Souvenir Style

Little treasures -- from antique spoons to unique flea-market finds -- can be a decorating windfall. The Funky Shui sisters show you how to decorate with souvenirs.

may06decnews_souvenir_WellTraveledTextiles_V

Well-Traveled Textiles

Well-Traveled Textiles
By: Jennifer O'Neil and Kitty O'Neil

Global chic is everywhere. Walk through your local home decorating store and you’re bound to see motifs with international roots. Accessories like hand-carved bowls from Thailand, hand-woven kilims from Morocco, and hand-hammered tin mirrors from the Mayan Riviera infuse your decor with texture and color. But why buy the same picture frames and candleholders as your neighbors when you can add spice from your own personal travels? As you hit the road this summer, keep an eye out for decorator touches posing as souvenirs. Look for items your destination is famous for, such as linen from Ireland, pottery from Portugal, and baskets from the Bahamas. Then give those mementos a place of honor in your home and every time you see them, you’ll think of your trip to another country, not your trip to Pier One.

Fabrics from exotic locales pack well in your suitcase and pack a big punch in your decor. Look for locally crafted textiles like French country tablecloths in Provence, batik bedspreads in Bali, and raw-silk runners in India. Reverse appliqué Molas from Panama make bright and beautiful wall hangings. A cushion cover from Peru adds a touch of South America to any room. If your trip doesn’t take you abroad, you can still bring home fabulous fabric furnishings. Think quilts from the Amish country and wool from Pendleton, or visit a sidewalk art show for one-of-a kind pieces by local fiber artists. With such striking fabric accents, even your home will feel refreshed after your holiday.

may06decnews_souvenir_ExoticObjectDetailDog_V

Exotic Objects

Exotic Objects

To get a taste of jet-set style, seek out exciting objets d’art while you explore your destination. Don’t be daunted by large items or breakable pieces––many places will ship the item to your home. Taking a voyage to Venice? A hand-blown glass vase will look stunning on your credenza. Exploring Kenya? Hand-carved wooden animals will remind you of your wildlife safari (and seeing the Big Five!). How about a matte black rice bowl from Hong Kong? It will look like a modern work of art on your coffee table, and the prices in the markets are so good, why not get three? Get a Chinese Chop with a hand-carved puppy and you’ll never forget you went to China in the Year of the Dog.

may06decnews_souvenir_AdventuresinArt

Adventures in Art

Adventures in Art

For more global flair, mix color and character into your decor with folk art. You can buy original works right from the source while you’re on vacation. Visit the Huichol Indians in Mexico, learn about their culture, then bring home a colorful yarn painting made by the very same artists. Headed to the big city? You can buy "local folk" art there, too. Just watch for street artists selling watercolors of scenic hotspots. What exemplifies a trip to the Big Apple better than a painting of The Brooklyn Bridge? Once you decorate your home with real art from your travels, you’ll never hang mass-produced art on your walls again.

may06decnews_souvenir_VacationVignettesAardvarkDetail_V

Vacation Vignettes

Vacation Vignettes

Smaller souvenirs can make a big statement when arranged into travel vignettes. Russian Matryoshka dolls look like priceless collectibles when you showcase them with handpainted lacquer boxes. Buy postcards or take photos to serve as backdrops for your displays. Show petrified wood from Arizona in front of a postcard of the Grand Canyon. Exhibit evil eyes from Istanbul with a picture of you buying them at the bazaar. These vignettes are ideal if you already have lots of little mementos from past trips. On their own they might be hodgepodge, but displayed with your best snapshots, they become a three-dimensional vacation scrapbook that is a custom decorator touch.

may06decnews_souvenir_GiftShopChicMatchbooks_V

Gift Shop Chic

Gift Shop Chic

Kitschy keepsakes are inexpensive and irresistible! And if you love this look but think it isn’t decorator-chic, think again. Vintage state map fabrics are showing up in decorator showrooms, and you can get your own as tea towels on your next trip to a roadside Stuckey’s! Other classic souvenirs, like snow globes, floaty pens, and magnets, can make a big statement grouped together in a big collection. Thirty snow globes side-by-side make a whimsical conversation piece. One hundred matchbooks from around the world add spark to a plain vase. State spoons, teacups, and plates look charming together––and these silly souvenirs are practical, too. Next time you have the book club over, break out the teacups and lighten the mood with Key Lime Pie served on a Florida state plate. Now that’s souvenir style!

More Funky Shui Inspiration:

Sisters Kitty and Jennifer O’Neil are authors of Decorating With Funky Shui (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2004). The San Francisco duo credits their parents and their grandfather (Chic Young, the creator of the Blondie comic strips) for their distinctive style. For more, visit their Funky Shui website, www.funkyshui.com.

Next Up

How to Rewire a Lamp

No need to toss that old lamp. Follow these easy steps for rewiring a light, making it good as new.

How to Display Your Collection Without Looking Like a Hoarder

Don't confuse a collection for clutter. When displayed the right way, the things you love can make an artful statement in your home.

50 Pieces of Art You Can Buy on Etsy

There's a whole world of art on Etsy. Whether you're a casual collector or an art museum curator-in-training, shop unique wall art, sculptures and digital prints from artists all over the globe.

How to Whitewash Wood: Whitewashing and Pickling Techniques

Easily brighten and add rustic charm to furniture and a variety of wood surfaces with these budget-friendly whitewashing and pickling techniques.

How to Turn an Old Washing Machine Drum Into a Fire Pit

Transform what otherwise would be trash into an outdoor treasure. Start with a tossed-out washing machine drum, which you can pick up at an appliance repair shop or scrap yard.

How to Paint a Retro Floral Design on a Dresser

See how we used ice cream sticks to give an old dresser a funky 1970s-inspired look.

How to Paint an Abstract Landscape Design on a Dresser

Learn how to revive an old piece of furniture by refinishing it in a colorful trompe l'oeil-inspired design.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Baby

Expecting an addition to your family? Consider safety, storage and comfort to get your home ready for a baby.

Make a Wall Organizer From Upcycled Hardwood Flooring

Concur clutter with this easy-to-build hanging helper made from hardwood flooring.

The Home Essentials You Should Always Buy New (Plus, the Ones to Get Secondhand!)

We're all about shopping vintage and scoring secondhand treasures, but some home items are simply worth buying new.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.