There’s nothing quite like travel to broaden your horizons and change your outlook on the world, and it’s only natural to want to bring a piece of the experience home with you at the end of your trip. Cutesy souvenirs and suitcase-sized bric-a-brac are certainly an option, but Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, suggests a subtler – and more effective – way of bringing your holiday experience home.
“Travel is a huge décor inspiration for a lot of people,” he says, “from regular globe-trotters, to once-in-a-lifetime tourists and armchair travellers with an eye for exotic style. Interior designers all over the world are embracing international cultures and styles, and are bringing them into homes using combinations of colour, texture and key furniture pieces to evoke the spirit of a destination.”
This, says Rawson, is the key to successfully bringing that holiday feeling home.
“It’s about creating the right ambiance, rather than making a carbon-copy of whatever inspirational place you’re emulating,” he says.
Greece and the Mediterranean
Greek style is all about light, space and contrast, with crisp, white walls and floors highlighting accents of azure and natural wood. These combinations bring to mind the traditional whitewashed houses on stony, sun-drenched hillsides overlooking sparking seas.Designers suggest keeping clean, simple lines, and avoiding unnecessary details like elaborate cornices or skirtings. Painted concrete floors and handwoven rugs and throws work well, as do sheer curtains and white-painted wooden shutters.
“If you’re heading to Greece, pick up a few of the local textiles and some traditional ceramics as souvenirs,” says Rawson. “These are easy enough to pack in a suitcase or ship home, and will add a great personal touch to any Greek-inspired home.”
There has been a huge surge in popularity of French country décor over the last decade, and many local shops stock French-inspired furniture and accessories. While these may vary in shape and detail, the common thread is one of rustic simplicity and distressed finishes that imply a long history daily use and love.
To achieve a French country feel in your home, don’t be afraid to be eclectic – the style embraces mismatched collections that appear to have been assembled over time. Walls tend towards muted shades of cream, grey or pastel, with matt wood or stone floors, and raw wood or painted furniture. Accents of sage, lavender and copper add colour and shine, with soft furnishings in printed cotton, linen, and twine.
“Areas like Provence are also renowned for their olives, so why not pick up an olive wood accessory or two to add to your décor if you’re in the region,” says Rawson. “Otherwise, try trawling the antique stores for a genuine, pre-loved piece of French history.”
Mexico’s bold, colourful style provides plenty of inspiration for vibrant home décor, featuring bright, contrasting colours in unusual combinations, highlighted with wood, leather, embroidery and prints.
To create a sophisticated Mexican feel, try pairing rich colours like teal, deep red and brilliant green. Use one or two bold colours on the walls and bring the rest in through accessories like rugs, vases, artworks, pillows and throws. Keep finishes rustic, with raw wood and leather accents, and add texture with fabrics and embroidered designs. Keep in mind the playful Mexican spirit and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
“Mexico’s handmade rugs are both beautiful and unusual, and really capture the colourful and vibrant spirit of the place,” says Rawson. “They are a wonderful option to bring home as a stylish reminder of a great holiday trip.”
Not all holidays have to be far from home, especially when you’re lucky enough to live in an incredible place like South Africa, and our safari lodges have been making waves not only amongst tourists but designers as well. Far from the animal-print and taxidermied antelope of old, modern safari design is a sophisticated affair of understated elegance.
Earth tones feature highly, showcasing clay reds and soil browns against sun-bleached whites and dry-grass-gold. Texture is equally important – think polished wood, beaten copper and coir rope. Rustic ceramics, abstract sculptures and tranquil African landscapes are also great additions.
“African souvenirs are extremely beautiful,” says Rawson. “Large, handwoven baskets, artistic carvings or atmospheric photographic prints are great options to bring a luxurious safari feel into yourhome.”