Your brother-in-law went on a trip to Mexico. Generous by nature, he thought of you and bought you a souvenir on his trip. He may have had good intentions, but as you take the huge sombrero with garish colors out of the gift bag, you plaster a fake smile on your face, and you politely say thank you while thinking in your head, “where am I going to be able to put this explosion of colors so that it won’t clash with my minimalist home decor?”

Since you feel too embarrassed to refuse the aforementioned gift, you accept it and hide it away in the back of a closet in the basement, between the box of clothes that no longer fit and the ski equipment that you only take out when your brother-in-law comes to visit.

I can understand that, in this case, you had an excuse to have a souvenir that doesn’t fit with your decor. But when it’s you traveling, being under the influence of a bit of tequila and Mexican good humor is no excuse for buying an ultra colorful sombrero that you know will clash with your minimalist decor.

To prevent your souvenirs from ending up in a closet in your basement, or even worse, in the trash (hello responsible consumption), I will share with you my 5 tips on how to integrate souvenirs into your home decor.

Tip 1: Your decorative style

What is your decorative style? Minimalist? Classic? Retro? Contemporary? Modern? Rustic? Country? Eclectic? Seaside? Defining your style will allow you to choose souvenirs that will perfectly match your decor. I advise you to keep photos in your phone of each of the rooms in your house (living room, kitchen, bedrooms, office, bathroom, basement, veranda, etc.). This way, you will always have a visual reference to refer to when choosing your souvenirs.

Tip 2: Colors and tones

In addition to your style, keep in mind the colors and tones of your home and your current decor. The pictures of your rooms on your phone will serve you well. However, if you want to make sure that your purchase matches the color of your walls, be sure to pack a paint sample — a small piece of paper that you have painted in the color of your walls. Even simpler, you can bring a fresh color swatch, like the kind you find in the paint aisle of a hardware store.

Tip 3: Textures and patterns

Forgot to take pictures of your rooms and you don’t have color swatches? Don’t panic! The solution is to prioritize souvenirs in neutral colors with textures and patterns that will enhance your decor. A pretty braided rug, a woven blanket, a cushion with a cultural or graphic pattern are just a few examples of what you might find.

Tip 4: The format and materials

It is important to think about the sizes and materials of your souvenirs, if only for transport and cost. Because unless you have a container, your suitcases will be the only way to bring back your souvenirs. It’s for this reason that it’s better to opt for small, light, and malleable souvenirs. When I say “malleable,” think of a blanket or tablecloth that can easily bend.

When it comes to materials, opt for those that can withstand travel (glass may not be the best option) and that will hold their shape. For example, think about how wood is a natural, living material that deforms with humidity. A frame bought in Morocco where it is very dry may crack when you return to Quebec (Quebec and its humidity! My hair knows all about it).

Tip 5: Pictures

Pictures are still, without a doubt, the most versatile souvenir. Making photo albums is great, but integrating your pictures into your decor is even better! Print your photos in the format of your choice, on photo paper or canvas. Arrange them in frames to make an original collage on the wall, hang them on a string with small clothespins, pin them on a corkboard, create a tapestry, etc. With pictures, the only limit is your imagination!

I hope that you find these tips very useful. Otherwise, to preserve the memory of your travels, nothing is better than one of my hand-drawn world maps. Available in both original or personalized versions, my maps are perfect for any decor style and are sure to start vibrant conversations with anyone interested in the many places you’ve visited.

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