I have a small but mighty globe collection that sits on top of my kitchen cabinets, which is kind of a feat (and admittedly a dust trap) in a New York City apartment. It all started with a $15 flea market score, a basketball-sized globe reminiscent of what you'd find in an elementary school classroom—a patchwork of pink, yellow, green and orange countries surrounded by blue ocean. From there, I started picking them up when I traveled—a tiny guy from a German dollar store in Munich, which doubles as a pencil sharpener, and a glass carafe model from Kraków, which I keep—you can guess—vodka in. I'd also snag one when I just plain saw something cool, like the lunar globe I found in the clearance section at Urban Outfitters.
I've slowed down over the last few years due to space, but it might be time to get back in the game. Because at NY Now, the major bi-annual trade show for decor and giftables, maps and globes were everywhere. This surge probably has something to do with their sentimentality—a map or globe can remind you of where you've been and where you want to go in the future. And then there's the decorative bang for the buck—maps and globes can be pretty large, you can find deals on both vintage and new options in spades, and they'll work in pretty much any style room. Let's take a look, shall we?
The most obvious way to use a map just might be to frame a big one and hang it above your sofa, bed or above a dining room sideboard. Heck, Joanna Gaines has even gotten in on the action (not that surprising), using this vintage stunner, flanked by two shelving units, in a Fixer Upper project for HGTV. If you're not a color person, no problem. Just look for a tonal lithograph or sepia print map. They're out there. You could even print something jumbo out at a copy center.
Spend some time browsing at antique shops, and you'll probably find a classroom-style pull-down map or chart. These can be great to add color to walls; here, via Home Love Stories, one is cleverly being used to hide a flatscreen.
They're also a pretty chic solution for the blank space over a bed.
Maps totally have decorative strength in numbers, too. A bunch of small maps can be used to create a themed gallery wall or bespoke wallpaper in an entry, closet or powder room (an idea seen here in the home of textile artist Susan Hable, featured on Elle Decor).
You don't have to have a hard surface to get crafty with maps. Try a lampshade—exterior or interior, as shown in this IKEA hack from Pillar Box Blue.
If you're not looking to fill your walls, get yourself a globe (or three). These spherical shapes work well on shelves and, as seen on this room divider in a space from Better Homes & Gardens, are super easy to style with.
Globes (or a dozen!) look great on tabletops or a stack of books (and, to round out this whole wanderlust look, set your collection in front of a map like in this room from Elle Decor.
Need something to break up all those bottles and glasses on a bar cart? Try a lamp—or a globe, which adds a worldly touch and brings another shape to the mix as seen in this home tour from The Everygirl.
...Or, like in this home from Freunde Von Freunden, use an oversized globe for a bar. This would make a great DIY though I'm not sure exactly how to pull it off.
And, of course, like maps, globes also come in tons of different shapes, colors and designs. When you find something different, like the white globe in the neutral home office of The Everygirl co-founder Alaina Kaczmarski's home office, snatch it up. It will be a conversation piece.
Want to add a touch of geography to your walls and shelves? Head to your nearest flea market for something vintage and check out our map and globe picks below.