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How I decorate with memories
from vacations & special places

by | Apr 29, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Details, Inspired Living

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How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

I have been blessed to have traveled to some lovely and memorable places in my life. I think traveling has stretched and shaped my sense of what is beautiful in this world, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had. I am definitely inspired by travel!

Some of the places I’ve been are far away lands like Italy, Germany, France, Budapest and England, sometimes the adventure has been a little closer like the East coast or over to Canada or Hawaii. Most often I go to places closer to home in the Northwest like the quaint neighborhoods of Portland and Seattle or my beloved Cannon Beach. But no matter where I’ve been, I try to collect sketches, drawings or paintings from my travels to not only decorate my home but to remind me of great memories and beautiful places.

How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

Sometimes I choose art depicting beautiful scenery I fell in love with during my travels, sometimes memorable experiences like of a gondola in Venice, and sometimes of architecture I loved like castles in Europe or a street in a favorite town or a charming hotel where my husband and I spent an anniversary.

They are all unique, but they each hold special memories that I love to hold onto and treasure. I think it is part of my naturally romantic view of life, I want to hold on to beautiful places and memories as long as I can!

How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

Having these memories framed on my walls or sitting on bookshelves or window sills makes me smile (at least inside!) every time I pass by! I have very little art or decor in my home that isn’t directly related to a personal memory. Ever since my husband and I got married and bought our first travel art during an anniversary trip, I have collected memories to keep.

How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

Why would I invest in random art for my walls that ends up discarded when the next design fad comes along? My art will always be right at home with me, whatever style of home I have. More important than the art itself is what it means to me! I love what it represents.

Since I usually have very little money to spend, I almost always buy fairly inexpensive prints, or art directly from an artist on the street. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Sometimes I just buy hotel postcards or greeting cards (particularly line drawings), area maps, brochures, and now and then I bring home a book or some other piece that reminds me of a special place (for instance, I brought home The Orient Express book by Agatha Christie after a trip on the famous train!).

How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

In this house I haven’t yet put up all of my travel art  since I wanted to paint my walls first. I am eagerly awaiting the day all of my travel memories are where I can see them!

I wish I had it all out right now so I could show you more, but I guess that will save something fun for a future post.

Unfortunately there are many places I have been that I didn’t bring home any art, so I am going to start finding it on ebay or ordering it online so I can enjoy more of those sweet memories.

How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

Even if you haven’t traveled far from home, you can use this same idea of travel art for preserving special memories close to home. I have line drawings and sketches I have bought from favorite cafes, old neighborhood movie theatres, favorite neighborhoods, houses I have lived in and a favorite flower from a local park. Simple memories are so much more powerful when they are in visual form!

How I decorate with memories <br>from vacations & special places

One of my water colors from a vacation is of a Westie at the beach, our 15 year old dog Winston has always LOVED our traditional family beach vacations so it makes a sweet memory!

If you don’t happen to have anything else from your vacations, you could also enlarge and frame your vacation photos  as a way of preserving those memories while decorating a wall. I have a little project in mind do just that!

For more inspiration, check out my framed maps of places I’ve been!

What do you like to bring home from travels?
And, what has inspired you this week?

Let’s link up our posts, shall we?! And be a pal, link back to this post if you include your linky!

Want to see what I was inspired by? As in, my vacation post? Head on over here to see where I’ve been the past week and what it meant to me!


    • Melissa

      I messed it up. Again. LOL. I’m awful with these linkies. I think I have it fixed now? So sorry!

  1. Natasha

    Thanks so much for having me Melissa.

    Thanks also for the great ideas on framing holiday memories. Any plans for a trip Down-Under soon!?

    Best wishes,
    PS Those linky things are a pain sometimes aren’t they!!
    .-= Natasha´s last blog ..Fast and Easy Pasta and Prawns =-.

    • Melissa

      Oh, I WISH I could go Down-Under…Someday!!! That would be amazing!

    • Melissa

      Thanks for always being so prompt with your linky and for your patience with my FAILED attempts at it! I should be fired. LOL.

  2. marsha

    Melissa, I do the very same thing and have wonderful representations of my memories from so many places.
    .-= marsha´s last blog ..rain rain.. =-.

    • Melissa

      You are a kindred spirit! xo

  3. Marie

    Hello sweet Melissa – thank you for hosting this sweet party! And allowing me to link up something special that inspired me this week. My precious Emma – kindness – meaningful moments.

    Love your artwork!

    .-= Marie´s last blog ..chair {re}covery =-.

  4. Laryssa

    I think it’s time to frame some of my vacation photos!
    .-= Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home´s last blog ..Saying Hi… =-.

