Maps hold a special fascination for many people. They allow us to explore the world without leaving home, imagining distant lands and planning future travels. For those with an adventurous spirit, maps can be more than informational – they become an integral part of interior design and home décor. Decorating with maps adds a touch of wanderlust to any space.
Types of Maps for Home Décor
When choosing a map for decor, consider the room it will live in as well as your own personal style. Here are some of the most popular types of maps used in home décor:
Antique maps with a distressed, aged look can add an old-world feel to a space. Popular vintage map styles include:
- Sepia-toned maps from the 1800s. These detailed hand-drawn maps have an antiqued look.
- Nautical maps once used on ships. Featuring fantastical sea creatures, they have a nautical theme.
- Political maps from significant eras. Historic maps like from WWII or colonial times.
Vintage maps work well in traditional rooms and bring a sense of history.
These detailed 3D maps illustrate the natural contours and terrain of an area. The elevation lines and colors show mountain ranges, valleys, bodies of water, and more.
Topographical maps bring the outdoors in. Use them in cabins, rustic rooms, or farmhouse-style décor.
From street maps to transit maps, these celebrate specific cities around the world. Famous subway maps like the London Tube or road maps of major metropolises make great urban décor.
City maps are ideal for downtown lofts, kid’s rooms, or anywhere with a cosmopolitan vibe.
These maps depict the entire planet or hemispheres. Politically colored world maps are most common. But decorative ones with illustrated details or textures can be more visually appealing.
World maps work almost anywhere, from classrooms to family rooms. Choose a stylized design or globe for a kid’s room.
Featuring constellations and astrological designs, celestial maps depict the wonders of the night sky. These make great décor for stargazers.
Celestial maps create a magical feel. Hang one over a bed or use in a meditation room.
Displaying Maps as Wall Art
One of the most popular ways to use maps in home décor is as wall art. Here are some ideas:
High-quality map reprints make stunning wall art. Print on archival paper or canvas in black and white or muted antique tones. Simple black frames keep the focus on the map.
Hang a favorite destination from your travels or somewhere you dream of going. Group together several map prints over a couch or above a bed for a focal point.
For a luxurious look, have your map professionally framed. Choose wide, ornate gold frames for a vintage world map to contrast against the neutral map colors. Or float a large vintage map in a simple modern wood frame for an organic feel.
Use illuminated shadow boxes to display a 3D item like a ship figurine over an old nautical map for added depth.
Create a custom map mural by applying wallpaper with a map design directly onto the wall. This makes a unique accent wall. It could be a group of vintage maps or one oversized map of somewhere meaningful.
For a removable option, order large map decals in sections to create a repositionable mural. Geographic patterns and textures also make great murals.
Map tapestries are an easy way to decorate a large space. Made from fabric, tapestries come in varied map designs like world maps, topographic maps, celestial charts and local city maps.
Lightweight and portable, tapestries don’t require framing. Hang one on the wall with push pins or clips. Use over a bed, on a ceiling or divider wall, or even outdoors as a shade canopy.
Creative Ways to Use Maps in Décor
Looking for unique ways to incorporate maps into your home décor? Here are some creative ideas:
Map Theme Room
Go all out with a map-themed room! Use large wall maps, travel souvenirs and map accents on furniture. One accent wall could be a black chalkboard painted with a hand-drawn map to chart your travels. Use old suitcases and steamer trunks as décor.
A map room is perfect for an at-home office, study or library. Make it kid-friendly with a map mural and display favorite souvenirs.
Make a set of map coasters for functional décor. Use tile coasters with a map design or mod podge paper maps onto ceramic coasters. Top with polyurethane for durability.
Nautical map coasters work nicely in a boat-themed room. Or choose maps of favorite travel spots.
Make custom map magnets to pin special memories. Print out maps of places you’ve visited. Glue a magnet on the back, then note and date special spots like where you stayed or ate.
Give map magnets as personalized gifts. Or display on a magnetic board to keep up with your wanderlust travels.
Map Table Runner
Add a touch of travel to your table with a map-printed runner. Use fabric printed with vintage map imagery. Or mod podge paper maps onto burlap. Add map place cards at each seat.
For kids, use a world map runner and mark places you’ve visited with flag pins. Rotate it occasionally to “travel” somewhere new.
Map Stencil Art
Get creative with map stencils! Trace over a stencil to quickly transfer a map pattern onto a wall, piece of furniture, or lampshade. Use stencils of different map types like nautical, celestial, city, etc.
On a dresser or shelf back, stencil a map with chalk paint for a washed-out vintage vibe. Stencil onto lampshades or pillows to tie into your map décor.
