As travelers, we fall in love with certain aspects of our holiday destinations and so wish to bring it home with us. These could be stuff from the vintage hotel, the architecture and design that we see, the iconic art of the place, the food, the smells and that overall special feeling. I am not just referring to souvenirs, which we all do carry back as decorative items and gifts, but a whole lot more.
I am talking about that architectural design concept, that furniture design, that classic look, that fine art, those special accessories and all those day to day products that can adorn your home. These could come in handy while designing your new home or re-decorating your old home.
Here are my favorites. Some of them are already in my home while the others have been kept as design ideas for my new larger home whenever that happens.
Mosaic from Jordan
When I think of that special flooring, those ancient mosaics of Jordan come to mind. These mosaics have adorned churches from the 1st century and have depicted maps of the Holy land and the baptism site of Jesus. Won’t it be a fabulous idea to have a wall or floor of a room to be decorated with these small, diverse and colorful stone pieces? I think they would look majestic, especially if the mosaic depicts something like the tree of life or something exotic, but carrying a simple, yet deep meaning.
Carpets from Iran
I am a big lover of carpets. Carpets act as a great accessory for any room in the home. Be it for praying or a meditation session, around the coffee table for those fun sessions with family and friends or to jazz up your living room, carpets enable all of this and much more. I own and have gifted carpets from Kashmir, Iran and Turkey. My favorite carpet is the one made out of Persian silk and one that carries ancient miniature art from Iran. The woollen ones made by women living in the villages of Iran are much cheaper and extremely rugged.
Ceramics from China
I am sure all of you know about bone china. A true legacy of China, these ceramics add a new dimension to your table ware. Their colors and unique designs is definitely something that I would love to have in my kitchen and dining room. An adaptation of this chinese art is the Benjarong painting of Thailand, which when applied to Bone China oozes royalty all along.
Design Concepts of Traditional South Indian Homes
As a person who hails from an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family, I have grown up liking swings in the living room, an elevated seating space at the entrance of the house, a classic decor made up of wooden beams, pillars and thick set wooden doors and last, but not the least, the amazing open-air garden and free space located right in the middle of the house. Some of these traditional design concepts are not just limited to traditional Tamil brahmin households, but can be seen in the Chettinad community of Tamil Nadu and in any made traditional communities of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. When I do build my big home in the middle of greenery, these traditional design concepts would definitely be a part of it.
Beach Inspired Furniture
For a lot of us, beaches signify relaxation and letting go. Our home also provides the same feeling to us. I believe beach-inspired furniture makes a great fit in a well lit area of the home, especially the outdoor lawns or gardens, the porticos or may be around the swimming pool, if you can afford to have one. Simple, yet classical furniture made out of solid wood, like arm chairs, rockers, coffee tables, dining tables and some more. Take the Brighton beach inspired dining set from Urban Ladder as an example. Such solid wood furniture would look chic as the main dining table or as a second one in your portico area.
Classic British Leather Furniture Inspired by the Colonial Era
I am a big sucker for solid wood and leather furniture from the classic era. You see them in bars and libraries of five star and other luxury hotels around the world and in the offices of important executives fairly high up in the company ladder. They are super comfortable and they look rich, really rich with their gorgeous leather. I personally own a couple of such furniture and have big dreams of designing some more furniture inspired from this British colonial era.
Miniature Art from Odisha
Fine Art always adds a special touch to one’s home. The rich have always had fine taste for such fine art. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it costs a lot of money to own fine art. From a traditional Indian perspective, Tanjore paintings, Patta Chitra, Tado Patra, Tribal Art and other mythology inspired paintings look beautiful in one’s home not just by look, but by the beautiful message that it carries. Personally, I love the miniature art, especially Patta Chitra from Odisha’s Raghurajpur.
Masks from Indonesia
In ancient days, people created masks for worshipping the lord, to act as spirit guardians or to protect them from the evil eye. In India, masks are used to ward off evil. In Thailand, they are used to portray a specific character in a traditional dance ceremony. In Indonesia, each of its islands is home to ethnic tribes and these masks denote their rich traditions. Many other countries also have a similar mask culture, like the Mardi Gras festival of New Orleans. Personally, I love the masks from Indonesia primarily due to their sheer vibrancy of colors, rich intricate designs and the fact that there are many of them.
Big Altars and Butter Lamps from Buddhist Monasteries
Even though I am a Hindu by birth, I find peace in the Buddhist way of preaching and meditating. In a typical Indian home, we place a lot of importance on the prayer room. My prayer room would be spartan with a big altar and contain a big butter lamp (made from copper). This would be the room to meditate and pray. This concept is borrowed from the Buddhist monasteries all over the world, especially the ones in the Indian Himalayas, Tibet and Burma.
Prints from Africa
Both wildlife and the African continent are close to my heart. The world over loves animal prints. Some love them as real skin (which us animal lovers dislike) while the others love the prints inspired by the animals of this region. Be it curtains, carpets, upholstery or even wall papers, such animal print based themes find a home almost everywhere. I think zebra prints possibly are the most beautiful.
Provincial Vintage French Designs
How can we have an article about travel inspired design concepts and not have a French element in it? Sounds weird, right? Which, is why I have kept my best for the last. The French have always had great taste in art, design and creativity. After all, provincial vintage design elements, be it in France or other French colonies around the world, are so pleasing to the eye. They would make fantastic additions to the design theme of any home the world over. They are classy, pleasing to the eye and as the French say, they are ‘chic’.
What are your favorites? Which destinations would you bring into your home? Do share through the comments below.