It's been a year since the world has been unable to travel for leisure. Instead we're surrounding ourselves with food and entertainment that go some way towards channelling vacation vibes. Destination decor, wherein you pepper your living and working spaces with pieces that incorporate international prints, patterns and motifs, can also help to ease the feeling of disconnect.
Whether you need inspiration to plan your next trip – whenever that might be – or want to relive memories of a favourite holiday spot, here are some accessories you can turn to, to bring home some international charm to your interiors, no airport security required.
Moroccan design is instantly recognisable for its intricate patterns and rustic elements. A tray or coffee table in the geometric and colourful zelliges design will instantly transport you to the bazaars of Marrakesh. Or enjoy the last of the cooler weather and dine outside, dressing the table with zwak tagines filled with sweet treats, and Moroccan cups and glassware. Beldi Bazaar has zelliges mosaic trays for Dh420 and miniature zwak tagines for Dh100.
Bound No.82, which offers free standard delivery to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, has exquisite wooden bowls (Dh320) from Indonesia, hand-carved in West Java from teak wood, and finished in black and gold. These can be used as a statement piece for the centre of your dining table or filled with fresh fruit and placed on a console.
Bound No.82 also retails beautiful gourd baskets (from Dh300) made by women in Bulawayo in the Matabeleland district of Zimbabwe. Handwoven using natural plant fibres, the baskets can be filled with palms or pampas grass and used to add a rustic touch to nooks around your home. Or get three in varying sizes, some filled and some empty, and layer them up under a hallway console.
With so many choosing to keep their flooring neutral, consider adding a Peruvian rug to infuse your space with a pop of colour. It will brighten the room, can be the anchor for everything else and, best of all, has enough wow factor to help you feel as though you’ve backpacked to Machu Picchu. Urban Nest will launch its Peru rug collection (Dh750) in April.
Next, let’s go to New Zealand, or at least feel like it. A cute brass kiwi bird ornament (the country’s national bird), is an understated but fun way to give NZ a subtle nod without it feeling cheesy. Perfect for a bookshelf or as an accent piece on a sideboard, large and small brass birds from Home and Soul (Dh175 and Dh495), can be paired up, or place just one as a statement piece in a visible spot.
Nothing spells British countryside better than chequers. Get comfortable and wrap up on the sofa with a charming Tweedmill tartan blanket from Amara (Dh272), available in soft neutral shades and vintage tones. Or go Greek with a column vase or decorative plaster statue from HKliving (from Dh265), a classic interiors look that is bang on trend. Grecian-inspired interiors when left bare add a touch of the Athenian Acropolis, or add fresh blooms to channel Mediterranean island vibes.
Reflect the Balearic Islands, Byron Bay or Bali with rattan, bamboo and jute. While there are knick-knacks aplenty to choose from in these materials, if you really want to make a statement while being on trend (rattan is, after all, the hero material of 2021), consider the Dusk headboard from Tribe (Dh1,890).
Scandinavian design is one of the biggest interiors trends. It is synonymous with clean lines, mid-century design, neutral colour schemes and a vibe that's effortless and transcends time. It is easy enough to add a touch of Scandi-cool to a home without spending large sums of money, with the Copenhagen and Stockholm prints from New Paper Studio (Dh80).
Typography prints are a cheap and cheerful way to show your enthusiasm for a favourite or wishlist destination. Also look up the “non arte” Tokyo and Kyoto posters from Nynne Rosenvinge for Japan (Dh270); and bold and colourful French typography prints from Gayle Mansfield (Dh50). Prints can be tacked to a wall or kept leaning on a sideboard. You can also build a global gallery wall or use posters to add some colour to an otherwise understated decor palette.
Typography is not restricted to posters, either; say “ciao” to dusty, old tealights and bring home the super-fun Bella Freud slogan candle (Dh252) from Amara (reuse the pot as a pen holder or vase after you burn through the wick).
Book covers, too, are a great way to do some armchair travelling.
Assouline’s luxurious coffee-table travel books, available from The Bowery Company (from Dh225), can be assembled in a carefully curated pile for a bookcase that has never looked more chic or well-travelled. Then pick a favourite from past holidays or tick one off your bucket list and start planning your next trip inspired by your destination decor.