Whether you have traveled to the Colosseum in Rome, partied in Dubai and/or visited the pyramids of Egypt, chances are you’ve purchased souvenirs. Before you know it, you have a box full of keepsakes and no idea how to show them off. So how do you display your global memories without making your home feel cluttered and kitschy? Paternity Court star Judge Lauren Lake, who also co-owns L Style Design Studio in Englewood, N.J., is an avid collector during her travels. She suggests you start by assessing how much space you have, and in her opinion, you want to use small pieces, which generally work best visually. “You don’t want to overdecorate. You want to just pick the pieces that fit in your space,” Lake explains.
It does take some creativity to turn your travel treasures into works of art, but there is no right or wrong way to give your pieces shine. Just make sure the souvenirs you display not only fit your home’s decor but are also great conversation starters. “That’s the special thing about decorating; you can do the unexpected. That’s how you create your great design wins. With our travel purchases, we need to think about how we bring those pieces into a room and make them the start of great conversation. Ask yourself: ‘Why do you have this piece?’” Lake suggests.
If you’re looking for tips on getting started, Lake gives us a peek at how she incorporates souvenirs into her home and offers suggestions for each room.
Lake says purchasing items such as shadow boxes from craft stores will help enhance souvenirs. “You can create great art with a piece of jewelry you found overseas. Use the shadow box to mount it on your wall; that will make your home have the cultural-design feel that people like.”
If you take tons of photos on your travels, don’t just let them sit in your phone or camera. “Print your pictures and create an incredible coffee-table book. You can send off to have these books made for less than $100, and they can be bound as beautifully as you’d like,” she adds.
Bring a sense of serenity to your bedroom with candles, suggests Lake. “You can purchase candles from all over the world. You could mount them using a beautiful candelabra,” she says. For most people, the bedroom is a sacred space, so souvenir additions therein should be soothing to the spirit.
If you actually require a reason to bring home that extra bottle of wine, using the containers to decorate your kitchen is the perfect excuse. “People don’t think about how easy it is to just bring a bottle of wine from a place they’ve gone,” says Lake. You can simply display your collection on a decorative wine rack or a bar. “It’s a beautiful way to experience the culture when you want a reminder, so you drink [the wine].” She also recommends getting restaurant menus from your travels to frame on kitchen walls. And if you’re looking for a place to put that piece of pottery, consider the top of your cabinets.
Because a little bit of rug goes a long way in the lavatory, Lake advises picking up a small one for the room. Need a place for those carved masks and wooden artifacts? Shelving is the answer. “Mount it above your toilet area and set those figurines there,” she suggests.