The popularity of pinning holiday destination-inspired interiors saw a 35% increase on Pinterest last year – so it’s clear that a week or two abroad is never quite enough for us Brits! We all love bringing home mementos from our favourite places, but knowing how to incorporate all these global influences into your decor isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
We spent some time with interior designer Carole King to talk about how you can create a well-travelled home. Read on to learn how to bring the holiday vibes into your home decor.
Sunroom scheme by Dear Designer
Globally inspired interiors are a massively popular trend. It’s cheaper than ever now to travel to all four corners of the earth, and it’s impossible not to be inspired by the different cultures we see when we get there. Who isn’t tempted to try to recreate that holiday ambience at home too?
We also see the results of these influences in the shops at home too. Moroccan lanterns and rugs, faux animal trophies and zebra prints from Africa, colourful ceramics from Portugal, dazzling silks from India, and the softest sheepskins from Sweden. Many of them are fair-trade too, so you can buy with a clean conscience. You don’t even have to travel, it seems, to fill your home with accessories that will give it a well-travelled feel.
Another big source of inspiration for this trend is the hotels we stay in and the shops we visit while we’re away. Hotels are a fabulous example of where you can let your imagination lead you. Their interior design is often bolder than we’d ever get away with at home, and the level of luxury and comfort is beguiling. The design shops we visit while on holiday are themselves influenced by popular trends, but the way they incorporate different globally inspired elements into their displays can teach us a thing or two about successful combinations and styling.
Hotel inspiration from the Poet’s House, Ely
Personally, the inspiration I gather from my travels is more about ‘impressions’ than ‘things’. I take hundreds of photographs. I absorb like a sponge. I may not realise what influenced me the most about a place until I’m back home. Everything I see, do, smell, taste and drink in, goes into the memory bank to be referenced at a later date. Colour combinations, textures, patterns and repetitions get stored away for future use. And of course I do purchase the odd souvenir or two.
In my opinion, you can definitely mix and match elements from around the world into a successfully coherent decorating scheme. Just have a look at Pinterest and you’ll see how wonderful pared-back Scandinavian rooms can look with rustic looking carvings, tribal wall hangings and ikat printed cushions. And all of the popular ‘boho’ inspired rooms you see and love will be a combination of different items, furniture and textiles gathered from around the world. As a general rule, if you love it, it will work.
Sitting room scheme by Dear Designer
There are however some guidelines that I usually stick to:
- Don’t get too hung up on one particular theme. Filling a room with all things African or all things Chinese will result in a room that looks like a stage set. Mix things up and it will look more homely and less contrived.
- Think about colour. Will those spicy coloured Indian cushions really work when combined with your existing Scandinavian grey sofas? They can, but it’s a difficult look to pull off. Much better to stick to your own colour scheme even when teetering on the brink of an impulse buy.
- Try not to overfill a room. You might be trying to work out how you can fit in that beautifully carved wardrobe, but stand-out pieces need room to breathe. They need space around them so that they can be seen and properly appreciated.
- If you are intent on adding hot colours and busy patterns to your scheme, keep everything else plain and cool. White is the perfect backdrop colour in this situation.
- A limited colour palette is a great unifier. Stick to three colours at the most and you can combine all manner of things. This is how the Scandinavians successfully incorporate Moroccan artefacts into their interiors. They leave the bright colours alone and only use browns, greys and blacks.
- Only buy things that you genuinely love. As I said, if you do this, it will work.
- Wall hung souvenirs and prints are great ways to reinforce the impression of a layered home. As a bonus they are usually cheap and easy to carry home in the backpack.
About Carole King
Carole King is an Interior Designer and author of Dear Designer’s Blog, where she writes daily about interiors, current trends in home decor, shopping tips and anything else that inspires her. In her spare time she likes to decorate her own house, visit her country cottage, walk her dog and make plans for her next big travel adventure.