Turn Your Home into a Personal Getaway with Travel-Inspired Décor

With travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, many homeowners want to surround themselves with memories of their time abroad. This may be why travel-inspired interiors are one of 2021’s trending looks.

Interior designers like myself often have our favorite travel destinations. Over the course of my design career, I’ve been to Europe 12 times.

My business partner, Lea Barfield, and I also own an antique buying trip business called Tour Décor, which helps our clients source European pieces for their residences—anything from midcentury modern to classic English, French, and Swedish antiques.

Below, you’ll find some design tips and tricks for highlighting travel mementos in a sophisticated way.

One way to begin is by picking out a single piece you acquired abroad and using it as a touchpoint for the rest of the room. Putting together a collection of art from a place you’ve visited or a gallery wall of travel photos is another great option. 

The solution is to spread your pieces throughout the space instead of isolating them to one part of the room.

Don’t stop there, however. It’s essential to make sure your room looks like a living space and not a museum. The solution is to spread your pieces throughout the space instead of isolating them to one part of the room.

If your favorite places in the world have lots of historic buildings, your travel-inspired room should have a sense of history, too. You can browse local antique shops for fine, old antiques. I recommend using antiques sparingly for most homes, about three to four per room. Decorating with world maps (whether printed and framed or used as a pattern in an unexpected place) is another way to communicate a feeling of wanderlust to guests. On the same note, globes are an excellent accessory for masculine studies and libraries.

A soothing color palette helps to soften the rough, organic textures used in this Cape Cod-style bedroom.

If you’re not sure what will be complementary with your travel-inspired elements, go with safe bets. Place your colorful textiles against a neutral backdrop of white, tan, cream, or grey. Natural materials like wood furniture can fit into almost any design setting.

There’s no better time than now to learn how to capitalize on the photos and art you’ve collected from your travels and weave a design narrative around them.


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Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers, a registered interior designer (RID) and member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), leads Chambers Interiors and Associates. Her colleague Caitlin Crowley helped edit this column. Find more design advice at chambersinteriors.com/blog

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