If you're a wanderer, you probably have a number of items you've brought back from your travels. A trinket here, a rare antique there, a couple thousands of photographs thrown in, and pretty soon you have quite a collection. The question is how to use them. Display them wrong, and you can create a mess instead of a masterpiece. Follow these tips to best show off your wares.
Create a photo gallery
Nothing brings back the special moments like photos taken on a jaunt around the world or pieces of art you find along the way.
"Whether it's your own photography you choose to print and frame, or perhaps a piece of art by an artist you fell in love with while traveling, there's no better, and more visual way, to look back on your memories and showcase them in your home," said Dot&Bo.
Placing items together in one area turns it into a gallery—with meaning.
"Consider an art collage or designate a room or area (like your hallway) for displaying your artwork from your travels. This same tip can be used with family photos from your vacations," said Olamar Interiors. "Consider printing the photos at varying sizes and framing them in the same style frame and mat to create visual drama."
Keep it classy
Whenever possible, buy authentic items to display at home, not touristy replicas or tacky souvenirs. And when deciding how to showcase the items, err on judicious side. Vacation displays can quickly go awry if they don't meet the design standard you've already established for your home.
"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," said HGTV. "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."
Think big…and small
If you find an antique hutch that you can't live without while overseas…don't. Will it be a logistical nightmare getting it home? Probably. Will it be worth it? Certainly.
"This is one large souvenir," Design Sponge said of the 1800s hutch that photographer Aaron Delesie and his wife, Jennifer, brought back from a library in Venice, Italy and to serve "as storage for their dishes and glassware in their Santa Ana, CA kitchen."
Small items can also make a large impact, as proven by this old tin.
"New Yorker Louise Fili has traveled to flea markets all over Italy tracking down these lovely vintage tins," said Design Sponge. "This tin from Perugina is the perfect size to hold business cards and matchbooks from the restaurants for which she has designed logos."
A great option that travels easily is a textile.
"From ready-made throw pillows to gorgeous blankets and rugs, there's no shortage of ways to dress up your home in travel-found memories, and they pack easily, too," said Dot&Bo. "Feeling inspired by a foreign fabric? Bring it home and transform it into a seat cover or a set of curtains for a stylish and lasting way to remember your travels."
Bring in color
If you want to capture the feeling of a particular place but don't necessarily want to incorporate traditional décor items, turn to the color wheel.
"Typically, different regions of the world have their own color preferences and trends," said Olamar Interiors. "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. Or, consider a good quality wallpaper mural or painted mural reminiscent of your favorite spot."