Been There, Done That: 9 Ways to Bring Your Vacation Home
Make the memories last with these keepsake ideas for every kind of trip.
Just a guess, but I'll bet you have big plans for summer vacation. Maybe you’re going to a music festival, camping in the mountains, relaxing on the beach or adventuring abroad. (Seriously, can I tag along?)
Wherever you wander, you’ll want to savor those memories long after the trip’s over. We’ve broken down some clever keepsake ideas to help commemorate your summer adventures.
For Every Destination
Higlight Your Headboard
Susan Teare, Design by Joanne Palmissano, Photo by Susan Teare
No matter where you're headed, it's safe to say that you'll find postcards along the way. To display them back home, wrap your headboard with twine and use clothespins to highlight special locations from your trip.
Design a Gallery Wall
As an alternative, you can also create a gallery wall for your collection. Print pics from your trip and pair them with postcards, tickets and maps, or frame several pages from the same atlas. Using frames in similar sizes and shapes will help achieve a cohesive yet collected aesthetic.
For the Music Fest
Show Off Your Lineup
Lanyards, stickers, tickets and wristbands are necessities at concerts, but can seem pointless to keep once the show’s over. To give these tokens new purpose, hang them from a length of twine in order of each event. Now you have a band-inspired banner.
Upcycle Those T-Shirts
After all the music festivals you’ve attended, you probably have quite the t-shirt collection. Set aside the ones you love but don’t wear as often and upcycle them into decorative rugs and throw pillows for your bedroom.
For the Mountains
Sketch Your Surroundings
Rather than pick and preserve flowers during your stay in the mountains, consider sketching the local flora and fauna in a notebook. Not only will your drawings be easier to display in picture frames later, but they’ll also help conservation efforts.
Pick Your Park
Of course, if you really want to bring the great outdoors into your home, you can always draw color-inspiration from our national park palettes or purchase vintage posters of your favorite landmarks.
Smoky Mountains National Park Palette
Set against the dusky blue of the Appalachian Mountains, the rolling hills and rocky cliffsides of Great Smoky Mountains National Park spring to life each June with the blooming of the native Catawba rhododendrons. Found only at elevations greater than 3,500 feet, the large shrubs, loaded with clusters of purple-pink blooms, are a special treat for visitors to the park’s highest peaks, particularly above Chimney Tops Trailhead, Alum Cave Trail and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. To add a pop of their cheery fuchsia hue to your home, try Benjamin Moore Hot Lips (2077-30). For a dose of earthy green, mix a bit of Balsam (567) or Basil Green (2029-10) into your color palette. If blue is your color of choice, take a cue from the mountains’ smoky shade: Schooner (AF-520) works beautifully as a backdrop while the punchy peach of Sausalito Sunset (074) would be best as a small accent. (All colors by Benjamin Moore.)
Rocky Mountain National Park Palette
At Rocky Mountain National Park, the landscape is so huge that visitors find themselves intrigued by the small things, especially wildflowers in spring and summer. Here, pops of yellow, purple and green in the foreground provide a contrast with the snow-capped gray stone cliffs as the backdrop. Colors inspired by the landscape include: (L to R) Behr Gallery White (PPU12-12), Benjamin Moore Sun Kissed Yellow (2022-20), Behr Sagebrush Green (Sc-138, stain), Benjamin Moore Seduction (1399), Benjamin Moore Polo Blue (2062-10). You can also bring in the brighter colors via fabric and accessories, while iron furniture would be a great resource for the almost-black hue.
Acadia National Park Palette
A road trip to Acadia National Park in Maine is a dream come true. You'll have a spiritual moment watching the sun break though the clouds on these cliffs. Cool colors naturally dominate this palette, and the cliffs are actually composed of granite. Sounds like a kitchen makeover is in order! Colors (L to R): Valspar Pantone Tannin (PN11060), Behr Flannel Gray (N520-3), California Paints Blueberry Muffin (DE-5851), Cloverdale Paint Sky Watch (7362), Sherwin-Williams Espalier (SW 6734).
