Whether you’ve actually circumnavigated the globe or were just born with the heart of an adventurer, the appeal of an adventurous life is unmistakable. Most of my personal heroes are the men and women who traveled the world in search of the unknown during the early 1900s. People like Osa and Martin Johnson absolutely fascinate me. I can’t get enough of Safari novels; I devour them like some people devour cheesy romance novels. But, in reality, a good jungle adventure is terribly romantic!
Fortunately, there’s no rule that you actually have to travel to exotic locales to find treasures with a foreign flair. Here are some creative ways to bring the world home without a passport!
Luggage is obviously a necessity for any journey long or short. Most people have “upgraded” to small carry-on luggage, making heavy older suitcases easy to come by! Around the house, luggage can serve as extra storage while bringing the theme of travel to any space. My husband likes to tease me about all the suitcases and trunks used in decorating our apartment. All of them are far too precious to be tossed around by airport security!
I wouldn’t mind waking up to this every morning! A bedside table made of various stacked suitcases. Suitcases can be found at thrift-stores, garage sales, and antique shops. Sets from the 50s-60s are easy to come by cheap.
Our trunk coffee table was completely transformed by the addition of wooden animal feet. The trunk cost around $8 at goodwill and the antique feet were $30 on Etsy. Not a bad price for a one-of-a kind piece! Feet can easily be attached to the bottom of any trunk to give it a little more height.
A variety of 60s suitcases I’ve picked up at thrift stores. Most ran about $5 each. They were scuffed up and some smelt a tad funky. A little Bon Ami did the trick to remove any black scuff marks, and a good wipe down and airing out got rid of the funk. One of the suitcases holds my husband’s magic tricks, so I mod podged vintage playing cards on the outside. You could just as easily print out vintage luggage labels and mod podge them all over a trunk.
Another couple of cases I picked up. These are used as an end table next to our couch. They are unusually chunky in their design so they are able to store a lot of stuff. I think I paid $15 for the pair at a thrift store.
My holy grail of suitcases. I saw this at the Goodwill and drug it halfway across the store, excitedly looking for my husband to show him my new treasure. Covered in real luggage labels and full of character; the sight of a trunk covered in hotel stickers will make any adventurer’s heart flutter! This suitcase lives in our living room and works as both storage and a display area.
Crates: Another great item for the world traveler’s home is the humble crate. Once used to transport anything from tea to fruit, these crates can be transformed for a multitude of practical purposes around your home. Do be aware that crates tend to be made of rough wood, so avoid using them in places where things can get snagged on them easily. The local antique store provided me with the perfect banana crate for a bathroom stand:
I simply sealed the crate with mod podge to protect it from moisture (Yep. I use this stuff like it’s going out of style!) and gave it spools for legs. It holds all of our towels as well as vintage baskets and tins filled with bathroom essentials.
Baskets are another inexpensive piece you can add to your room to give a foreign flair. They bring to mind images of snake charmers, native weavers, and busy Moroccan markets for me. Be aware that baskets are typically overpriced at craftstores and decorating stores. But at thrift stores, you can usually find an assortment to look through, all marked under $5.
I use a stack of vintage baskets on my desk to store away cords and computer stuff (…. and the occasional cobra…).
Stay tuned for more adventure! Up next… globes, classroom maps, rugs, and textiles.