Maps, a Design Staple

I’m not sure what it is, but I love me a great map. Maybe it’s because they are really (in their printed form) a thing of the past. Gone are the days when we’ll pull out a paper map while we are in the car to get from point A to point B, but I still can’t seem to part with my old bin of paper maps. I have 90’s and ’00 era US state and city maps as well as city and country maps from the time I lived in Europe. I love the range of colors and fonts and printing styles on old maps. They are more art than utility now and they are a staple in design that I use all the time!

Large antique maps matted and framed or small modern maps in a gallery format are a great way to decorate an empty space. Match your interior style to your maps. Keep a nautical theme with depth chart or fishing maps or go modern and colorful with subway maps. Budgets for maps can span quite a range, you can drop thousands on a huge antique map, hundreds on a unique wood map or spend under 10 bucks on a quirky yard sale find. Need some ideas for how to use maps in your home? Here’s a few great ones that I love.

Styling with Maps

eclectic map gallery wall










kids room with map wallpaper












shades of blue map wall














quad of old city maps framed











fun subway map wall










Maps as Art

Also, here are some unique map forms, pictures made of maps, maps of wood, silhouettes, and many others!  What can you create with old maps?

wave made of map pieces










map of world in butterflies











wood 3D map of OBX















wood usa state map









black backgound flight path map








topographic map

Fabulous Fabrics

I wish I could sew. I even own a sewing machine, in fact, I own two. Still, the best I can do is hem a pair of curtains that are too long (and even then it’s sometimes just easier to use iron-on hem tape).  I can also sew a mostly square pillow. Impressive, eh?  I often wander through JoAnn fabrics looking longingly at the cozy flannel and even other fancy apparel fabrics just imagining what I could make if I really knew what all those buttons and dials on my sewing machines did.
I recently saw a real designer fabric store highlighted in the February edition of Better Homes and Gardens. I think my imagination would go wild in a place like this – oh, the things I have no skill to make!!! Studio Four in New York City has collections from small independent textile designers as well as artists who create wallpaper and rugs. In addition to their showroom, they have design spaces and even a weaving studio. I am loving some of the artists they showcase and their products. Check a few of them out here (hover over name for link).

The sisters from Aalamwaar design shop (all the way from India) create some beautiful hand dyed tie-dies and block printed fabrics.
















Caitlin McGauley’s experience as textile designer led her to craft this excellent line of wallpapers.  Can you imagine how chic that cheetah print would be in a powder room?  Yowza.  Or those sweet elephants in a little girls’ room?
















If you’re looking for something more historic and geometric, then prints from the house of the late Florence Broadhurst might be for you.  These designs have stood the test of time – over 100 years!  The geometric aqua bamboo inspired print wold be excellent in a seaside home.
















In my own designs I’m such a sucker for blue and white  graphic prints.  In the future, I may be using a few from  this design duo at Luru Home, who do indigo resist printing in both Brooklyn and the ancient home of the art, China.
















I’m now wondering if there is a place available like that near me in the DC area, I’m going to have to look and see.  Which fabrics here do you love?  How would you use them…. if, unlike me, you can sew…  or heck even if you are like me and just like to dream of the possibilities if you could sew….