Most of us like to bring home souvenirs from our overseas (and local!) trips. These mementos remind us of the distances we have journeyed and our travel experiences. Displaying them will instantly add interest and personality to our homes. Not to mention, it will be a conversation starter when entertaining guests.
Unfortunately, incorporating these treasures in our interior design is a challenge. If we don’t, these holiday finds, no matter how beautiful and tasteful they are, become clutter. And, we all hate it when that happens.
There are numerous ways to keep your kitsch finds or cultural artifacts on display without looking like a hoarder. Want an adventurous decor? Take inspiration from these ideas:
1. Personalize a Bohemian wall feature
Look at these handwoven tribal baskets from Pakistan that are hung vertically so you can appreciate its beautiful patterns. It pairs well with this macrame wall hanging. Try it if you like the Bohemian interior design.
2. Cover a wall with tribal masks
Showcase your small mask collection through hanging them on your wall. Cluster items together so you can display a large number of them without making the room look heavy or cluttered. You can let them occupy an entire wall or just a portion of it.
(Source: Apartment Therapy via Pinterest)
(Source: Esther Hershcovich via Houzz)
3. Tell your favorite destination using pillows
Pillowcases and other soft furnishings from the places you’ve traveled are no-fuss souvenirs to take home with you. The ones made from local fabric are cool and brilliant additions to your living room and bedroom. Consider patriotic flag pillow covers too.
(Source: PB Teen via Pinterest)
4. Display mementos in open shelves
Put all the beautiful and small pieces that you’ve picked up from one country and another on an open shelf. It’ll give your room a chic and eclectic vibe. For best results, curate your collection. Let it tell a story that describes you and your adventure. You’ll spend a lot of time styling to create a visually interesting shelf, but it’ll be worth it!
(Source: Victoria Smith, San Francisco Girl by Bay via Pinterest)
5. Frame vintage maps
Displaying maps are like callbacks to places you’ve been and you’ve loved. It’s lightweight and easy to pack, therefore it’s the best souvenir for a frequent flyer. Displaying it is so simple yet it’s so cool. For example, this framed map above the bed is the perfect finishing touch in this bedroom. It gave the room a touch of worldly coolness.
(Source: The Painted Hive via Pinterest)
6. Organize a picture gallery
Pictures are frozen memories. Apart from uploading your travel photos on social media, consider printing, framing, and displaying them at home. You can present it in any way that you like but we find these greyscale photos in identical frames fascinating.
(Source: My Lovely Things via Pinterest)
7. Build a magnet wall
If you’re a sucker for magnets but don’t want to stick it on the refrigerator, consider a magnet wall. This magnet wall in the kitchen is a great idea for travelers who like to personalize their keepsakes from their adventures. Also, it gave a vacant corner a purpose!
(Source: Laura Bohn Design Associates via Houzz)
8. Display themed souvenirs in repurposed storage
For those who like collecting unique sea treasures that washed up onto the beach or other small travel trinkets, consider this cubby for storage. You can mount it on the wall and showcase your knick knacks. Old pigeonholes and spice racks are great substitutes for this cubby storage too.
9. Group replicas
Mixing up replicas of your favorite wonder of the world, like what this designer did to a bunch of Eiffel towers. You can use these little models as a paperweight or as bookends, depending on their size. Cluster them on the shelf where they’ll look good together.
(Source: House Beautiful via Pinterest)
10. Make it your theme
Make your souvenirs your overall style inspiration like the featured home below. The homeowner’s collection of African masks on the wall is paired with horn sconces, rustic table, tribal dining chairs, and a vintage rug.
(Source: Elle Decor)
11. Use it to adorn your entry
Your home’s entryway is your transit from the busy outside world to the comfort of your home. It’s also the first area you and your visitors see when they come to visit. If you want to make a good impression as a traveler, use your holiday souvenirs to decorate this spot. Take this home with a Balinese-style entry. There’s a mix of exotic and tribal decor with tropical plants in woven baskets framing the front door.
(Source: Will Horner via Pinterest)
12. Decorate a coffee table
You don’t have to dedicate a whole wall, an entire shelf, or an area for your souvenir. Sometimes, clustered pieces on small areas (like tabletops) will do the trick. These Japanese sake cups on a red plate adorn this coffee table and serve as a simple decor. It’s a portable feature too — you can transfer it from one area to another, depending on where you think it’s needed. .
(Source: Audrey Brandt Interiors via Houzz)
13. Make an eclectic exhibit
When you’re more of a traveler than a bookworm, store all your travel keepsakes in your built-in bookshelves at home. Don’t worry about having a theme or curating your collections. Let each item speak for itself.
(Source: The Schnicke Company via Houzz)
14. Customize your joinery
Another option would be customizing your shelves to showcase your treasures from around the globe. Consider this when you’re tired of using ordinary shelves and cabinets (and when you have the extra cash for carpenters too!)
(Source: thecluelessgirl.com via Pinterest)
(Source: Shea Studio Interiors, Inc via Houzz)
15. Display a few items elegantly
You don’t need a grand collection of souvenirs for display. Sometimes, less is more. Here, you’ll find a few African artifacts such as Ethiopian stools, Ashanti stools, distressed frames, and Makenge baskets. On the next photo, you’ll find fewer items displayed on a floating shelf. In both displays, the downlights provided warmth and drew the eye to the points of interest in a subtle manner.
(Source: toguna.co.za via Pinterest)
(Source: DIN Interiorismo via Houzz)
16. Showcase fabrics as wall art
Hanging a traditional dress or costume stirs up the tourist in most of us. You can also display different cuts of fabric and cultural stylings (like Obi) as wall art. Just make sure to clean them frequently for dust accumulates quickly in these displays!
(Source: feedly.com via Pinterest)
17. Frame the textiles
Or, if you want to avoid the hassle of cleaning, store your fabric decor behind glass. Get your exquisite array of textiles professionally framed to make sure it lasts the test of time. Here, the homeowner framed her collection of vintage silk scarves from her travels.
(Source: saragaranty.com via Pinterest)
18. Create a coveted corner
If you’re a sucker for postcards or Polaroid photographs of your travels, consider an eye-catching DIY display! Channel your inner art angel and use crafty materials like frames of fairy lights, like the one below:
19. Flaunt your collection of miniatures
Miniature landmarks are hard to resist! If you’re collecting them, don’t hesitate to make them a focal point at home. Store one piece on each shelf and back it up with soft lighting.
20. Boast your passport stamps
Your passport stamps are your ultimate souvenir from a memorable overseas trip. Grab your expired and current passports and try this cool DIY project. You only need to scan some pages in your passport and glue them on a small wooden block. This is passport art is a great reminder of your unforgettable trip in the past.
So tell us…
What have you brought home with you from your travels and how are they displayed in your home?
Charlene Gonzales is a design writer from Superdraft, the largest team of architects in Gold Coast, Australia, who offer end-to-end design services. She’s an interior geek who gets her inspiration from her holiday and weekend vacations.