If you enjoy travel, and if you're interested in undertaking some interior decorating at your house or apartment, why not combine the two? You can collect souvenirs on trips to display in your home, or if you prefer to travel light, you can embrace a travel-themed decor style to have you and your guests always thinking about the next trip you'll take.
Here are five travel-inspired home decorating ideas that can help add a unique personality to your residence:
- Postcard wall art
- Vintage suitcase shelving
- Travel trunk tables
- Travel photos
Postcard Wall Art
They may not be as commonplace as they were a generation ago, but postcards are still available at nearly every travel destination. People don't often send postcards to family and friends when traveling thanks to the constant presence of mobile devices and communication apps. Nonetheless, consider picking up postcards on your travels and bringing them home. Postcards can make for interesting wall art that hopefully have an engaging travel story to go with it.
You have a number of options available when it comes to using postcards as an artistic addition to your home. For example, you can purchase an assortment of fun-looking yet inexpensive frames to turn a wall in your home into something of a miniature art gallery. If you're reluctant to purchase new frames, head over to a local thrift store. These outlets often have plenty of picture frames on their shelves and you can present your postcard art in an interesting assortment of eclectic, maybe even vintage, frames.
Shelves from Vintage Suitcases
Unlike postcards, vintage suitcases are not likely items that you would bring home from your travels. Still, vintage suitcases definitely meet the mark of being trendy and travel-inspired, and are often found in antique shops and thrift stores. Give vintage suitcases a second life by turning them into unique and intriguing shelves in your home.
Do note, though, that turning vintage suitcases into shelves requires some handiwork and access to power tools, like a table saw. If you're not up for handling that sort of machinery, then do a search for local makerspaces, where members of the community can gather to use tools they may not have and lend expertise to others, which should at least point you in the right direction.
The actual procedure is fairly simple – the vintage suitcase is cut in half so the top of the suitcase with the clasp and handle are in tact. This part of the suitcase faces out from the wall, so the open side is against the wall. The project is fairly common on DIY blogs and Pinterest, and a simple Google search will lead you to multiple tutorials to make your suitcase shelf project a little more beginner-friendly.
Travel Trunks and Tables
Long gone are the days when people traveled using trunks. However, their prevalence in decades past means vintage trunks can easily be found in antique shops, and with little or no work make for an interesting addition to your home. Without having to scour local resale stores, you very well may have friends or family that use these sorts of trunks for storage, perhaps forgotten down in a basement or up in an attic, and they may be up for parting with it in exchange for a more modern one. What makes them unique is adding a distinguished sense of flair and personality to your home while providing the value of much-needed storage space, or an end table to rest things on.
Maps, Maps, and More Maps
With GPS at everyone's fingertips, paper maps have largely become a thing of the past. With that said, they still exist and are printed regularly. Maps of different places and in different styles can prove to be stylish additions to your home. The spectrum from which you can select maps for your home is endless. Antique maps of your hometown or a country you recently visited can be framed and make for a conversation piece in your living room. For a more urban look and feel, frame subway maps of major cities. The map you choose can serve as an extension of your life experiences and personal interests, while also serving as decoration.
[Read: The Guide to Home Renovations]
Upgrade Your Travel Photos
When it comes to travel-inspired decorating ideas, the silver bullet solution may very well live on your smartphone. Your own travel photos, even a selfie or two, can be the basis of some cute and personal interior decorating options. Gather all of your photos from a trip and make it into an elaborate photo collage using free online tools, like BeFunky.com or PhotoCollage.com. You can also use a high resolution photo of scenery you loved or a family photo from vacation into a wall poster that you can order printed on mountable foam core. You can even develop a theme across all of your travels, like snapshots of you in front of famous landmarks or cafes you stopped in while visiting different countries. The options are endless as to how you use your own photos, but they'll always add a personal touch to your travel-inspired decor.
Use tech to get creative with your next interior design project.