Joshua Tree National Park Palette
For a place that's so dry and rocky, it's amazing how colorful Joshua Tree National Park is. The iconic Suess-like Joshua Trees themselves offer rich shades of gray, brown and green. On a clear day, the blue hues of the sky vary across the landscape. And let's not forget about the sunsets! To get this look at home, set the stage with neutral walls (Sherwin-Williams Peach Blossom, SW 6624). Layer in color and texture with jute, burlap or linen fabrics. Accessories in shades of light blues (Bluebell, SW 6793) and greens (Leap Frog, SW 6431) pop against a deep green accent wall (Evergreens, SW 6447).
Grand Canyon National Park Palette
Most Instagrams of the famous South Rim sunset make the canyon seem fiery red but the layers of rock are actually made up of soft tans, plums and blush. The canyon, like a chameleon, changes as the sun rises and falls and as the clouds sweep across, casting deep shadows. To get the look in your home, paint your walls a tan with just a hint of violet like Sherwin-Williams Greek Villa (SW 7551) or Roman Column (SW 7562). Opt for a cognac leather couch or club chairs for that orangey-brown hue in the rock. Mix and match Persian or Spanish-style rugs with plums, deep blues and dusty purple to play with shades in the sky and shadows in the canyon.
Redwood National Park Palette
Known for its vast forest of towering sequoias, Redwood National Park is also home to winding rivers, prairies and miles and miles of gorgeous coastline. But it’s the magnificent California redwoods – some believed to be 2,000 years old – that draw most visitors to this majestic park. You can embrace the park’s natural beauty in your home with the use of subtle reds, vibrant greens and calming neutrals that tie the palette together. Colors (L to R): Benjamin Moore Amber Waves (2159-40), Behr Rodeo Red (200D-7), Sherwin-Williams Offbeat Green (SW 6706), Sherwin-Williams Sturdy Brown (SW 6097).
Everglades National Park Palette
Known as the "largest subtropical wilderness in the United States," Everglades National Park is located on the southern tip of Florida and was created to protect a fragile ecosystem. This network of wetlands is home to numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee and American crocodile. Recreate the essence of this national treasure with a paint palette of cool blues and greens. Park-inspired colors (all from Benjamin Moore) include: Paddington Blue (791), Highland Breeze (783), and Woodland Hills Green (543).
Yosemite National Park Palette
Nestled in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park beckons all travelers with its famously sheer rock faces and grandest views. Remarkably green and lush, its easy to see why it became the spiritual home of John Muir, father of the national parks idea. Bring the spirit home with a Yosemite-inspired palette of (L to R): Sherwin-Williams Optimistic Yellow (SW 6900), Jubilee (SW 6248), Benjamin Moore Dark Celery (2146-10), Sherwin-Williams Silken Peacock (SW 9059), and Behr Cedar Naturaltone (SC-533, stain).
Yellowstone National Park Palette
Yellowstone, the country's first national park, is best known for its geothermic features, such as geysers and hot springs. Grand Prismatic Spring gains its rich jewel-toned palette from the water’s dramatic temperature change and the variety of organisms that can live within the mineral-rich water. If you’re looking for a bold wall color, the blues and teals of the pool are the perfect inspiration, while travertine-colored furniture and brown trim can break up the saturation. For a more subdued space, flip the palette and use the travertine colors on the walls and the jewel tones as furnishings and accents. Color palette (L to R): Benjamin Moore Evening Blue (BM 2066-20), Behr Mystic Turquoise (P450-7), Sherwin-Williams Rhumba Orange (SW 6642), Glidden Marshmallow White (30YY 83/012), Valspar Gypsy Leather (3009-8).
Glacier Bay National Park Palette
Known for its magnificent tidewater glaciers and unspoiled wilderness, Glacier Bay National Park is an incredible sight to see in the American Northwest. Calving glaciers float in a sea of rippling deep blue with towering snow-capped mountains layered above a pristine coastline. You can bring the look of Alaska’s Glacier Bay into your home by embracing a natural palette of cool, icy blues that mimic the park’s glaciers, sea-filled icebergs and rugged mountains covered in snow. (L to R, all by Sherwin-Williams): North Star (SW 6246), Dynamic Blue (SW 6958), Distance (SW 6243), Endless Sea (SW 9150).
