Remember how much you loved taking naps on the chaise of the bed and breakfast where you stayed during your last vacation? Or how much you couldn’t get enough of looking at the tropical flowers in the arrangements on the dinner table during your last cruise?
We may be entering the home stretch of the summer season, but there’s no reason why you can’t surround yourself with vacation memories all year long.
"In terms of home interiors, there are many ways to preserve vacation memories," said Jenny Butler, design specialist with House Dressing Interior Design on W. Academy Street in Gainesville.
"Use throw pillows, area rugs or accent decor that remind you of your vacation spot."
The weeks after a trip can be the perfect time to make small but powerful changes to your home.
"I love what traveling does to people’s imaginations and to their creativity," says Los Angeles-based interior designer Betsy Burnham. "You don’t have to redecorate. All you have to do is kind of pinpoint what it is that evokes the sensation of still being there. Look back through your photos and just think about the sense of place.
"It can be as simple as a jar of shells that appears in your guest bathroom" or as dramatic as repainting a room.
If a particular photograph or souvenir really tickles your fancy, you can take it to retailers like Gainesville Paint and Design Center on Main Street to kick off your redecoration project.
"We can absolutely match the color of whatever you bring in," said David Maradiaga, Gainesville Paint salesman.
"If we don’t have one that’s identical in stock, we can definitely match it for you."
Interior designer Kyle Schuneman, author of "The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces," suggests picking up similar items from different places to create a collection that will grow with each vacation.
"Whether it be something free, like ticket stubs from everywhere you’ve been to together or pottery that you can display together," he says, "incorporating these memories are what good design is all about."
"I think creating a collection in your home from your travels is such an important part of design," said Schuneman, whose book will hit the shelves later this month.
"I think those collections are what are so important to making a house a home."
Los Angeles-based interior designer Betsy Burnham agrees. On her family’s first trip to Paris, her children bought inexpensive Eiffel Tower statues sold on street corners.
"It’s so corny when you’re there," she says.
But if you gather similar items during and after a trip and display them together, it becomes a design statement and conversation piece. Her family’s Eiffel Tower collection has grown over the years, and "all of a sudden we’ve got this kind of funky collection."
And there’s no rule that the souvenirs from your travels have to be a cookie cutter item that you picked up in a gift shop.
"Create a photo collage of your favorite vacation moments," Butler suggests.
When you return with photos from your trip, skip traditional frames in favor of something more creative. "A great idea for displaying photos is taking some of your favorites and finding a rustic slab of wood or maybe a sleek piece of metal," Schuneman says, and decoupaging the photos in a random pattern.
"For little or no money, you have a cool art piece that will forever be a memory board and can be customized to just your taste and the trip’s feeling."
Choose the material based on the vibe of your destination — perhaps mount camping photos on unfinished wood or photos from an urban destination on metal.
Another option is choosing "a more artistic-feeling photo — maybe a landscape or a close-up shot — and having it blown up on canvas.
Flynn says another powerful way to use vacation photos is to have them printed in black and white. Against a colorful wall, the images will pop out, bringing back vivid memories.
As you look through travel photos or remember favorite spots, think about the details: Maybe you saw unique, beautiful doors in a city or town you visited, Burnham says."How about changing your front door hardware to something that’s really like a Londoner would have? It’s those kinds of touches," she says, like painting a door the same color as doors you saw on a trip, that keep a trip with you. "It becomes a conversation piece" when people visit, she says."
For a coastal, beachy vibe," Schuneman says you can accomplish the same thing by "layering textures like a chunky sisal rug, wood tables and linen curtains. By keeping the color palette fairly subdued with shades of blues, grays and creams, the room will work all year long but still give a relaxed and breezy environment."
Associated Press contributed to this story.