Safe travel is back, which means hello souvenirs. Although, it’s not always easy to choose items that you’ll want to treasure and display your home forever. Tchotchkes are aplenty and something you don’t necessarily want on display. But, discovering one-of-a-kind rugs, decorative bowls, or wall decor from local artists can make for a conversation piece and create a one-of-a-kind home. Collecting souvenirs from various countries and cities makes a home unintentionally (and beautifully) eclectic. So, how do you elevate your home design using vacation souvenirs? I tapped a few Decorist designers who lent their advice on what mementos to bring back from your travels.

Purchase Textiles

Textiles are a wonderful option when souvenir shopping, mainly because they are lightweight and travel well. In addition, they tend to be handmade and exceptionally connected to the story of a place and come in many forms- pillows, throws, rustic scraps of vintage pieces, and even small rugs, according to Decorist designer Sarah Ramirez of Found + Collected Design.

“I love to display the textiles I collect in a myriad of ways- draped over a chair or sofa, as a bedcover, or hung on a wall. And I do have many of them beautifully folded and displayed in an antique curio cabinet,” added designer Marie Ducheyne.

Group Items Together

A thoughtful way to create unity is grouping like items. “Maybe you’ve collected shells from every beach you visited since you were a child,” said Ramirez. “Storing them in a simple glass bowl allows for a variety of smaller pieces to have a stronger visual impact. Unifying elements can easily be prints and patterns, color, shape or silhouette, or any commonality you see weaving throughout your collected pieces.”

Groupings of small objects can make a bold statement and keep them from feeling like airport tchotchkes. A collection that is styled in a group, with scale, shape, color, and pattern in mind, creates a balanced look. Plus, according to Ramirez, seeing them all together holds weight- visually and emotionally. “Home should reflect our personality, passions, heritage, history, places you have been, and places you plan to go,” said Ramirez. 

Stick With One Color Palette 

A smart way to keep the style cohesive is to have a theme or color you love and stick with. “If you’ve got a bright, colorful home or one that is more neutral and tonal,” said Ramirez. “Stay true to your style by choosing something that will complement your existing style and color palette.”

It is easy to be influenced by the beauty of a place and want to bring that home, but just remember that a vibrant hand-embroidered pillow might not easily work in your all-neutral home. Designer Jessie Yoon of Casa Nolita added, “By limiting the number of colors or sticking with the same color scheme, you can keep them cohesive.”

Opt For Local Coffee Table Books 

If you’re having trouble envisioning how a rug or piece of pottery might look in your home, there’s always one item that’s a shoo-in for elevated travel decor. “Local artsy bookstores are places I love to check out,” said Yoon. “ Coffee table books or art books written in the local language are great souvenirs, and they are easy to incorporate into any home style.”

Better yet, cultural books from local publishers can be found at airports, making it an easy purchase.

Smaller Is Better

While scoring wall art or new bedding abroad might be appealing, it’s important to keep easy traveling in mind. That’s why it’s best to focus on finding small souvenirs. “There are plenty of one-of-a-kind, artisanal, hand-crafted decorative small objects like candle holders or kitchen items when it comes to vacation souvenirs for the home,” said Yoon. “I always make sure to avoid anything too fragile, bulky or, heavy. Flea markets and antique markets are great spots to find these gems!”