Map Washi Tape
Add delicate details with decorative washi tape. Tape with map designs comes in many colors and patterns. Use it to accent scrapbooks, gifts, vases, mirrors and more.
Wrap map washi tape around candles or tape on small votive holders to create an instant travel-themed display.
Map Décor for Specific Rooms
Maps can be incorporated into just about any room of the home. Here are ideas for using maps to decorate specific spaces:
Make guests feel like globetrotters with map décor in your entryway. Hang a gallery wall with framed vintage maps or prints of favorite destinations. Coat hooks can resemble compass points. Set a decorative bowl filled with maps of local attractions on a table for visitors.
In a casual living space, opt for peel-and-stick wall maps or map decals on an accent wall. Proprolled nautical maps placed in cylinders add flair. Shelves can display map books, globes and travel tchotchkes.
In formal living rooms, elegantly framed lighted maps or large stretched canvas prints create an inviting backdrop for conversation.
Use maps to infuse a travel spirit into your dining room. Frame maps from ancestors’ home countries for a nod to your roots. Set the table with map placemats and napkins.
Host a map-themed dinner party! Make place cards with vintage map imagery. Lay a map runner down the center of the table.
Maps make great décor for chef’s kitchens. Attach a chalkboard map to note favorite recipes from around the globe. Use magnetic map spice racks to hold seasoning blends from worldwide cuisines.
For a coffee and tea bar, display rolled scroll maps in cylinders along with brewing equipment. Use map coasters for resting mugs.
In the bedroom, choose sleep-inducing cool blue hues. Hang an antique celestial map over the bed depicting dreamy constellations. Or apply a decal city map mural above the headboard reminding you of a favorite trip.
On the ceiling, project star maps using a nightscape projector to create a planetarium-like experience.
Use maps for inspiration in a home office. Tack up a map with pins to mark dream vacations. Or sticker a giant map with past journeys. Add a framed map above your desk.
Use washi tape with maps to seal envelopes and packages. Map paperweights or coasters hold down your papers.
In a child’s room, maps ignite a sense of adventure. Decorate one wall with a giant world map mural to pin favorite countries. Use colorful maps above a desk or bed.
Encourage kids to plot out trips on a chalkboard map. A play teepee or reading nook decorated with maps creates a secret fort for hideaways.
Maritime maps make fitting décor for beach house baths. Mod podge ocean maps onto tiles or have a mural printed directly onto the wall.
Use a vintage diving helmet and ship models for a display. Add touches like map tap handles or shower curtains.
Tips for Hanging Wall Maps
When displaying framed maps or map art on walls, proper placement is key to enhancing your space:
- Experiment with different map orientations. Turn a landscape-view map vertically for a different look.
- Scale the map appropriately to the wall size so it doesn’t get dwarfed or crammed.
- Keep symmetrical or matching maps aligned. Allow breathing room between a group of mismatched frames.
- Use ledges, shelves or tabletops to prop up rolled or unframed maps. Place framed maps at eye level.
- In a narrow hallway, hang a long row of identically framed maps unified by color for an artful look.
- Make sure lighting illuminates your map but doesn’t cause glare on the glass. Add adjustable picture lights.
With thoughtful placement and lighting, your wall maps will really stand out as striking focal points.
Caring for Map Décor
To keep your map décor looking its best:
- Display maps out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. UV-protectant plexiglass helps reduce fading.
- Use lower-heat lighting. Incandescent and LED lights don’t emit as much UV ray damage as halogen or fluorescent.
- Clean glass and plexiglass with microfiber cloths and map-safe cleaners. Avoid chemical cleaners.
- For fabric maps like tapestries, follow recommended washing methods. Avoid direct heat.
- Gently dust framed map surfaces. Check periodically for insects that could damage paper.
- Consider sealing, laminating, or lining the backs of valuable antique maps before framing.
With proper care and handling, treasured map décor can last for generations.
Ideas for Map Décor Around the Home
Maps can be used to decorate every room of your home. Here are some ideas:
- Framed vintage map collage
- Wall hooks or coat rack made from map-shaped wood cutouts
- Console table displaying map books and rolled scrolls
- Map throw pillows on sofa
- Coffee table with inset of map beneath glass
- Large stretched canvas city map print over fireplace
- World map table runner down center of table
- Vintage map placemats, napkins and coasters
- Map of the world decal on glass tabletop
- Pantry jars labeled with chalkboard map tags
- Magnetic spice racks with map designs
- Tea towels printed with whimsical city maps
- Headboard upholstered in map-printed fabric
- Nightstand map lamps with paper globe shades
- Ceiling decorated with glow-in-the-dark map constellations
- Shower curtain with nautical map motif
- Soap dispenser labeled with destination place names
- Restroom wallpapered with pages of atlas maps
- Bulletin board for pinning travel mementos onto a map
- Desktop paperweights and pen holders made from map cutouts
- Bookcase styled with map books, globes and souvenirs
- Map decals applied to furniture and walls
- Map puzzles and placemats for playing
- Reading nook with fort made of strung map bunting
With so many possibilities, maps can be used to decorate every space with a touch of adventure!
