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Decorating Diva: Travel-inspired home decor


Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! Exotic locations, unforgettable sights and sounds, gorgeous beaches, amazing food and hip hotels – these are some of the main reasons we travel. Whether you take a cross-country road trip or head to the other side of the world, travel is undeniably inspiring. With that in mind, we wanted to look at how going places both near and far can – and does – inspire home décor.

Decorating Diva

Tourist looking at pottery

Travel-inspired decor

Hotel Maison designer extraordinaire and frequent world traveler Kim Salmela shares some of her thoughts on home accessorizing trends she’s seen in her travels lately. “Travel is my single greatest design inspiration,” she says, adding that a home should reflect the owner’s life and where he or she has been. “My home isn’t decorated; it’s just full of beautiful items I’ve collected over my lifetime.”

What to look for

When traveling, Salmela suggests searching out the local flea markets to find something for your home. “Skip the touristy T-shirt and instead think of buying a piece of fabric that could become a pillow or a throw, or buy something that can sit on your mantel or bookcase,” she says. Over time you’ll have a collection of unique home accents that will remind you of those fabulous travel memories every time you look at them. She provides some of her favorite trends in travel-inspired decor.

Travel decor1Indigenous textiles

Most regions around the world have fabric patterns or embroideries that tell a story about their culture. For instance, use of Suzani (embroidered and decorative textiles from to central Asia) or ikat (a weaving style common to many cultures but said to originate in Indonesia) can take a neutral room and give it a pan-Asian flair. We love this bold blue ikat pillow from Velocity ($58).

2Natural materials

Use of rope in home furnishings is hot right now, Salmela says. Look for accents like rugs, side tables and even wall prints that use raw woods or woven rope for their design inspiration. Our pick: Decorative bowl wall art from West Elm ($29 to $99), made from natural woven grass.


The biggest design trend right now – no matter where you go – is bold color. Accessories, such as wall hangings, accent chairs and benches or stools in bold pinks, yellows, blues and oranges are a great way to get a pop of color without having to commit to a large piece. Add this trio of bright side tables from CB2 ($129) to your living room or den.

Check out these hot color trends >>>


Don’t feel like venturing too far? Americana is in, Salmela says. Say “red, white and blue” with earthy lodge and hunting décor accents, such as (fake) horn tables and (faux) fur chairs. Or capture the essence of a coastal Northeastern community with weathered or shabby-chic paint finishes. Show off your patriotic side with this painted wooden American flag from Pottery Barn ($129).

Up next: Hotel inspiration >>

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