A few days ago a Freshome reader named Kendra Redman contacted me, to write a guest post for this blog, and here is her article. I must admit that her advice is very practical, because I went this year in Greece and after I’ve read this article I’ve found some mistakes that I’ve made.

We have all made the same mistake, c’mon admit it. While on that recent relaxing holiday you bought something you thought would capture that holiday feeling when you returned home to your regular routine. It might have been in a bustling local market, maybe it was something you saw created in front of you by a local craftsperson or an item spotted in a tiny shop presided over by an old stooped woman who smiled charmingly at you.

You were excited about your treasure and made sure it was wrapped and bundled securely for the trip back. Once home you unwrapped the gem eagerly with your mind racing as to where it would look best in your house. In the bright light of day you flinched when you saw your precious vacation souvenir in its new surroundings. Suddenly the colors of your prize, that seemed so bright and cheerful in its native land, only look garish to you now. The details on the pottery you found so charming and quaint clash with your post modern furniture. The tribal mask that seemed primitive ironic while trekking scare your children when they walk by it. What on earth possessed you to buy these things?

The desire to bring back an object to represent your vacation bliss is a natural one that everyone falls prey to on some vacation in their life. So how do you do vacation decorating right? Follow these few simple rules and you will won’t have another vacation decorating disaster.

Textiles – textiles are a great way to bring a splash of your adventures into the home in a subtle way. The textile can be hung, framed, made into a pillow, used to upholster a furniture piece or used as a table runner. A glimpse will still remind you of the village woman who wove the beautiful fabric but not be as jarring as hanging a Swiss cuckoo clock on your minimalist walls.

Photos – Travel photos are wonderful souvenirs. Don’t put them in a variety of mismatching frames or your walls and surfaces will look like one big photo album.Choose an odd number of the best ones and frame in the same simple frames, preferably black with a large mat, and wall mount giving an art gallery effect. To blend with any interior, have the photos developed in black and white.

Bowls – Bowls are functional, attractive and easy to find in any part of the world. You can buy a bamboo lacquered one in Vietnam, a pewter bowl in Norway, a pottery one from Portugal or a rustic wooden bowl from Africa. Lined up on a display shelf they will complement each other as well as telling the story of your journeys.

Artwork – Unless you are an investor, choosing art is always a personal thing. That watercolor from France would be a great addition to your guest bathroom.Or the large brightly colored painting can add the spice to your neutral interior.
So the next time you find yourself standing in front of that four foot fertility statue in some faraway place telling yourself it could go in that empty corner in the living room – just walk away.