Keeping Vacation Memories Alive

A biblioteque of my design in our TV room is filled with beach vacation memories - sand dollars, sea shells, starfish & treasures I've found while away. Photo (C) Nancy E. Hill

We all love going on vacation – a chance to relax and rejuvenate in a new place with our family and friends. I’ve also found that vacations can provide a wealth of design inspiration – whether an aged front door of a Nantucket fishing cottage or the sun-drenched exterior of a pueblo in New Mexico.

Even a ‘staycation’ can be insightful. If I take a stroll around New York City’s Chinatown or SoHo, or a morning trip to my favorite local spa – my creative juices start flowing and I’ll bring home a bit of what I see and find a place for it in my home.

So whether your getaway is a day at the beach, a week in France, or an afternoon exploring a neighboring village, keep the sensory memories of your trip alive and vibrant by incorporating them into your decorating. Here are my tips on bringing vacation-inspired décor into your home.

  • Photography – take pictures wherever you go! Enlarge and frame the most memorable of the lot, grouping photos together on your walls for greater impact.
  • Shadow boxes – objects and treasures from your travels can be incorporated into shadow boxes to be hung on the wall, or displayed on a shelf or mantle. Make a beach memory box with pieces of sea glass, sea shells, sponges or small rocks from a favorite spot on the shore.
  • Recreate a spa – light fragrant aromatherapy candles or incense as you soak in the tub. Pamper yourself with spa products and wrap yourself in a luxurious robe. Bring home bath salts or bubble bath from the gift shop at your local spa, or a boutique near your getaway.
  • Map memories.  If you have a particular favorite travel destiny, use the map of that place to frame as wall art, or decoupage or glue the map on a “treasure box,” on the back of a book shelf, or to the back of a bulletin board.  I actually wallpapered my son’s bathroom with a collection of maps from Long Island.
  • Create a lasting bouquet.  Gather wildflowers, seedpods, pinecones, branches or other botanicals that you can dry and gather into a bouquet that will encourage memories of your special place all season long.

Inspiration is all around you.  When you give yourself the gift of leisure this summer, think of how you can relive those moments with the souvenirs you find in nature, create with your family, or uncover yourself in your travels.  These are the finds and treasures that will make your home cozy, personal and uniquely special.


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