With summer holidays just around the corner, we thought we would try out some travel inspired interiors inspired by intrepid travellers exploring tropical lands or simply discovering quiet undiscovered and hidden parts of the British Isles. We were trying to create a look that is inspired, in-part, by early 20th century explorers, gentleman’s club and the textures and greens of jungalow styled interiors. There are elements of eclectic styling in our travel inspired interiors as it’s unlikely an entire house or even a room would be created in this ‘junglaow explorer’ stylle. It’s a look that allows you to experiment and try objects out. What we love most about eclectic styling there are no rules! When looking to create a individual and unique home most people have old piece they have collected over time and new acquired pieces. The trick is getting the blending right so it is harmonious. It’s a theme that would work well if you love travelling and bringing back a memento from an exciting and memorable trip.
We started with a functional vintage sideboard as a statement piece with three drawers and two generous cupboards. It has a lovely light lime-washed finish. It is an original solid teak colonial dressing table that would have been used in the early 1900s in a British expatriate’s home in India. The large top is an idea area for interesting displays and collections. We then dressed it with vintage and antique items that a Victorian or Edwardian traveller may have used on their trips: a portable typewritter, world globe, original photos from India and Malaya. We hung a large vintage school map of India on the wall. We have maps of North America, the Middle East and Asia.
Dark brown club chairs or a tan leather sofa add a formal feel of being inside a gentleman’s club when paired with formal larger teak or oak furniture. This solid teak side table looks like a collector’s chest that an explorer wold have used for his specimens. The darker the wood and the more polished and unmarkled the furniture pieces are the more formal the space will look.
Create Stylish Storage
You can never have enough storage space when creating To the left of the sideboard we have stacked up old wooden boxes and chests, the type that may have been used to hold equipment on an expedition. These sit on small compact chests of drawers. If you have a small narrow space stacking small boxes, crates and chests will create extra storage space without having to find a single piece that fits exactly. The boxes are all different sizes and styles and the woods are different textures and colours.
British explorers and colonialists loved to collect items from their travels. So unusual curios fit in well with decorative pieces. We’ve added colourful tribal art from India, Africa and Indonesia amongst tropical plants, bundles of letters and old photos. Not all the items need be old you could mix in new, handcrafted artisan items and pick your favourite travel photos and print them in black and white and add a sepia filter to give them an old look. We placed an old Laxmi solid brass lamp in an antique marble bowl and added colourful potpourri.
Old books, especially travel books work well, vintage maps, antique cameras, vintage globes, travel bags and old books should be used to create finishing touches in an explorer / colonial inspired space vintage maps, antique cameras, globes, travel bags, old books and china to create finishing touches in a colonial inspired space. We have added contrasting materials: old glass bottles, a small display cabinet and antique brass padlocks. Vintage storm lamps along with the storage chests really add a feel of real outdoor travel.
Flashes of colour are added with old tins, vintage cotton bedspreads from tribal villages. Lots of house plants will also break up the browns from set furniture pieces.
Fabrics were inspired by botanical, animal, paisley and were made from readily available locally made cotton and linen. So long flowing light coloured cotton fabric will give a room soft filtered light. Mixing throw cushions and tropical printed bedcovers or traditional vintage covers will give an eclectic travel look.
Framed botanical prints, military portraits and oil paintings of Victorians in formal poses also add a sense of formal occasion.
Small Explorer Displays
Of course you may not want to turn a whole room into an a explorer jungalow space. Or you may want to start small. For a small space choose a small surface perhaps a side table and crate a mini display on top, to the sides and below.
We used two old wooden storage boxes as a side table and placed one on top of the other to make a table. A small globe, books and a small Indian temple lamp gives the set a touch of the exotic East. Then we simply added lots of small tropical plants in old terracotta pots.
If you don’t have floor space for an explorer’s table or want to keep your displays contained then try a wall mounted cabinet or small cabinets on a mantelpiece and fill these with your explorer curios.
We have filled an old Indian jewellery cabinet with old camera equipment. The cabinet opens from the front or back and an old brass padlock can be added to make the display look like museum display cabinets.
Wall mounted cabinets come in all shapes and sizes. A natural wooden wall cabinet give a more formal look to the display, while a shabby chic cabinet will make a space look more lived in and relaxed. Their style can vary from plain and simple to ornate decorative display cabinets with carved finials and moulding and Art Deco geometric patterns.