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Solutions: Travel souvenirs put memorable stamp on home

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

One of the many perks of traveling is the quest for unique finds along the way. Whether you’re looking for some creative ways to display your vacation souvenirs or any other collections, there are lots of opportunities to put these pieces in the spotlight.

When you buy an item that requires a frame, it helps to know if you’ll need to invest in one that’s custom-made so that you can factor that expense into the total cost. If not, a standard size is often a more affordable option.

Another way to preserve a small poster or print, or any image that you’d like to display, is to have it laminated at an office supply store. I’ve done this with everything from colorful magazine covers to special memorabilia from museums and other venues.

Shadowboxes can showcase your keepsakes along with display cases that hang on the wall. Vintage printer drawers with little cubbyholes are ideal for seashells or trinkets, such as shot glasses or snow globes that have been gathered from your travels.

Trays can corral various objects that take you back to your favorite spot, like a regional magazine that features a beach on the cover topped with a pair of sunglasses that you bought while you were there.

Postcards make wonderful art, especially when grouped together for more impact. The reproduction vintage varieties I tend to find on the west side of the state combine graphic prints with humorous sayings. A series of three that I discovered in Holland were matted and framed as one piece, while a recent one from Grand Haven is displayed on the fridge for now.

Tabletop easels can also highlight a particular postcard, a family photo or even a greeting card with an image that appeals to you. They give you the flexibility to have a rotating gallery that can be changed on a whim.

Decorative boxes can be left open with the lid tucked underneath in order to encourage you to view all those vacation images on a regular basis instead of stashing them away where they can easily be forgotten.

Even something as standard as a candle can become more noticeable when placed in a display case. I still have one from years ago that looks like a piece of cheese sitting in a bookcase on a small plate covered by a glass cloche. People often mistake it for the real deal.

It’s from our first trip to Saugatuck and it serves as a reminder of that time. In fact, I can still remember the glorious golden retriever that was napping in the wine shop where I found the candle.

Then there’s the Cayman Islands Menu Guide Millennium Edition that hangs in our kitchen. It has the year 2000 scrawled across the cover commemorating a time when Y2K was the hot topic and we opted to leave town.

These seemingly simple souvenirs can bring to mind the places we’ve been through the years, while providing some conversation pieces for our homes.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at