I love sharing the space with the family and blending [tasteful] masculine and feminine decor. I use leather furniture, industrial pieces like a TV easel, and even a moose antler on the coffee table to achieve that balance. As a former military family, we lived all over the United States and are planning an international move soon. Because of my husband’s job and hobbies, he often relied on maps during combat operations, training missions, and outdoor hobbies. These maps have become symbols of the good and bad times associated with all these adventures and capture a world of emotion in just a passing glance.
Collecting Maps & Globes
The vision, once we get settled down with adequate space, is for the study, library, or man cave to be full of maps that are meaningful to my husband. There is a stack of about fifteen just waiting to be matted and framed. One map, of the Church State Park in Alaska, was the first to be framed. It is an uncharacteristically beautiful map in a very simple framing and complete with the creases where it used to be folded and tucked into the top flap of my husband’s backpack. I’ll often catch my husband, especially when old friends are here to visit, huddled around the map pointing to different terrain and retelling stories of their adventures. This map is always hung in a place of prominence in our homes.
Since we also love antiques, antique maps are a logical next step in decorating. While not as personal, there is a certain patina associated with an antique and painted map that may make them more appealing to a wider group. This particular map, of the UK [and Ireland], was found in an antique shop in Northern Virginia. I was told the owners of the shop bought it at an estate sale in England. This map reminds my husband of his great grandfather, a classic Irish character, who used to dazzle him with wild stories when he was a child. It also adds an old study vibe to our living room.
YOUTHFUL MAPS AND GLOBES
Some of the first decorations we ever bought for our son’s room were maps and globes. A child needs to appreciate that the world is a big place, understand the different cultures, and know some geography. As we started traveling with him, we wanted him to help track and plan our next adventures. This simple World Map is kid friendly with no glass and you can stick pins in it for where you’ve been and where you want to go. It’s also personalized and there is a great amount of pride and ownership that our son feels for it. Our efforts succeeded, our son now says he wants to be an “adventurer’ when he grows up. I also feel like using maps within a child’s decor is something they can grow with and appreciate for years without having to change out themes as they keep growing.
A classic globe with an elegant stand is also an easy way to add a bit of class to a sitting room. We use this one in our front room and it acts as a sculpture with its curved form and multicolored hues. It is also multifunctional and is a good way to keep track of real distance between location.
I don’t think you are ever wrong if you are incorporating highly personal and meaningful items into your decorations. Maps, even more than pictures and paintings, have become my favorite wall decorations. Each one is interactive in its own way. While you may pass them one hundred times with just a glance, every once in a while you stop to really appreciate what they signify. Those little contour lines on the Alaska map represent slogging up snow covered mountains, the sounds of skis passing through snow, and the stunning beauty of the alpenglow turning the mountain into a vivid orange pink. The pins in my son’s map remind him of walking through a rainforest for the first time or skiing the mountains in Whistler. Partly because of that map, he feels the need for more adventure, to see new places, and to put more pins in that map. Looking at the globe and seeing the tiny speck of island where we live in the middle of the Pacific reminds us how far away we are from the ones we love and makes it even more special when we get to be together. Having these daily reminders hangings from our walls helps us remember the past adventures and plan our next one.
4 Ideas for Decorating with Maps
- Start a collection of either antique maps, meaningful maps, or both and design a gallery wall in your home. Even though I collect black and white photos for my gallery wall, you could easily incorporate maps and get the same look.
- Go Big! A single large map can be a statement piece in any room. Whether hung over a sofa, fireplace, or flanked with smaller pieces. You could even add a light over it to elevate it to a level of high art.
- Mix it! Use a mixture of maps on a wall with globes on a console table to add a more eclectic look to a room.
- Grid it! This is another great idea to fill up space. You could choose simple frames and make a big statement on a wall.
There is a world of possibilities when decorating with maps. No matter your style of decor, a map or globe would look great in any space to give it a well-traveled update. Have fun planning your next adventure!
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