A period vintage explorer effect for your living room decor

The kick-back against unmitigated modernity takes a grip this autumn with modern living room ideas turning back to a vintage explorer feel. Here are our tips to get the look.

Practical guide - 23 November 2018

Tip 1


Simple living room designs don’t need to cost the earth. For the vintage explorer look, start with a globe to create your style centrepiece. Stick to the old-fashioned kind on a stand, preferably made out of hard wood and metal.

Tip 2

Antique maps

You need a very clear theme for any small living room decorating ideas to make an impact. Reinforce your explorer ideas with an antique map framed on the wall in place of a modern artwork.

Tip 3

Treasures brought home

Pick one or two striking ornaments to evoke the feeling of a traveller’s treasured finds. Perhaps an animal skull on the shelf alongside your travel books, or a brightly coloured and fringed throw to evoke far-away places.

Tip 4

Dedicated display

Make yourself a set of shelves or use a distressed-wood cabinet to display your travel mementos. Grouped together this way, even a simple Eiffel Tower or Taj Mahal souvenir will contribute to the focus on your travel theme.

Tip 5

African art

Dedicate a section of living room, perhaps around the sofa and coffee table, to African-style artefacts such as stylised masks and colourful prints. These simple things can bring living room ideas on a budget to life.


Tip 6

Plant display

You don’t need to turn your living room into a greenhouse for exotic plants. The traveller’s antique look is more about display. Find a hanging basket holder made of woven string with tassels for a handcrafted exotic touch.

Tip 7

Vintage suitcase

There’s nothing as atmospheric as a vintage suitcase. You can use the traveller’s standby as display case, shelving or for storage in your living room. A set of cases in ascending order of size makes great storage.

Tip 8

Travel trunk

Even better than suitcases, a travel trunk is brilliantly adaptable as coffee table, side-board style storage or impromptu seating. If it’s really battered all the better for atmosphere; just dress it up with a bright throw.

Tip 9

The Sherlock look

Any kind of gadget giving vision a boost brings a sense of adventure and exploration. You can play it safe with a Sherlock-style magnifying glass or go the full discovery route with binoculars, a microscope or a telescope.

Tip 10

Keep it light-hearted

Keep a light touch with your themed living room décor. Your theme will show through much better with a cheerful, eclectic, mix-and-match approach and your living room will be warm and welcoming if you keep it casual.

In a nutshell

Focus your antique explorer theme by starting with a globe on the sideboard and antique maps on the wall. They are simple, low budget and set an unmistakable style.

Enrich the traveller look with colourful and antique artefacts put together in a mixed display to create variety, interest and a cheerful feel.

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