northeast or the southwest. I love the outdoors.

  3. Sonja says:

    Nothing brings more personal warmth to a home than reminders of wonderful experiences . Thank you for this great little article with added ideas!

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