The Best Décor Souvenirs to Buy When You Travel

Look for these must-haves from far-off places.

We're big proponents of a well-collected, worldly home, and essential to that are travel souvenirs that tell the story of your life and bring an element of craftsmanship to your interiors. The world is full of expert craftsmen, but it's essential to know what to look for when you're traveling, and what to buy where. If you want a beautiful home with sophisticated style, these décor souvenirs will get you there -- you just have to fly back first. 1
[caption id="attachment_62891" align="aligncenter" width="175"]hg143703 Vintage Turkish Rug, $295, Jayson[/caption]

Whether they're hand-knotted or flat-woven, Turkish carpets and rugs are some of the most beautifully crafted artworks in the world. If you're fortunate enough to travel to Turkey, you'll be tempted, cajoled even, to purchase one of these original, handmade, one-of-kind rugs--and it would be a mistake not too. These world-renowned pieces can be made with a variety of materials (like silk, wool, or cotton) and generally fall into two groups: those with geometrical or stylized motifs and those with floral or naturalistic designs.

2
[caption id="attachment_62895" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Vintage French Blue Opaline Chandelier, $2700, 1stdibs Vintage French Blue Opaline Chandelier, $2700, 1stdibs[/caption]

Wandering Paris's famous flea markets, you'll be wooed by the twinkle of crystal chandeliers dangling from antique dealers' booths. While you can find stunning antique chandeliers throughout Europe (especially in Italy), the French truly have an unparalleled craft for it, creating delicate masterpieces with hand-leafed silver and gold and crystals hand-assembled like jewels. After all, chandelier is a French word.

3
[caption id="attachment_62900" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Ikat Pillow Cover, $25, Ikat Pillow Cover, $25, Etsy[/caption]

Ikat, a centuries-old resist-dyeing technique, creates a pattern that we see copied everywhere in the States these days, but a handmade silk ikat cloth Indonesian is a treasure like no other. Glowing and rich with scarlet reds, shining golds, rusty oranges, and deep blues, these sacred textiles can be used throughout your home in throws, accent pillows, curtains, or countless other special details.

4
[caption id="attachment_62906" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Kuba Cloth Pillow, $199, OpenSky Kuba Cloth Pillow, $199, OpenSky[/caption]

Known for its elaborate and complex surface design, Congolese Kuba cloth is becoming quite popular in the U.S. -- and part of a much larger African trend. Made with raffia leaves, which are hand-cut and woven into strips to make fabric, Kuba cloth is beautifully crafted geometric appliqués and linear embroidery. It's a wonderfully tactile souvenir you'll cherish for years to come.

5
[caption id="attachment_62913" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Cluny Tile, price upon request, Cuban Tropical Tile Co. Cluny Tile, price upon request, Cuban Tropical Tile Co.[/caption]

Patterned cement tiles, or mosaicos hidralico, are common throughout Latin American, and can be found across the globe but some of the finest are made in Cuba and Mexico. If you're thinking of re-tiling a fireplace or even your floors or walls, take your measurements with you before you head south and ask around for a tile factory. These vibrant, durable tiles can be customized in numerous colors or patterns (geometric, floral, or nature-inspired). Wouldn't it be nice to have yours custom made?

6
[caption id="attachment_62915" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Chinoiserie Wallpaper, price upon request, De Gournay Chinoiserie Wallpaper, price upon request, De Gournay[/caption]

De Gournay Chinoiserie wallpaper was among our editors' most coveted luxury decor buys -- and for good reason. These arresting, room-transforming wallpapers are hand-painted by talented Chinese craftspeople who pay incredible attention to detail with intricate brushstrokes, gorgeous gilding, and the most inspiring scenery.

7
[caption id="attachment_62921" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Vintage Beni Ourain Rug, $1646, Indigo&Lavender Vintage Beni Ourain Rug, $1646, Indigo&Lavender[/caption]

Many people visit Morocco's lively souks looking for lush and graphic Beni Ourain rugs, which are generally heavy pieces, traditionally used for blankets, shawls, bedcovers, and similar purposes. With dichromatic, tribal designs, they'll add a versatile, geometric allure to your home -- not to mention give you hipster cred.

8
[caption id="attachment_62932" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Suzani Screen, $3275, 1stdibs Suzani Screen, $3275, 1stdibs[/caption]

Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asian nations introduced us to the much-sought-after Suzani, an embroidered, decorative tribal textile. Usually made of a cotton base with silk or cotton embroidery, these ornate textiles feature nature-inspired design motifs like sun and moon disks, flowers, leaves, vines, fruits, fish, and birds. They look gorgeous as bedcovers, wall hangings, pillows, or even upholstered on a cozy chair.

9
[caption id="attachment_62940" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Screen-Shot-2014-07-01-at-5.55.01-PM Purple Juju Hat, $300, AfricanArt.com[/caption]

Traditionally worn by village chiefs in Cameroon, these beautiful focal points are painstakingly crafted out of bird feathers in a bursting shape; they're considered a symbol of beauty, prosperity, and wealth. Another example of the African trend that's happening now, these tactile pieces of wall art look beautiful alone in a bright hue or hung in cluster of neutral colors.

10
[caption id="attachment_62949" align="aligncenter" width="175"]Black Silk Lantern, $30, Asian Art Mall Black Silk Lantern, $30, Asian Art Mall[/caption]

China is well-known for its bright red lanterns, but we love the more subtly colored silk and jacquard designs made in Vietnam. These pendant lights usually feature an anchor bead and a flirty tassel. We love to see a grouping of them hung at varying heights.

What are some of your favorite travel souvenirs? Share them in the comments or tweet us a photo @domainehome. Photographs: 1. 10. Reath Design (designer and source), 2. 9. Roger Davies (photographer and source), 3. Jake Curtis (photographer and source), 4. 5. Eric Piasecki (photographer and source), 6. 11. Francesco Lagnese (photographer and source), 7. Ngoc Minh Ngo (photographer and source), 8. Bjorn Wallander (photographer and source)
leave a comment LEAVE A COMMENT
See More Stories

loading