Do you want your home to look more like what you see when you visit another country? You may think everyplace looks the same but when you travel outside the US you can really see there are drastic differences.
I enjoy traveling because it’s a good time to how people live in other countries. Every time I travel outside the US I’m shocked at how different we live in America, and I come home feeling happy to lucky to have so much space. I also come home inspired by some of the ways that people live in much smaller, more simple spaces.
Pocket and top pivot doors
Doors can take up a lot of space in a room. I know because I’ve got 4 doors in my bedroom alone. The Europeans have mastered how to minimize their doors and make them more invisible.
We had a bathroom in Germany that had three doors but each was basically invisible because it was a panel that rotated. Each panel/door was hinged at the top in the middle. Each door swung into the bathroom and into the room, halfway. You don’t see these in America very often, but what a smart idea. This way instead of swinging 30-36″ into a room, it would only take up half the space.
Minimal counter space in bathrooms
In the US we are so used to large bathrooms with cabinets and lots of counter space. Bathrooms in Europe are generally much smaller and they use the space very differently. They are very minimalist. Even the smallest bathrooms have a separate bidet, but they rarely have a vanity with storage.
By necessity, you are forced not to put things on the countertop because there isn’t one. Would this work at home? I would like to think it could. We recently move down from a large bathroom to a small one with one sink. It’s amazing how we aren’t missing all of the stuff we stored that we really didn’t use.
Large Floor to Ceiling curtains
We could learn a thing or two from Europe about how to cover a window. First, they often have exterior window coverings that go down electronically. This is a game changer in keeping light out. The room is totally dark, no light seeps in around the curtains.
Inside the rooms they also have over the top curtains. Most of the curtains hang directly from the ceiling. They are pinch-pleat curtains set into a rail in the ceiling. The volume of fabric really gives the room a luxurious look.
One of the hotels we stayed in had a desk lamp on the check in counter that was four feet tall. The base and shade were both about two feet tall, but inside was this tiny little bulb. The lamp was more of a sculpture than lighting, but it made a statement.
Even the lights over the bed were gold with crystals.
Simple bedding and individual duvet covers
The beds in Europe have almost all the same bedding. They have white sheets, white pillows and a white duvet. They don’t use top sheets and even on a king bed, they have two twin duvets. Each person gets their own duvet. If they have color, it is in the form of a throw blanket folded at the bottom of the bed.
Velvet Upholstery cushions
Velvet is a very formal fabric. The one in the picture was in our hotel room and the cushions are a different fabric from base and the back of the couch. The base of the sofa is linen. It’s a modern, trendy take on velvet and you could easily switch out the top pillows with the seasons.
Wool Oriental rugs everywhere
Every hotel we went to in Europe had many oriental rugs on the floor. Many of these rugs are in the lobby and the most high traffic areas. They last forever and look almost better with more wear. They are expensive, but I think rugs are one place worth spending more. You can read about where I think it’s worth splurging on rugs here.
Modern graphic Accent chairs
Even in the most traditional settings, we saw modern graphic accent chairs. These chairs also have different fabric on back and the front. I also noticed lots of color, not just neutrals. This room had tons of bright yellow.
Plants Any Place they will fit
Yards and empty land can be a rarity in larger European towns. This doesn’t mean they go without plants. They manage to put potted plants every place they can squeeze them in. I saw a doorstep where the owner managed to grow peppers, rosemary and tomatoes on their two steps. Plus they squeezed in a lantern. They know a thing or two about maximizing small outdoor spaces.
How to get European Style
When you travel do you notice how people in other countries decorate their homes? I always find myself wondering what it would be like to live wherever I’m visiting. I also come home with some unique ideas for things to try in my home. What about you?