Home decor tips to create a travel-inspired interior design


In today’s world filled with opportunities for excitement and enthuse, people are stepping out for travel and expressing a strong desire to bring back their stories by incorporating elements from their experiences. They are beginning to envision how they can take shelter in a place while still being able to reminisce the things they love and surround themselves with an ambience that brings them happiness—with memories, both physical and emotional, into their homes.

Home decor tips to create a travel-inspired interior design (Photo by Maria Orlova on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Interior Designer Punam Kalra, Creative Director of I’m the Centre for Applied Arts, shared, “Much like travel, architecture and design take us beyond the physical world—it interacts with the emotion by engaging the senses, transcending time and place. The flow of spaces are willing to take a thematic turn to bring people closer to their travel experiences—be it a memory of the past or a dream for the future. Such travel-inspired themes speak for the vagabonds out there with a museful rendition of the travel scenes that spark the vibe of a certain somewhere.” She suggested:

  • Instilling muse in compositions

An experience is foretold by a narrative composition. It can be pondered into, with elements as straightforward as the interior setting of a specific destination. A hotel stay from the past can be recalled by a hotel-at-home environment with an extravagant indoor pool, featuring a sauna and other relaxation points on par with a luxury hotel spa. On the other hand, it can be seen that the outdoor spaces with resort-like amenities evoke the feeling of a sanctuary at home—an outdoor spa and fire pit area, along with oversized, hand-crafted swings come together to create a scenic destination within the walls of one’s own backyard.

Further down the memory lane, international experiences like a trip to the Italian countryside can be cited by farm-to-table experiences with a relaxed dining setup in the outdoors, with an imposing dining pavilion and an elegant greenhouse conservatory—these subtle details create a seamless flow from the backyard microfarm somewhere in Italy, to the alfresco dining-room table in a metropolitan city. On the contrary, an urban, NYC-inspired design can have a very industrial feeling to it—exposed brick textures, metal accents, Edison lightbulbs, modern artworks and a medley of new and vintage décor pieces. This theme can be brought together in a monochrome theme—a straight black and white base with hints of pop colours like scarlet red or yellow.

Tuscan interior design is a beautiful and sophisticated style. We’re not referring to your mom’s “Tuscan-inspired” kitchen from the early 2000s when referencing this design. No, true Tuscan-inspired design is much simpler and more refined. Tuscan designs often feature warm colours, large tile flooring, dark woods, stucco, and exposed beams.

  • Spelling excitement in the moodboards

Moodboards paint the picture of the travel experiences. Creating a blend of exciting colours—either inspired by the adventures or simply complementing them—can make the different elements of a space come together under a common theme. For example, the feeling of a coastal getaway can be recreated with a beach-inspired palette with sparkling blues, sublime beiges, lighter pinks and softer yellows. Since the goal of a coastal getaway is to make you feel transported to the beach, the beach-inspired homes can go for a very light, airy, and effortless vibe original to the theme, with seaside colours and hints of light-hued distressed wood to set the tone. For the décor, instead of going with the same old souvenir show with hefty seashell décor and anchor prints, the space can make room for a statement wall art depicting peaceful beach scenes or other seafaring subjects.

Bringing the other side of travel memories are the earthen colour palettes, with moss greens, cedar browns, light grey and terracotta that rekindle the mystique of the woods and the mountains. An interior styled as a mountain cabin design can go straight for the natural materials like wood and stone. The colour scheme can typically be neutral, with an emphasis on cool colours like greys and creams to bring out the feeling of a hillside retreat. Here, the décor elements can include matte black hardware, leather furniture, and the traces of elements found in nature, like antlers or raw edge wood.

An escape to the tropics is equally exciting. Turning a space into a tropical retreat can be as fun as a Hawaiian vacation—the space can go all-green, with a burst of fresh hues like apricot oranges, deep-sea blues and sunshine yellows inspired from the tropical land. The décor character can be highlighted by pieces handcrafted in natural materials like cane, rattan, jute, and bamboo.

When in doubt, a good neutral colour palette can always look purposeful and sophisticated. Neutral spaces can rise in style with custom accessories like printed tapestries, embroidered throws, chimerical chests, dated consoles, memoir art and souvenirs that bring the picture of glimpses from the travel experiences with a generous mix of styles and memories alike.

