If you’ve been daydreaming about your travel experiences, you can find ways to evoke those memories through your home décor. Designer Christine Eisner refers to such design ideas as echoes. “They allow past experiences to have a place in your day-to-day,” said Eisner, who wrote “Comfort Living: A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle.” Including them in your design “creates a bridge that instantly transports you,” she said. Los Angeles-based interior designer Erinn Valencich agreed. “Vacation generally conjures up ideas of relaxation and comfort. … There are ways to create vignettes or destinations in your rooms to increase your enjoyment and relaxation in your home,” she said. So collect your favorite memories, and get ready to be inspired by travel.
Vacation generally conjures up ideas of relaxation and comfort. … There are ways to create vignettes or destinations in your rooms to increase your enjoyment and relaxation in your home.
Interior designer Erinn Valencich
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Beach Cottage Chic
The beach is a favorite summer destination, but how do you bring that feeling indoors? Valencich suggested using a blue and white color palette to create a beachy feel. The color combination mirrors the sea, sky and foam from a day spent on the ocean. Both Eisner and Valencich recommended painting any dark wood paneling, floors, trim and cabinetry white to bring in the beach cottage element, and lighten the overall room. Another approach to achieving beachy perfection, “flanking your front door with distressed shutters,” says Eisner. It adds to the weather-beaten facade structures by the ocean often show.
Focus on accent pieces to complete the look. A large ocean print “placed in a key area of the home” will remind you of your travels each time you pass it, Valencich said. Use cabana stripe fabric on items such as pillows or an accent chair. If you can’t find a traditional cabana-inspired material, she suggested looking for a 4 inch or wider striped solid fabric. The sound of water can also be an important element in recreating an ocean memory. You can achieve this “either by a sound machine that has ocean noises, or by a small water feature outside a window,” Valencich said.
The Great Outdoors
If your summer travels are filled with time spent outdoors, focus on “removing the barriers between indoors and out,” Eisner said. Open-air living “makes you feel like you’re back on vacation.” Look to nature to inspire your color choices and fabrics. An easy fix, Eisner added, is comfortable seating outside to increase the time you spend there. Add rocking chairs or a hammock to your porch or balcony to remind you of those laid back vacation days and to help you reconnect to nature.
Other tricks to draw you outside include outdoor drapery and string lights, according to Valencich. “Lanterns with some overflowing potted plants will encourage you to cozy up outside and enjoy that relaxing area more.” Last but not least, both designers say indulging in al fresco dining is a great way to make the most of your backyard. Decorations, candlelight, brightly colored dinnerware -- and maybe a heat lamp to keep the evening chill at bay -- create an irresistible backyard vacation destination.
Now that you’ve composed the general settings for your travels, it’s time to personalize your space. Souvenirs, if chosen wisely, can be the perfect way to complete your travel memory theme. Valencich suggested purchasing a piece of art special to the location. “Avoid anything with the name of the area, but opt for pieces that really speak to you,” she said. “The story of that vacation will always live on in that piece of art.”
While on vacation, keep an eye out for objects that can be used daily. Eisner advocated items such as napkin rings, placemats or napkins. Books to put on display are another of Eisner’s favorites as an instant reminder of beloved trips. Look for fabrics you can easily incorporate into your room design. Scarves, shawls and sarongs all made Eisner’s list, as they can be made into pillows or used in other displays, such as framed art, curtains or blankets. Another idea: Collect items found in nature. Shells and stones can be put on display in a series of bowls or baskets or left casually out on a table. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your framing, too. Pressed flowers picked on location, destination maps and post cards all make interesting additions to any room design when framed.
Unique Photo Displays
Keep your favorite vacation activities in mind. Frame your activity photos in oversized mats and varied frame sizes; for display, choose a dedicated wall, either in a hallway or family room, said Erinn Valencich, an interior designer from Los Angeles. If colors aren’t important, print them in black and white or sepia to keep them tonally consistent.
Turn your photos into art, Valencich suggested. Print them on unique mediums, such as canvas or sheet metal. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to customize and transform your memories.
“If you have a glass-topped coffee or dining table, put photographs underneath,” said Christine Eisner, author of “Comfort Living: A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle.” “They’ll be protected, yet always in plain sight,” Eisner said.