It seems that either you’re a map-reader or you’re not.  I have friends who can turn a map upside down trying to work out where we are and which is the way out and still get lost.  Others throw it a cursory glance and have the position nailed and the route defined.  Whichever camp you sit in, a map can be a wonderful reminder of a holiday, a place once lived in or a beautiful visit.  They can even tempt you to destinations on your dream list.

framed antique map

The most common way to use maps inside is by framing the antique versions, as above. 

These are becoming very popular with interior designers, and I notice even Ralph Lauren is using them in their advertisements:

Not content with this minimal approach, I have been known to cover entire walls with maps – as this little washroom shows.

For details on this project have a look here.  I just love this room!  It’s a lot more work – but hey – what else are you going to do over Christmas? – a map as a mural.

If you’re looking for more unconventional takes on maps, check out these cushions. 

silk aviator escape map cushion interior

They are covered in silk escape maps from World War Two. 

silk aviator escape map cushion interior3

Pilots were given maps printed on silk that they wore like scarves so that if they bailed out or crashed into the sea or a river, the map wouldn’t dissolve (as paper maps are wont to do).

world war two silk escape aviator map

Maps look great on books:

leather bound book map cover vintage interior

The worn leather contrasts so beautifully with the antique map cover.  I feel that Darwin or Livingstone might have held this (although I’m quite sure that their stationery was nowhere near so glamorous!)

leather bound book map cover vintage interior2

Maps can make gorgeous linings for cupboards, shelves and display cases.  I lined this one with a black and white town map.

cabinet lining map cover vintage interior

You can see how do this project here.

Maps are now appearing on everywhere.  Seletti have a range of plates and mugs featuring Europe’s grand old cities.

seletti plate map cover vintage interior

I’m not sure you’d want a whole dinner service – but one or two would be stunning.

You can easily recover your old lamp shade with your unwanted, or unused maps. 

Despite a personal dislike of shower curtains (somehow, when I’m having a shower, they get sucked into towards me, through some invisible vortex and I end up wrapped claustrophically in a clinging wet wall of fabric with a life of its own), I might be tempted by this one with the Tube on it.

And of course, my favourite, the map covered globe as a cocktail cabinet!  More of which here…

Open antique globe cocktail drinks

In a couple of days I’ll show you how to make the chicest coolest map accessory – with minimal effort.  Check back and see how it works out!