Tips on decorating with holiday souvenirs


Berlin : Most holidays abroad involve returning home with a souvenir or small present like a flower-decorated vase from Mexico, a statue of Buddha from Thailand or the ever popular model flamenco dancers from Andalusia.

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But not every souvenir immediately fits into the surroundings at home, says Berlin-based interior decorator Sam Bohr. “Anything is possible,” says Bohr. But he warns against combining too many different styles and cultures.

“Colourful cushions go well with a Buddha statue from Asia but not with dancers from Andalusia.” But that’s no reason to banish a souvenir to the back of a drawer. “Placed somewhere on their own, even a flamenco dancer can look amusing.”

Genia Boerner-Hoffmann says souvenirs should never be hidden away.

“Everybody likes talking about their holidays. Why should they then put their favourite piece from their holiday in a cupboard or in the cellar?” asks the interior designer from the Hamburg-published magazine “Living at Home”.

Boerner-Hoffmann says there is limited room for manoeuvre when it comes to mixing styles.

“The important thing is to achieve a contrast, so don’t mix Indian or Chinese accessories. Otherwise it will confuse the eye. It’s better to have a clear break with exuberant combinations like a country house with shrill colours.”

“If you don’t quite feel up to decorating your living room with African art and kitsch from Asia, then try dedicating a small section of the room to your collection – a kind of altar to past holidays.”

“Souvenirs bring a small piece of a foreign culture into our homes,” says Bohr. They also help to keep memories fresh, adds Antje Flade, an architectural psychologist from Hamburg.

“The home is something that connects us to the past. It’s a place where people store parts of their past.” And for most people, holidays are pleasant memories that they want to keep alive.

“Accessories from foreign countries tell us something. They say: Look where I was!”

Children also enjoy having a place for their souvenirs in their rooms.

Boerner-Hoffmann recommends placing souvenirs and items collected on holiday inside what she calls a Memory Box. “Arrange your cards, maps, banknotes or bus tickets inside a display case so that you can see everything clearly.”

“I bet a grin will appear on your face every time you look at it,” she says.

Maps bought while on holiday can be easily turned into tablemats. “You just have to cut them to size and then laminate them.”

Small souvenir figures can also bring a lot of joy simply by sticking them to the tops of storage jars and other containers. “That way you don’t just have something original, you also have a constant reminder of your trip abroad.”