Arches National Park Palette
In no other place are the sands of time captured more gracefully than at Arches National Park. Erosion carved the striking shelters out of sandstone over thousands of years. You can bring the beauty of Arches home by embracing orange, the color of the rock, and pairing it with bright blue reminiscent of the sky. The following colors are inspired by this photo from Arches, but you can also use the palette to bring in accessories, such as pillows or vases in orange or sky blue, or the darkest blue-black through slate. (L to R): Benjamin Moore Peach Stone (094), Sherwin-Williams Osage Orange (SW 6890), Benjamin Moore Electric Orange (2015-10), Sherwin-Williams, Flyway (SW 6794), Behr Dark Navy (S530-7).
Glacier National Park Palette
Located in the northwest corner of Montana and spanning the Continental Divide, Glacier National Park is known as a hikers’ paradise. More than 700 miles of trails wind around soaring rocky peaks, past icy-blue glacial lakes and through flower-dotted alpine meadows. Glacier's beauty has been called “raw and untamed” and the stunning views, lush forests and local wildlife are not to be missed. To bring the park’s beauty into your home use shades of blue-gray accented with vivid greens and fuchsias. (L to R): Benjamin Moore Twilight Magenta (2074-30), Sherwin-Williams Paradise (SW 6720), Valspar Loyalty (4006-7C), Farrow & Ball Pitch Blue (220), Sherwin-Williams In the Navy (SW 9178)
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Palette
The vast volcanic landscape of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is at once both strikingly beautiful and fiercely terrifying. Home to Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the most active and massive volcanoes in the world, the park’s landscape is a stunning, ever-changing fusion of black scalded deserts, lush green tropical rainforests and fiery orange flows of fresh lava. It has long been believed that the strong-willed and capricious volcano goddess Pele inhabits Kilauea’s Halemaumau caldera from where she created and continues to shape the Hawaiian Islands. Bring the unparalleled hues of Hawaii Volcanoes home with (L to R): Benjamin Moore Juno Peach (087), Benjamin Moore Tangy Orange (2014-30), Sherwin-Williams Bold Brick, and Benjamin Moore Onyx (2133-10). For an extra luxurious look, choose pillows, throws or other accent pieces in rich emerald green.
Channel Islands National Park Palette
Off the coast of Los Angeles is another world entirely, Channel Islands National Park, made up of five main islands jutting out of the ocean. The bare island landscape provides a stunningly open view of the mighty Pacific. Take that open, airy, oceanic feel home with you through a Channel Islands-inspired palette (L to R): Benjamin Moore Ocean Air (2123-50), Benjamin Moore Barley Grass (271), Behr Deep River (P500-6), Benjamin Moore Jet Black (2120-10).
Dry Tortugas National Park Palette
Travel by boat or seaplane to the very end of the Florida Keys and you'll find Dry Tortugas National Park — a tropical island paradise stocked with colorful, undisturbed coral reefs, rare marine and bird species and pristine white sand beaches. The park's most notable feature, however, is the massive, brick-laden Fort Jefferson, a naval fortress that was used as a Union prison during the Civil War and holds the record as the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. But if you can't make it to this tropical oasis just yet, no worries! Recreate its utilitarian-meets-coastal look by mixing industrial favorites such as exposed brick and weathered wood with paints and fabrics in unexpected turquoise and bright green hues. Dry Tortugas-inspired color palette (L to R): Valspar Dancing Mist (5005-7A), Benjamin Moore Teacup Rose (2170-50), Benjamin Moore Poolside Blue (2048-40), Valspar Spearmint Burst (6003-10A), Benjamin Moore Twilight Dreams (049).
Sitka National Park Palette
Incorporate a nature-inspired look in your home without decorating in the usual green and taupe by looking for inspiration in unexpected outdoor places. If you ever visit Sitka National Park in Alaska, you can't miss the colorful totems. To translate this look into your home's design, combine weathered wood accents with muted colors and black. Color palette: Behr Matador's Cape (M160-6), Salt Glaze (PPU-12-11) and Ink Black (N490-7).
Olympic National Park Palette
Located on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park covers nearly a million acres and encompasses three distinct ecosystems: glacier-capped mountains, rugged coast and majestic old-growth temperate rain forest. In Hoh Rain Forest (pictured), ferns and mosses drape towering Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees, creating an unbelievably lush canopy of green. The Hoh River, which gets its milky blue color from glacial sediment, meanders between the trees. To bring the look of this magnificent forest to your home, start with an earthy neutral backdrop, then layer in accessories in leafy greens and watery blues. Color palette: Benjamin Moore Porcini (CSP-195), Sherwin-Williams Houseplant SW 6727, Sherwin-Williams Picnic (SW 6731), Behr Tropical Waterfall (P460-2), Behr Underwater (PPU12-20).
