Global Inspiration – The Well-Traveled Home

by Rachel Laurendeau on September 14, 2012

If you’ve done any amount of traveling, chances are that you have accumulated plenty of keepsakes from your travels. My husband and I have both traveled extensively and now have loads of photos, art and random mementos that we want to find a way to display. The problem is, how do you create a cohesive look when you have pottery from Ireland, Aboriginal paintings from Australia, Mayan sculptures, nature photography from the Galapagos and textiles from Guatemala and Thailand?

Subtlety, not a theme suite
When using global inspiration to decorate your home, the theme does not need to be taken literally. In fact, if you exaggerate, your home will quickly start to look like a travel agent’s office or as though you’ve been to too many rummage sales, and that’s the last thing you want!

If you have decided to create a well-traveled or global inspired look and feel in your home, you will want to start by deciding how far you want to take this theme and if you want it to be very literal or a bit more understated. You’ll also want to decide if this is an overall style for your home, if it will be restricted to certain areas or if you will subtly infuse it wherever you feel inspired to do so.

• You can have one room, one wall or one shelf dedicated to objects from your travels. Memory boxes are great ways of putting together a few keepsakes and displaying them.

• Rather than cluttering your home with lots of kitsch, you can start by painting the walls in colors that remind you of the places you’ve visited. Perhaps the sandy dunes of the Outback or the sunsets of Maui or the spice markets of Asia will be your jumping off point.

• Another subtle way to add the feel of a certain place would be to use houseplants that invoke a sense of place like bamboo for Japan or palms for the Caribbean.

• Was there one thing about a certain place that struck you and that you would like to recreate? On my trip to Morocco, I was in awe of the doorways, their arches and their color. Now, while I can’t change the shape of my front door, I can add a beautiful knocker, use tiles for the house number and am planning on painting it either blue or yellow over the coming months.

• If you have collected textiles such as weavings, rugs or bedding think about ways to repurpose them. A small rug can be hung on the wall as a tapestry, weavings can be made into covers for throw pillows and saris or bedding can be sewn into curtains.

Photos –probably the easiest to address with so many options for photos these days.
• In this day of digital photographs, make sure that your photos are backed up so you don’t lose them if your computer crashes. Also, it’s great to have all of those photos on the computer but they aren’t much good if you never look through them or print any of them out.
• Make a coffee table photo book of your travels. This can be done quite easily online over an evening or two.
• Buy a digital photo frame, make a slideshow of your favorite pics and let them roll throughout the day.
• Choose one wall and make it your travel photo wall. Pictures can be grouped by region, traveler or chronologically.
• Choose a few of your all-time favorite photos, have them blown up and framed, or printed on canvas and use them as art pieces anywhere in your home. You can even have your favorite photograph turned into a wallpaper mural!

Using globally inspired colors and décor will instantly fill your home with international flair and using items that are meaningful to you will give it even more character. This is a home improvement project that has me thinking and itchy to get going!

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