Sprucing up your home, or even building a whole new addition, is best done with some planning. Fortunately, plenty of apps are available for Android and Apple smartphone or tablet users to help with the design, planning, professional consultation and even buying stages of freshening up a space – whether that means a full room renovation or a simple paint color change. Read on for the six best free interior design apps for consumers.Best for connecting to the pros: Houzz
Best for connecting to the pros: Houzz
(Courtesy of Houzz)
Houzz has a strong reputation for helping people plan and prepare for home remodeling and design, as well as providing access to a network of professionals and a marketplace for home decor products. It’s no surprise the Houzz app offers all the features available on its website, including access to your saved ideabooks and 3D virtual room staging. Houzz app users can also participate in forum discussions with other users to share advice and experience. Compared to other home design apps, Houzz offers the best way to connect with professionals, and includes customer reviews, project budget ranges and contact information.Best for creating floor plans: magicplan
Best for creating floor plans: magicplan
There are a wide variety of floor plan creator apps available to smartphone and tablet users, but magicplan offers the most user-friendly experience. This app allows you to create floor plans based on your existing home or room, or create one for a future space you have in mind. Your planning can get more detailed and realistic by including plans for electrical outlets, flooring types, appliances and other items. The app even allows you to import existing floor plans from elsewhere to use as a template or recreate an existing floor plan for future renovations. Once you’ve created a complete plan, your contractor can even calculate the estimated total cost of the project within the app.Best marketplace: Wayfair
Best marketplace: Wayfair
(Courtesy of Wayfair)
Wayfair reports that it offers more than 10 million products in its marketplace, and its app allows you to benefit by planning what will fit best in your home while also shopping for it. App users can take a photo of their room and insert photos of furniture and decor for sale through Wayfair to try out the placement and overall look before adding items to their cart. You can also visualize select rugs, linen and furniture products in your room through augmented reality.Best for choosing paint colors: ColorSmart by Behr
Best for choosing paint colors: ColorSmart by Behr
Your preference for specific paint colors may vary by brand, but if you’re looking for an app that will help you make decisions when it comes to painting walls, trim and other parts of your house, look to ColorSmart by Behr. The app allows users to explore color swatches and preview paints and color combinations in sample room images (though not in images of rooms you've captured). If you're out and about and see a building, plant or even fabric color you think would work well in your home, you can take a photo through the app and find the closest Behr color option.Best for trying out room design: Ikea Place
Best for trying out room design: Ikea Place
(Courtesy of Ikea)
The Swedish home goods store known for its flat-pack furniture and Scandinavian design aesthetic places a particular focus on where the user is. If you're in a room you want to design, the augmented reality feature allows you to place Ikea furniture in the room to see how it looks. If you're at a friend's house, however, and he knows he got his desk at Ikea but has no clue what it’s called, snap a photo of it, and the app will search the Ikea catalog to identify it. There is not in-app ordering, however, as users must visit the website or an Ikea store to purchase items.Best for designing for fun: Hutch
Best for designing for fun: Hutch
(Courtesy of Hutch)
There are times for serious planning for a new room design or renovation, and other times you just want to pretend you're an interior designer. Hutch presents users with a daily challenge when they open the app, complete with a hypothetical client scenario. For example, design a room in a Spanish-style bungalow for a client that wants a lot of color, at least one wooden piece of furniture and bohemian wall art. All items you put to use are real, with brand and pricing information available, as well as in-app purchasing. Compared to other design apps modeled as games, most reviewers note a big plus is there's no need to earn fake money to use different furnishings – and no need to spend real money to take part in the challenges.Discover the best free apps for home design, decor and renovations.
Discover the best free apps for home design, decor and renovations.
To recap, here are the best free interior design apps:
- Houzz: Best for connecting to professionals.
- magicplan: Best for creating a floor plan.
- Wayfair: Best marketplace.
- ColorSmart by Behr: Best for choosing paint colors.
- Ikea Place: Best for trying out room design.
- Hutch: Best for designing for fun.
She is currently Executive Director of Luxury Estates with Compass in Beverly Hills, California. Her team, SFJ Group, is comprised of agents and a full-service staff ranging across experienced marketing, listing, transaction, and operation experts.