The change of season is a great time to breathe new life into your home’s design. What better way to update the personal touches around your living space than with travel-inspired souvenirs and mementos from your summer travels? Whether you have a box of collected items from cities around the world, old memories saved on the camera roll, or a shell from your favorite beach, we’ve got eight tips on how to best incorporate your favorite travels into everyday home design.
1. Beach House Decor
Many of us long for extra days with our toes in the sand, enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of the ocean. Summer is the perfect time to incorporate coastal decorating ideas with aquatic designs, colors, and collectibles. Whether you’re living on a beachfront property or in an urban complex, the coastal style is perfectly on theme with American summer travel trends.
Crafting coastal style centerpieces for the dining room, living room, and bathroom can be a beautiful way to use sand, shells, starfish, sand dollars, and other natural finds from your coastal getaways.
In the dining room, create beach designs with centerpieces using a common household tray or a large, shallow glass bowl. Place a layer of sand in the bottom to add depth, and layer in smaller shells with larger items like sand dollars, starfish, and tulip shells on top. Similarly, you can use any remaining beach finds to dress up your mantel or bathroom counter with a DIY creation.
For a more permanent fixture to pair with seaside arrangements, upgrade your floor to luxury vinyl tile or planks. Texturized vinyl floors closely resemble natural wood and provide waterproof features for sandy, beach-like wood aesthetics in living and dining areas. Complement dining room tables and wood-look floors with textiles that use ocean-inspired blues and sand-like neutrals, such as area rugs and table runners.
2. Wall Art
Design by Michelle Berwick | Photography by Larry Arnal
Hanging unique travel art and destination photography is one of the easiest ways to incorporate vacation memories into the home. From postcards and Polaroids to wall art and maps, there are many design options to show off your favorite places.
Tip: For a vintage aesthetic, a beautiful way to make a statement is to hang small Polaroids from string or yarn, like a clothesline. Attach the string safely to your wall and incorporate hanging lights for added effect. This trend has made its way from college dorms to urban flats and has become popular in contemporary home design.
For those who prefer a more traditional route, frame and hang any destination artwork, postcards, or personal photos that you’ve taken from your trip.
3. Travel Maps
A thoughtful way to visually represent multiple trips in one design, travel maps are an increasingly popular trend across generations. Local and global maps displayed throughout your home are a fantastic way to showcase destinations you’ve visited. Purchase a personalized global map and add pins to wherever you’ve been in the world. Alternatively, “scratch maps” can be found in most souvenir stores, offering affordability and beauty when framed. Browse DIY shopping sites to find specialty maps with wood frames for tasteful charm. This popular form of wall art adds the perfect touch to a home office, study, or library. Plus, it might even inspire future vacation ideas for your next summer break!
4. Exotic Aromas
Design by Diana Rose | Photography by Mike Chajecki
When people think of the many ways to complement their existing interior design, aromas and spices aren’t typically the first things that come to mind. Culinary travel is a popular form of tourism that allows us to dive deeper into the food, beverages, and other gastronomic delights that different regions and cultures have to offer. Think about the various foodie items that you’ve brought home that could enliven your kitchen or dining space: ground coffee from Costa Rica, spiced chai from bustling London, mulling spices from a Bavarian village—even a hand-poured candle from a restaurateur. These common items are fabulous examples of souvenirs that we can display, smell, and oftentimes consume from our travels.
Tip: For an organic look, easily display your spices, teas, and coffees in decorative mason jars or a spice rack with vials.
5. Textiles and Pillows
Paxton in Taupe by Nourison
Just because the warmer weather has arrived doesn’t mean you have to stow away your cozy blankets for the season. Dress up your home with textiles, blankets, and pillows from your favorite summer vacation to incorporate local designs from other regions, countries, and continents. Highly texturized blankets and eye-popping decorative pillows are a great way to complement neutral furnishings and wall colors. Draping your blanket over a corner of your couch is a stylish way to show off a splash of color even if the summer heat is enough to keep you warm. Textiles such as area rugs and window treatments are always an easy way to bring your favorite memories into the home. Handwoven area rugs can nicely complement smaller spaces like entryways and hallways, incorporating regional artistry into specific parts of your home.
Many travelers find their carry-ons brimming with books and magazines for an enjoyable beach read during their stay. If you find yourself returning home with more books than you left with, easily organize travel reads into a neat display. Travel novels, destination guides, and regional cookbooks are all great examples of books that look great in the kitchen, on your coffee table, or front and center on a bookshelf. Stacking a few travel books on your coffee table may sound too easy to count as design. But topping your stack with a photo, a candle, or an artistic book weight can easily transform a pile of books into a scenic display.
Tip: For a truly foodie kitchen, organize your destination cookbooks in a designated section, such as a small nook, a shelf, or even a corner of your kitchen countertop. Arranging cookware, spices, and jars of olive oil around your cookbooks will give the display an immersive feeling of belonging in your kitchen.
If you already have a large bookshelf dedicated to literature, consider creating a small section with travel-themed works. Including tiny souvenirs around these books will pull together a complete travel section of your house while providing a space for small knickknacks like magnets, pins, shot glasses, and snow globes.
7. Handmade Art
From clay-sculpted vases to ceramic bowls and even glass-blown objects, there are numerous ways to incorporate handmade artistry from your travels into your home. Embracing handmade souvenirs is a way to support local businesses while adding design elements that are 100 percent unique and original. Ceramics and pottery from around the world can be placed by the hearth or an entertainment center for depth, character, and a splash of color. Incorporating clay-crafted vases and pots with faux or natural greenery is not only a stunning way to display your souvenirs but also adds natural, earthy tones to your home. Many handmade crafts such as wind chimes, birdhouses, and lanterns can also complement outdoor spaces like a screened lanai or patio area.
Design by Hibou Design + Co | Photography by Drew Hadley
If you’re considering larger home renovations or drafting the blueprints for a brand-new home, seize the opportunity to incorporate resort features and craft your own personal oasis. Turn your master bathroom into a home spa with a detached Japanese tub. This luxurious bathroom commodity is all about inner reflection, meditation, and a seamless blend of nature and home through modern and unusual architecture. Including slate or granite bath tile, ferns, bamboo, and other forms of greenery and natural light will put the finishing touches on a truly Zen bathroom spa experience. If your master bathroom is on the ground level, this presents a perfect opportunity to include a sliding glass door to easily view and access your outdoor space.
When planning exterior elements for an at-home paradise, consider your favorite hobbies and activities. Building an outdoor firepit securely with brick masonry and large wooden lawn chairs gives the appearance of stylish, intentional planning as opposed to beach chairs surrounding a transportable fire pit. If your home includes an in-ground pool, add some old-world charm with a stone waterfall inspired by renaissance water fountains from Italian cityscapes. The inclusion of a waterfall pleases the senses visually and audibly with the continuous white noise of flowing water.