Fire Island National Park Palette
Fire Island National Seashore is a 26-mile stretch of a barrier island that sits between the Atlantic Ocean and Great South Bay on Long Island, New York’s south shore. There are only two bridges leading to Fire Island and no public roads within the seashore (only parkland). The Fire Island Lighthouse was built in 1826. At that time it was at the western end of the island, but due to the natural movement of sand on a barrier island, the lighthouse is now located five miles from the western end of the island. Color palette (L to R): Benjamin Moore Redstone (2009-10), Benjamin Moore Amber (168), Sherwin-William Nacre (SW 6154), Sherwin-William Sea Serpent (SW 7615), Olympic Viva La Bleu (OL634.3).
For the Beach
Save the Sand and Sea Glass
Heading to the beach this weekend? Bring a mason jar to fill with small treasures like sand, sea glass and shells. Once you get home, you can top the stack with tea lights to create a custom candle.
For the Adventure Abroad
Reimagine Luggage Tags
If you’re like me, you might have a habit of saving every little thing from your trip, luggage tags included. Instead of letting these travel essentials gather dust in a drawer, repurpose them into mini-wallets or napkin holders that you can use on a daily basis.
Maps, Maps, Maps
Now that you've trotted across the globe, you might develop a mild of case of wanderlust upon returning home. Keep the post-trip blues at bay by mounting a vintage map to your mantel or wall where you can enjoy it every day.
Side of Style
One vintage suitcase plus four salvaged spindles equals one super cute side table with a story. Whether it's your old suitcase that's been everywhere with you or a new-to-you version you picked up at an antique store, this project is an easy way to give your home instant character. Get the instructions >>
If DIY isn't really your thing, consider simply placing a vintage suitcase on top of a chair or stool for all the style with none of the power tools.
Bring decoupage back into your DIY arsenal with this adorable kids' chair update. Adhering colorful paper maps to plain white chairs is a simple way to give your little ones a taste of the great big world. Get the instructions >>
Center(piece) of the Earth
Vibrant and colorful, this eclectic red dining room mixes in a collection of globes with different heights and sizes for an unexpected school-house style.
Ruff Air Ahead
It looks like we have a stowaway on our hands. You may not be able to pack him in your suitcase, but you can still give man's best friend a comfy spot to lay his head. This upcycled suitcase is just the ticket. Get the instructions >>
A Different Route
You can't go wrong when hanging a colorful map, but to put a fresh spin on a classic look, try segmenting the map and framing each part before displaying it on the wall. Get the instructions >>
If classic maps are more your style, try creating your own frame for a perfectly-customized look. This large map of Texas looks amazing when paired with a handmade frame consisting of inexpensive cedar fencing. Visit Domestic Imperfection for the full instructions.
What a View
With this easy tutorial, you can transform a plain backsplash with recycled maps for an unexpected and inexpensive way to see the world (even while doing the dishes). Get the instructions >>
Give your child a taste for adventure with a bedroom designed to ignite their passion for travel. A well-worn map hangs on the wall, while a globe on the dresser will have them picking out their dream destinations.
Rest Your Case
This project looks amazing with a vintage suitcase, but an old army trunk would also be a great choice. Hairpin legs give the entire look a designer quality, while the size of the suitcase makes for the perfect coffee table. Get the instructions >>
This DIY is so easy, you'll be adding maps to everything in the house. Simply wrap a glass votive with a map cut to size. Then secure the map with a bit of glue. But since you are using paper, be sure to only use battery-operated candles in these cuties.
Handmade Travel Map Ornaments
“Long ago, I had an idea that I'd like to collect a Christmas ornament from each country that I visit, but that turned out to be harder than I expected,” says Angela Neese Rathbun of Blue i Style. So instead, she decided to create her own ornaments with maps to commemorate each of her travel destinations. “My number one priority was to make the ornaments simple enough that it will be quick and easy to add more over the years as we check more cities and countries off of our travel bucket list,” Rathbun says.