  5. Erin

    I love this idea! What a great way to keep memories of all your great travels. I am going to Europe this spring and I may have to borrow your idea!

  6. Lindsay

    Thanks for the linky party. Your prints are stunning~ what a great way to remember vacations by… I love that! My husband and I collect Christmas ornaments when we go on vacation. We started it on our honeymoon last year!

    A Design Story
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..Reader’s Tell All: All Made Up? =-.

  7. Tara G.

    We do the same thing- we had an assignment where we were given money to travel (rough job,huh?!) and to make it stretch, we traveled very lightly so we could take public transportation and move around easily. So, art was a wonderful and easy thing to tuck into our bags. The pieces make great conversation pieces and it seems there is a funny or interesting story with each one!

  8. Sherry

    Melissa, My souvenir of choice is also a painting, drawing or photograph of the places we travel. I need to organize them and put all in one place. Thanks for hosting this party!
    .-= Sherry @ No Minimalist Here´s last blog ..Garage Sale Haul ! =-.

  9. Carolyn

    Melissa, I love all of the sketches you’ve collected. They’re beautiful reminders of where you’ve come from.

    I’ve been inspired by bright, springy fabrics this week. Thanks for hosting and have a great weekend.
    .-= Carolyn´s last blog ..Cute Patchwork Wristlet =-.

  10. zaira

    I buy an ashaming amount of cards, pictures and images to be framed. I still don’t know where I will hang all them!!

  11. Tara

    What a great idea! I never thought of it.

    Where is your building with the red roof from? It reminds me so much of something I saw in Key West, so I wanted to ask. :)
    .-= Tara @ Feels Like Home´s last blog ..Tame the Morning Madness with Laughter (Scrubbing Bubbles Giveaway) =-.

  12. CJ

    I also love to decorate with mementos. I love to pick up art and pottery from our travels. However, my favorite is a cobalt blue mug collection. I started this by accident but now have coordinating mugs (all that gorgeous blue with gold writing) from England, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Kenya, Hawaii, Nags Head, New York, and many others. I love the opportunity to reminisce every morning over my cup of tea. And it’s a great conversation piece when serving friends.
    .-= CJ´s last blog ..What Inspires You =-.

  13. Kifus

    Morning Melissa Your framed memories are gorgeous! What I do is keep all the tickets to museums, theatres or other special outings and then I prepare a scrapbook with them and adding pictures (cut out from brochures) and something written to remember everything we did on our trip.

    Thanks once again for having us at your party and a great weekend to you!
    .-= Kifus´s last blog ..White House in England =-.

  14. carrie

    I do this, too! We’ve been bringing home prints from our vacations for a while now and I love having a little piece of it in my home. We went to Maui for our honeymoon and at that time we hadn’t started the tradition yet, but I LOVE your print… thanks for sharing.
    .-= carrie´s last blog ..Etsy Favorites right now =-.

  15. heidi

    What a lovely idea to collect art and prints of vacation memories ! I could see featuring them in a family room or hallway. ;)

  16. Linda

    Like you, we mostly something we picked up for a song. Sometimes, I find myself drifting off when I look at one being reminded of good times and beautiful places. Do you do that too?
    .-= Linda @bushel and a pickle´s last blog ..Friends Coming Over =-.

  17. janet

    I also bring home “art” from our trips. Love that picture of the Del ( I never got any art there…guess I will have to go back, huh?). My latest is getting wrapping paper maps and framing them for my den. I adore maps and especially maps of places we have been.
    .-= janet´s last blog ..CHEAP "ART" =-.

  18. Blakely

    Three must haves when returning from a trip 1.) a magnet…I look at the fridge everyday and it is a constant reminder of fun vacations I have had. 2.)a Christmas Ornament…every year we pull these out as we are decorating the tree and talk about most of them. 3.)art…something my husband wasn’t to sure of until we returned from our honeymoon and I framed to prints I got on it. Now it reminds him of the little market we went to. He is now the first to look for art when on a vacation. By the way I love buying directly from local artist.
    .-= Blakely´s last blog ..New Gazebo – Maybe =-.

  19. Hip Hip Gin Gin

    This is such a lovely idea, and your art is gorgeous!! I have such a hard time picking art for our house because I’m like you, I want it to have meaning or a memory attached. This is also why my walls are crying for more decor, but what can you do. We have a couple of funny art prints from our honeymoon that I still have to find a home for, your post has inspired me to get on that this weekend!

