Four Tips for Using Your Travels to Spice Up Your Home

Decorating with Travel Finds

Four Tips for Using Your Travels to Spice Up Your Home
Photography courtesy of Savannah College of Art and Design.

Decorating with travel treasures gives you a chance to tell your guests about—and acts as a daily reminder of—your life’s grandest adventures! Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) founder and president Paula Wallace—who frequently travels from Savannah to SCAD’s global locations in Atlanta and Lacoste, France, as well as other sites worldwide—suggests that wherever your travels take you, pay attention. Keepsakes from your trip will be remnants of a life well-lived and perfect for decorating your home’s interior upon return.

No matter your destination, the same principles hold true. Browse these four wonderful tips for using your travels to spice up your home.

Think outside your normal aesthetic.

Photography courtesy of Savannah College of Art and Design.

If something catches your eye, guests in your home also will notice it. Don’t worry about whether it matches what you already have in your gracious abode. Found art inherently relates to your existing pieces because it’s part of your story.

Let the new culture drive your inspiration.

Photography courtesy of Savannah College of Art and Design.

As you learn more about the place you’re exploring and the people who live there, take home relics that will remind you of your growing horizons. Ask shop owners how the object you’ve found came to be. “You might hear an astounding story or even learn that the object has been handmade in the same way for centuries upon centuries! Understanding the journey your keepsake itself has taken makes it that much more valuable and interesting,” Wallace says.

Find art in the unexpected.

Photography courtesy of Savannah College of Art and Design.

While you’re likely to find an array of prints and traditional wall art on your journey, add a layer of allure with unusual objects. Search for one-of-a-kind textiles that can be used as throws or purchase age-old hats or china cups to use as eye-catching wall accents.

“Why put flowers in a vase when you can stock it with feathers and vintage arrows that you found on your travels? Use almost anything for an unintended design element and you’ve suddenly created something interesting,” Wallace says.

Arrange a nook in your home as a dedication to your exciting adventures. Fill old jars with tickets from shows you’ve attended or with trinkets you’ve discovered while wandering old, history-filled streets; collect leather journals at markets and then write about your vacation on the pages inside. Then use those to decorate your mantel, bookshelves, or coffee table.

Create a home enclave of travel treasures.

Photography courtesy of Savannah College of Art and Design.

She adds, “Passing through a market one day, my eye alighted on a slender, hand-crafted old canoe. I had no earthly idea how I might use it, but that’s all part of the strategy—you wait for the right opportunity. Turns out, an antique canoe is the perfect statement piece to hang over a dining table. It can even become a light!”

In your home office or sitting area, showcase larger pieces that you’ve brought home—like an old canoe, or trunks and statues—as an eclectic cache of your most astounding discoveries. “Remember: The greater the visibility of your travel find, the greater opportunity to start a conversation about ‘One time, I went to…,’” Wallace says.

Learn more about Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and founder and president Paula Wallace at

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