How to Make Your Home Look Well-Travelled (Without Ever Booking a Plane Ticket)

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: One Kings Lane)

There are a rare few in this world who are unaffected by wanderlust, but we do not consider ourselves amongst them. Traveling to faraway lands offers not only a break from the doldrums of daily life, but also an intimate peek at another culture’s aesthetic. Spend a week in one country and it won’t be long before you start to notice the same design components over and over again, whether at the flea market, local restaurant, or boutique hotel. In the event that you can’t afford an impulse ticket abroad, here are a handful of ways to bring that global spirit home — no passport needed.

Layer up

Fans of minimalism might shy away from this one, but one of the easiest ways to create a pad chock-full of bohemian vibes is to layer on the textiles (the Los Angeles home of actress Katie Tarses, found on One Kings Lane, does this beautifully, don’t you think?). Rugs on beds, throws on couches, tapestries on walls, pillows on floors — you name it, there’s a place for it. Don’t be afraid to mix and match designs and places of origin. A Turkish rug can easily sit alongside a Scandinavian pillow beneath a Spanish tapestry.

→10 Tell-Tale Signs that Your Home Style Is: Bohemian

→Online Sources for Kilim Rugs

(Image credit: AD España)

Pseudo tiles

Go to Portugal and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a surface not covered in gorgeous ceramic tiles like the ones pictured here from AD Espana. Called Azulejos, tile work is one of the country’s most outstanding forms of ornamental art, and it’s still used in modern day architecture. The effect is bright, intricate and downright mesmerizing. Lucky for you, you don’t have to deal with the hassle (and fee) of shipping across the ocean and can opt for tile decals instead. They’re self-adhesive, water- and steam-resistant and easily removed. Try them in your bathroom, on your backsplash or on your stairs.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Eastern sculpture

Are you deeply inspired by the ethnically and religiously diverse Eastern cultures, but getting there is too long of a long haul? Bring the aspects you most admire in-house by way of local art. And we don’t mean just any art, but super-detailed, handmade sculpture. Different regions of India, for one, developed their own styles of carving using local materials. Whatever you choose, create a dedicated vignette to showcase these impressively delicate works of art and allow your mind a brief pause each time you pass by. (If wood isn’t really your thing, consider this stone duo from Indonesia.)

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Basket art

If you’re putting your baskets on the ground, might we suggest you’re doing it wrong. Especially if they’re sisal baskets. These colorful handwoven baskets from Africa (check out some beautiful ones here) are made from the natural fibers of the sisal plant (in the Agave family), which are repeatedly dried and hand-dyed. Traditionally, sisal baskets are given to wish someone a long and happy life. For a constant reminder, we recommend displaying several hung on a wall.

→Inspiration gallery: Modern Basket Decor

(Image credit: Homedit)

Floor cushions

Long favored in countries from Japan to Morocco to China, floor pillows are a super quick way to add seating to an intimate gathering — and a great way to change up normal social protocol here at home. Take the cue from this living room spotted on Homedit, and serve beverages, light lanterns or candles and settle into the state of repose that’s been favored for centuries around the world.

(Image credit: Freunde von Freunden)

If all else fails…

Plants. Lots and lots of plants. If being surrounded by greenery can’t offer you a reprieve from the hectic concrete jungle (pun intended), we don’t know what will. Well, aside from an ocean front view. (via Freunde von Freunden)