Decorating with Travel Souvenirs

When you’re out traveling in a foreign land, it always seems like a nice idea to take some souvenirs home to remind you of your trip. But sometimes, they just end up as clutter. Sometimes you think of scrapbooking them, but you never have the time. As you are reading this, we hope you can get some inspirations to finally show off your travel souvenirs in more obvious and sometimes, more useful ways.

1. Bring home household items

If you are going to collect travel mementos, it’s better to get something practical – something you can actually use and look at. Instead of filling your home with knick-knacks, you can fill your daily life with reminders of your adventures. Think about pillow covers, blankets, tableware, kitchenware, stationery, storage boxes, flower vases, books and the like.

2. Display postcards in the wall

Postcards are cheap, colorful and beautiful. You may stack them in a box or put them in photo albums, but to better display them, put them up on the wall altogether. If you already have a nice postcard collection from your travels, you can make a collage out of them. Just stick them together on the wall to make an accent.

However, if you don’t like sticking things to your wall, you can just hang them on with strings. You may paste each of them on cardboard as a border to achieve a polaroid photo style, punch some holes and attach them to strings to make rows of images you can hang on the wall.  

3. Create memory jars

Using mason jars, stuff the small items you got from your trip, like sand, rocks, shells, pine cones, keychains, bottle caps, coasters and ticket stubs. Put a postcard inside to serve as a backdrop for the memory jar display, and write a few notes on the back about the place you went to, the date of the trip, the people you’re with, the food you tried, etc. If you have kids, they will surely love hunting for more souvenirs to put in the jar. Then, if you’re going to travel again to another place, create another memory jar. Let each jar remind you of every place you’ve been to. Plus, they make interesting decorative pieces for any area in your home.

4. Put souvenirs in shadow boxes

If you don’t have enough shelf or tabletop space to put up your memory jars, you may place your little souvenirs in shadowboxes instead, so you can display them on the wall. Just like we said earlier, you can put any small thing for display, and let each shadowbox contain all items you collected from a particular trip. This way, you can also show your postcards or photos better!

5. Frame your collections

If you collect specific small souvenirs, get them out of your storage boxes and frame them up for everyone to see. Your foreign coins and seashell collection can be glued into a board and framed in a shadowbox. Your keychain collection can be hooked in pins through a corkboard and can also be framed in a shadowbox. Your ticket stubs from train rides, bus rides, and amusement parks, as well as the plays and shows you’ve seen abroad, can also be made into a collage and framed in a picture frame. These small mementos always look extra special when creatively displayed and framed.

6. Show collections off in a special wall of hooks

If framing things up is too much for you (and for some items, it would be impossible to do), you can make a special wall of hooks to show them all off. A pegboard can be your spot to create a quirky art display out of your travel souvenirs! If you like buying mugs, hats or keychains on every trip you take, hang them on hooks on a pegboard to make a collection display that is exclusively yours and uniquely awesome.

7. Create a table runner

If a destination you have traveled to is known for its linens and lace, don’t miss the opportunity and buy some for your home. Their local shops and flea markets are the best places to visit, not those tourist shops where everything is overpriced. Now, pick up some of their doilies – they’re easy to pack – and collect. Once you have collected unique doilies, you can stitch them together to make a one-of-a-kind, imported but homemade table runner that doesn’t only serve as a collage of your travel memories, but also a useful and decorative focal point for your table.

8. Install a kitchen magnet wall

8. Install a kitchen magnet wall

Other than postcards, a lot of travelers love collecting magnets. They are cute, unique, easy to pack, plus they explicitly show the places you’ve been to. Instead of sticking them to your fridge, you can install a little kitchen magnet wall on your kitchen to show them better. If you’re always traveling or going overseas, give your magnet collection a special spot to stay.

9. Make an artistic display of your travel photos

A lot of pictures of beautiful places deserve to be printed out and framed, not just posted on social media. Even when you’re off the screen, have something that would remind you of your adventures by putting your travel photos up on your bedroom wall. And don’t just frame them up in a usual manner – be artistic with it. You may use clip string lights to hang them up and place them above your desk to inspire you. Or you can use a salvaged frame, tuck along twine across it, and use clothespins to clip your photos along the twine.

These ways of displaying photos are not only pretty and artistic, but it’s also super versatile and can be easily changed for each occasion. Like for instance, you may replace your clipped travel photos with Christmas cards you received during the yuletide season.

One great idea we heard about is someone who searched for Photographers in Amsterdam and then had professional vacation photos taken of their trip!

10. Make a spice collection

When you think of travel souvenirs, you probably won’t think about spices. Spices aren’t considered as decorative pieces either. But it’s actually a great idea to collect spices from around the world so you can say that you brought home the flavors of your journeys. And also, if you like to bottle up sand and display them, why not do it with spices, which are actually more colorful and useful? Feature your collection of spices on a spice rack and install it against a wall on your kitchen. Be creative with labeling, and you may decorate your spice bottles or jars for a more artistic effect. This can make a great conversation piece since it can surely impress the guests of your cooking knowledge, plus it’s actually very functional if you like to cook!

11. Repurpose old shelves for displays

11. Repurpose old shelves for displays

If you have vintage shelves you’re not using, repaint it or repair it, and use it as storage shelves for your travel mementos. You can also use old drink crates, spice racks, or old pigeonholes and repurpose them as shelves. Mount it on a wall to feature your souvenirs. Items like baskets, snow globes, shot glasses, miniature cars, figurines, dolls, mini replicas, and other trinkets can be displayed to create an out-of-this-town ambiance.

12. Create memory boxes

Elegantly store away your souvenirs using wooden keepsake boxes. Let it hold photos, maps, ticket stubs, brochures, menus, currency and other items that you plan to make a scrapbook of but never get the opportunity to. Get a couple of wooden boxes, stencil in the names of the city or country you’ve been to, then paint them in different colors. Display them in your bookshelf. People will have a good time sifting through the box and looking at some memories.