FAQ About Decorating with Maps
Some common questions about using maps in home décor:
Where can I buy decorative maps for my home?
You can find both modern printed and antique original maps at map shops, specialty décor stores, museum shops, and online retailers like Etsy. Hardware stores also carry maps. Look for unique finds at flea markets and antique stores.
How much do wall maps and map décor cost?
Prices can range widely. Small unframed prints may cost $10-30. Large vintage maps can run $300+. The cost depends on the map’s age, condition, framing, and retailer. Shop around for deals.
Should I frame, stretch, or hang a map as-is?
It depends on the presentation you prefer. Framing and canvas-stretching provide polished, finished looks with protective glazing. Hanging unframed saves on cost. Choose archival materials so the map won’t degrade.
What’s the best way to display a wall map?
Make sure it’s properly scaled for the wall space. Front-light maps to prevent glare. Hang in areas without direct sun to prevent fading. Use dimmers on lamps to control brightness.
How do I care for my decorative maps?
Keep maps out of direct light. Dust gently and clean using proper archival methods. Avoid moisture damage. Have antique maps professionally restored as needed. Use preventive measures like UV glazing.
With maps readily available, it’s simple to add a touch of adventure to your home décor. Let your map displays transport you and spark dreams of new destinations!
A World View: Decorating With Maps
Maps allow us to visually explore both familiar territory and far-flung destinations. For map lovers, vintage charts, atlases, and globes hold unique appeal. By incorporating maps into home décor, you can surround yourself with the beauty, history, and nostalgia of cartography.
When displayed with creativity, maps become an integral part of interior design. They infuse rooms with personality, tell stories, and provide focal points. Decorating with maps lets you celebrate your inner wanderlust daily.
Why Decorate with Maps?
Maps displayed in the home offer many benefits:
- Immerse yourself in favorite destinations or dream locations. Maps ignite travel inspiration.
- Add color, texture, and visual interest to walls and surfaces. Maps make great art.
- Express your interests and personality through map choices meaningful to you.
- Bring a well-traveled vibe and conversational piece to rooms. Guests enjoy studying map décor.
- Inject a sense of adventure into your daily life as you’re surrounded by faraway places.
- Spark imagination and curiosity in kids when decorated with child-friendly maps.
With so many options, maps can enhance any design scheme or theme.
Tips for Selecting Decorative Maps
When choosing maps for home décor, consider these tips:
- Match the map style to the room function and your overall décor. A nautical map suits a beach cottage, for example.
- Choose maps related to your interests or origins. Display your hometown or ancestry countries.
- Look for obscure maps that guests will find intriguing and want to study. Historical maps work well.
- Opt for neutral colored maps to easily match your existing palette. Or pick a vibrant one as a bold accent.
- Determine if a reproduction or original map better fits your needs and budget.
- Pick durable materials like canvas prints or laminated maps for high-traffic areas.
- Scale the map size, details, and labeling appropriately for comfortable viewing distance.
With so many map options out there, you’re sure to find the perfect choices to complement and enhance your space.
Creative Ways to Display Maps
Maps can be incorporated into home décor in endless creative ways:
Framed Wall Maps
Framing maps instantly elevates them into art. Float in substantial frames, float off the wall, or frame in shadowboxes. Illuminate with attached lighting.
Create bold super-sized murals with maps as dramatic focal features. Use wallpaper, decals, posters, or detachable wall fabric.
Upholster furniture, sew throw pillows, or make curtains using map-printed fabrics. Options like tapestries work for murals.
Table linens, placemats, coasters, and runners come in many map motifs. Or mod podge paper maps onto basic pieces.
Replace the backing of bookshelves, cabinet doors, or cubbies with paper maps adhered directly to the wood.
Commission or upcycle pieces like chests, tables, and headboards covered in map decoupage using paper maps and decoupage medium.
Maps are so versatile! With a little creativity, they can be incorporated into home furnishings in any room.
Fun Map Décor Accents
Maps also make great decorative accents and set dressing. Fun ways to add maps:
- Magnetize paper maps to display memos, photos, or chart travels.
- Decorate lamps and lampshades with map images or cover base with map paper.
- Apply map wallpaper inside closet interiors or cabinet drawers.
- Mod podge maps onto everyday items like trays, tissue boxes, wastebaskets, and vases.
- Create a gallery wall of assorted framed vintage map prints.