  20. teresa

    I do the same thing….I have many pictures and drawings hanging on my walls from places I visit.
    I love this post. Thanks
    and it always fun to see what others are doing.
    Have a nice weekend
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Back to working on the Hamlet- =-.

  21. Karen

    I love the idea of art, even framed cards that depict your destination, as a travel memory. Thanks for the inspiration.

  22. Nikki

    Love that idea and am so proud that it’s something I already do. Two of my favorite gifts ever have been watercolors of the church where we were married and our first home (where our children were born). We have paintings/sketches from our honeymoon and favorite beach. Love them all. We also bring home a Christmas ornament from every trip we take. Have a great weekend!
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..Lake Weekend with the Harrisons =-.

  23. Carrie

    Thanks for the all the wonderful ideas! A very nice way to display all those memories.

  24. crush.

    we collect different things – martha’s vineyard it was art. from Siesta Key it was a gorgeous covered glass jar that webought and then filled with the famous sand – a little piece of the beach. The bahamas it was beautiful hand woven straw totes. We are eclectic like that. :)
    .-= crush.´s last blog ..BLOGMANIA GIVEAWAY # 89 out of 123 APRIL SHOWERS =-.

  25. Heather

    I always buy Christmas ornaments everywhere we travel. I love taking them out as we decorate the tree and remember all the places we’ve gone.

  26. Gina

    I love the art you have! It’s so much more personal to have those kinds of masterpieces on your wall-now I’m inspired to pick up some special pieces from my area and our travels to decorate my house.
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Confessions of a Compulsive Furniture Mover =-.

  27. Rene

    You were wise to collect memories of your travels. What a great way to remember where you have been and a great keepsake for your family. Thank you for hosting Melissa. Your Friday link is always such a bright spot.

    Have a great weekend!

  28. Gayle

    A post for me today! Upstairs is waiting the pictures of the tulip fields I visited; framed and ready to display. I just hadn’t done it yet!
    I found inspiration this week in mother’s of special needs children and did a blog post honoring them. They are the mighty mom’s among us.
    .-= Gayle´s last blog ..Mighty Mom’s =-.


    What a chic way to remember fun trips and interesting places! Thank you for hosting this weekly event. Have a nice weekend.
    .-= THE STYLISH HOUSE´s last blog ..Crystal Rose Cottage! =-.

  30. Suzanne at The Concierge Mom

    Love this idea! It really makes your home more personal. I also like to take pictures of signs depending on where I travel. My goal is to have a whole wall be covered in 5X7 frames- and include all of the signs I have photographed over the years. Some of them are just names of streets or billboards, but some are also really funny. ie. In Telluride, there was a sign on a chain link fence that said “Absolutely no skiing in the cemetary.” :)
    Thanks again! Your blog is great.

  31. BeckyB

    Beautiful Melissa! Incorporating memories on the walls of a house is a perfect way to decorate! Thanks again for your wonderful blog!

  32. Trish

    I have been collecting paintings – mostly on notecards- from places we visit. I need to frame them and arrange them on a wall, together. Nice post.
    .-= Trish @TheOldPostRoad´s last blog ..A 14th Birthday! =-.

  33. Postcards and Coasters

    Love your framed artwork!

    When I travel I collect Postcards and Coasters. I put the coasters in a big basket in my family room… makes for interesting conversations when friends come to visit.

    I’ve been collecting them since I became a flight attendant in 1994 so I’ve got quite the collection! Finding the perfect coaster and postcard has made traveling more fun!

  34. Jess

    I’m a little late to the party but thanks for having me anyway! I love your art collection and how you tied it to memories! So wonderful!
    .-= Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish´s last blog ..Eight Great Finds – Bright Spring Pillows =-.

  35. Erika

    I love this post as I love to travel as well. It is wonderful to be inspired about new ways to display those things that are special.
    Your mention of Cannon Beach made me smile also as my husband and I were married at a resort on Cannon Beach :) Thank you for all the inspiration!
    .-= [email protected] Over´s last blog ..Sweet Saturday =-.

  36. Maryam in Marrakech

    Melissa, I am constantly on the road for my job traveling to far flung places. I never leave a place without bringing back art as a souvenir. One thing I would also suggest is rather than only prints/drawings/postcards which are inexpensive but require framing, to bring back objects that can be pinned directly to the wall and add some dimension to walls. for example, I do this with jewelry a great deal as wall art.
    .-= Maryam in Marrakech´s last blog ..Mali photography: and a tale of inheritance =-.



  1. Tomatoes: Easiest to Grow! - [...] This post is linked to GROW, COOK, EAT Garden Tour! And also to Melissa’s Inspiration Friday! [...]
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