  • Adding character with the layers

The connectivity to travel through the vehicle of design can recreate a sensational experience, irrespective of the scale—even the smallest nod, like the scent a candle or a weave of a basket can kindle the sentiment from the experiences. These layers of décor help bring back the fragments of culture from the places travelled to—original indigenous pieces, handmade works and more can reflect an era, a culture or a place. More modern influences are also gaining popularity as collectibles, street art or personalized commissioned pieces from local artists, that can hang on the walls or get into a travel collection in dedicated, built-in niches. Similarly, for keepsakes that hold a very personal connection, there can be storage chests in the interior, which let people create a thread to their experiences and save its details.

The concept of travel is plural, much like the memories and the memoirs. It can be underlined by a rich layering of materials like embossed metals, inlayed stones, engraved ceramics, appliqued textiles and more that add character to a neutral space. The furnishings can stand out with mix-matched throw cushions made from native textiles or assorted wall plates painted with tribal art. These décor pieces give cues for beginning a conversation while giving the opportunity for people to tell the story behind that particular piece of art.

  • Exuding an old world charm

Sometimes, a specific memento might influence a design element, a colour scheme, or the desire to highlight it within the home—it is often the elements from the past, that have a special meaning to them. Including oldfangled details like pre-loved pieces and custom collection of textiles, pottery, art or books can exude a nostalgic feeling that can drive the theme of the space in a time-honoured style. The outdated objects can also be brought back to life such as a motif from a metal gate used as a wall hanging, a plank from a carved door repurposed as a coffee table or an antique cabinet made into a powder room vanity. Such a home can be where the old pieces get reborn with the same old meaning, but in a new look.

In the bigger picture, some parts of a home can look like they are right out of a 90s movie—with a trussed roof, carved beams, colonnaded passages and panelled walls that give a glimpse of the old way of living. Solid wood, genuine leather and other materials sourced in original during the travel experiences can also add to the moodboard of the space and make the bygone era come alive.

Tangible traditions introduce a unique way of dwelling in old-world charm. The travel destination, no matter where it is—regional or global, can make way for indigenous works, that will someday find their way to your home. The home or its part can talk about globetrotting with those elements that come with an ethnic edge like the rugs from Turkey, ceramicware from China, tiles from Portugal, among another traditional decor that can be traced back to a particular place. Composing these assortments in an essentially neutral setting gives enough room for the individuality of the pieces to stand out, without giving up on the old-world charm they hold in common.

Ankit Ojha and Anand Ojha, Principal Designers of Anand Atelier Associate, said, “he most wonderful thing about travelling is it let’s you explore the unexplored, it showcases you the infinite possibilities the world holds for us. Travelling gives us the different perspective towards our lives. Not everyone can travel whenever wherever they want to but you can surely have their interiors inspired from wherever they want.”

Encouraging to design your space in a way that it inspires you, motivates you and let your souls be free and happy, they recommended:

There must be places you have visited and have fallen in love with it. Inspire your corners from those places.

Let’s say we want to have Goa vibes in our corner, we will instantly think of bright color with visible wooden texture furniture. The flooring will be of oxide or printed tiles and to add on we can have few planter pot besides it and with your favourite books stack around will definitely lock the vibe.

In the same way we can have our corners inspired from any place of your choice just by picking few tits and bits from that place.

Design your spaces with a theme. It can be a cool undertone theme for the space or it can be a warm theme with earthy color palette. Deciding the theme will make it more easy to have the vibe of that place we are looking to be inspired from. Let’s say our theme is traditional or contemporary or minimalist or maximalist, deciding these themes will guide us towards the selection of pieces including furniture and artwork.

Blending colors and prints is the easiest way to bring light and breezy interiors to the space. Mixing patterns, floral cushions, and a pop of pastels to your living rooms will bring a bright and fresh look to the space. We can have our colors and prints as per our theme.

We can opt from bright colors like orange, sunny yellow, soothing green, calm blue. For subtle we can choose from neutral tones, grey hues, and earthy shades that will bring a soothing vibe to your space.

When travelling to different place, details are something which cannot go unnoticed. Few places have edgy furniture, they have it all in straight lines and sleek designs, few places have bulky furniture while other have with have an intricate carving detail done on it. The details on the furniture done by the craftsman and artisans are inspired from their places. Bringing these details will bring the whole vibe of the place along with it.



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