How To Turn Inspiring Travel into Design at Home

As fall sneaks up on us, the weather feels cooler and the holidays quickly approach. It's hard not to start looking back on summer already. After a fabulous, life-affirming vacation, coming home can feel like a mixed bag: our creature comforts are here, but we long for the amazing and unique experiences we had. The best way to keep the travel high going is by bringing the essence of your voyages home.

Beyond the basic, more obvious ways to incorporate your voyages afar into your day-to-day lifestyle at home (some of which we included below) are opportunities to truly reflect your experiences, passions, and the education you absorbed while traveling.

One of the great joys in traveling is being exposed to styles different than the ones you gravitate towards when decorating. Perhaps your travels will even awaken you to try out a design trend or feature. For example, a trip to Giverny’s iconic blue- tiled kitchen could give way to the decision to add a similar-hued backsplash in your own home or the courage to curate a room that is centered around one focal color. 

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Changes don’t need to be dramatic or over-the-top either. After seeing long-pile tufted rugs at a chic marketplace in Marrakech and feeling their divine texture underfoot, you can bring that luxury home by trying one out at your bedside, conjuring memories of your vacation each morning when you take your first steps. If you find that rug irresistible, consider obtaining more in an array of styles and colors and layering them for a cozy atmosphere.

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Sometimes the influences of your travel inspirations will less obvious to others. A trip to a faraway place that inspired a love for a new culture and their handiworks, such as the ornate bead work of the Masaai people of Kenya, could be reflected in numerous ways including the addition of handcrafted wire and bead bowls, beaded pillow detailing, or metal accents and embellishments on furniture or hardware. Sharing the origins behind your new acquisitions will allow you to relive your experiences and spread your enthusiasm for these artisanal crafts and wares.


Bringing your travels into your home doesn’t need to be costly: a collection of shells, stones, or sea glass make for an eye-catching display and could serve as a creative and striking contrast to modern lines in your home. A walk on the beach with the family could transform into a beautiful display of shells and sands later on in your home, serving as a reminder of quality time spent together.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ideas if you want to dip your toe into travel-inspired design:

  • Bringing home a piece of original artwork is a wonderful way to support local artisans and to highlight an authentic piece that “spoke” to you during your travels. Every time your gaze falls upon it, you’ll be reminded of your journey and the amazing diversity of artistic talents around the world. Photos (taken by you or by someone else) are wonderful, visually striking mementos that capture a moment in time and space. Print them in large scale for maximum effect or make a collage wall with several images. For a polished, stylized look, print them on metal.
  • Start small if you don't have abundant space. You could begin by framing a coin and positioning it in the entryway or by making a home for an antique carving among other works of art you already have on display. Wherever you place your travel tokens, display them prominently so you see them regularly and make sure to give them proper lighting too.
  • In addition to serving as a feast for the eyes, travel trinkets can also be pleasurable for other senses. While framing a beautiful piece of lace from Venice or Brussels, a swath of silk from China, or a sari fragment from India makes for a stunning display, these materials are also wonderful when they become a textural design element, such as on a pillow. An antique Tibetan singing bowl looks beautiful on a shelf, but it is also pleasing to the ear.
  • Travelers naturally get caught up in the moment and unpack their suitcases to find items they might not wear on a regular basis, such as a kimono. These picture-perfect robes showcase incredible handiwork and add plenty of drama and intrigue to your home. Nearly every item you bring back with you can find a suitable home where its unique nature and appeal can be highlighted.
  • If your bags were too full or you simply ran out of time for souvenirs, you can still transport yourself back to your vacation spot with the simple help of a candle or a book. An Ocean Mist & Sea Salt scent will make your feel like you are back on the beach again; a lavender-scented taper soothes and fills your mind with images of running through fields in Provence. Find a coffee table book featuring your vacation location and leave it out as an open invitation to indulge in some an armchair tourism. Or create your own book using snapshots from your trip for a more personal touch. Thumbing through the pages will send you back to your happy place– no passport required!

Whether it’s a sculpture or painting that has to be shipped overseas (therefore, allowing you a little time to decide on its placement!) or a small token such as foreign coins or bills, keepsake reminders such as arts, artifacts, books, candles, and artifacts will sustain your travel memories…and may even inspire you or visitors to your home to take to the roads, rails, water, or sky again soon.

What are some ways that you have brought your summer vacations home into the autumn?