Travelers — as you've gone jet-setting around the world, you've probably picked up a few things along the way (or gone into total shopaholic mode at a Marrakech market, who knows). But, that all leads to one complicated woe: How in the world do you style all of your worldly goods?
Chances are, scattering those little souvenirs around your space will just make it look cluttered. And nobody wants that.
Enter, our hero Kelly Framel, creative director, stylist and founder of online magazine , who teamed up with to redecorate her New York City pied-a-terre — all while highlighting her favorite things from travels.
"My partner Zach and I live between New York and Miami Beach, and we travel all the time," says Framel. "It was really important for us to create a space that was in some ways the perfect hotel suite, but also to have it reflect our nomadic lifestyle and our travels."
Plus, Framel understands one thing well: Shopping is often a natural part of traveling.
"My favorite way to shop is to explore the markets of the world," says Framel. "I plan my travel destinations based on exploring the markets."
So how does she recommend styling all of those global goods once you get home? Read on to find out.
If you decorate with your souvenirs, the aesthetic of your space will continuously evolve as you jet-set to new lands and bring back new goods — so don't expect your globally-influenced style to ever be set in stone. "Remember that your home should always be evolving, just as you are," says Framel. "I am constantly picking up new treasures on my travels. Your nest should always be a place of comfort and inspiration, and it's a constant work in progress."
Collect your smaller worldly goods in beautiful display trays to prevent them from getting lost in dusty shelves. "Find great trays to highlight your favorite pieces," says Framel. "I'm a total tray collector. I think they do a beautiful job of curtailing a sense of clutter, so I use them on top of dressers, trunks and even stacks of books."
Put those trunks and cartons you bought abroad to good use. "Our cozy New York apartment works as a highly functional pied-à-terre thanks to a plethora of cabinets, hutches, trunks and chests of drawers in varying sizes," says Framel. "Many double as coffee tables or bookshelves to showcase art, books and ornaments."
If you have plenty of items to display, your style is bound to be a bit maximalist. The trick to avoiding a cluttered look? "Scale is so important in creating an environment that feels airier and less cramped, even down to the art you choose," says Framel. "I love using large-scale artworks in small spaces. It gives grandeur and gravitas, and opens up the room."
Don't be afraid of your light fixtures competing with your global decor — they'll complement it, not distract from it. "Go bold with lamps and chandeliers," says Framel. "In our space, I've paired vintage fixtures with affordable options from places like HomeGoods for a look that's polished but still eclectic."
Artwork is always a precious goodie to pick up abroad, so showcase it in an attention-grabbing way in your home. For Framel, a key way to do that is by using velvet curtains. "They just create a great, calming energy in which you feel very shrouded and comforted, making for a luxurious and restful environment," she says. "And being able to put a really great pop of artwork in front of that textural colored backdrop has a lot of impact."
You'll have a lot going on in your worldly apartment. Anchor it all with a few pieces that either have clean, minimalistic lines or monochromatic color schemes. "Bring in a modern element that creates cohesion and calmness in the space," says Framel. That could be a simplistic tray, a contemporary brass chair or a modern rug.
Some of the greatest souvenirs you can find are food and spices, so make them visible in your worldly kitchen. In her small kitchen, Framel hung copper pots above the stove to make more room for ingredients on the shelf below. "We use them to try to recreate some of the most memorable meals we've had on our travels," she says. "We're always inspired by new cultures and cuisines."
As you travel the world, your book collection is likely to expand quickly, but avoid cluttering visible spaces. Instead, try stacking your reads in a closet. "I wanted to keep the living space very calm and uncluttered, and it was a little manic seeing all my books in there," says Framel. "Stacking books on the windowsill in the closet served a dual function of making the sunny closet space a little darker so the clothes wouldn't fade." (Just don't try that trick with older or more valuable books — because they might fade over time, too, if exposed to light).
You'll likely never be able to have everything out at once, so continuously think about what souvenirs you'd like to showcase and what can be stowed away for now. (This'll make designing a non-cluttered space way easier.) "I'm always editing my space, but I've kept several cherished pieces that I've collected over the years, and give them new life by simply rearranging," says Framel.