decorheadernewI’ve mentioned it before, but I think one of the best ways to remember a special place (or a whole trip) is with adding a piece of it to your home. Aloha shirts, jewelry, and locally-made soaps and snacks are all wonderful mementos, but I’d like to shed some light on some more permanent (and maybe a little pricier) souvenirs that will last a lifetime—and then some. And yes, a painting is wonderful, but here are some other ideas to help you bring the spirit of the islands to your everyday life, wherever you are!

  1. Hawaiian Quilt
    Hawaiian quilts are absolutely stunning, and have a personality all to their own. When I think “quilt,” I might think of a stuffy, not-so-chic patchwork affair, but that’s not the case at all with Hawaiian quilts. Beautifully graphic, with a wonderful contrast between their bright colors and stark white space, Hawaiian-style quilting is a three-hundred-year tradition that feels modern and new. You’ll find them inspired by flowers, fruit, and other muses from Mother Nature, and their crisp, geometric patterns are unique and stunning. If you’ve got the wall space, they’re gorgeous hanging up (properly framed and preserved, of course), but they have an even bigger impact on a bed, and can complement a number of different décor styles.
  2. Koa Wood (anything!)
    Koa is certainly the ubiquitous Hawaiian luxury item—from Koa wood bowls, to rocking chairs, surfboards, paddles, to even watches and wedding rings, it’s everywhere. And it’s no wonder: koa is a hard, beautiful, and unique wood, which has a shimmer, beautiful color variations, and a fascinating grain pattern. It’s expensive for the genuine, sustainable Hawaiian koa, but it’s an investment that’s well worth it when adding a piece to your home. Koa surfboards are an unmistakable show-stopper, but smaller paddles, bowls, and other items may be more within a limited budget—and have just as much meaning and connection to your Hawaiian vacation.
  3. Vintage Travel Posters
    For those who like a little Mad Men-esque appeal, vintage airline ads touting the beautiful Hawaiian Islands are perfect. Hung in a guest bedroom, along with some tropical potted plants and perhaps even a Hawaiian quilt, you’ll give your out-of-town guests a little “Hawaiian getaway” feeling right in your home. The real-deal vintage posters from the ‘60s and ‘70s will run you a pretty penny, but reproductions will bring the exact same feel to your space, and will still bring you back to lazy afternoons sipping a cocktail on the beach.

Even if you haven’t been to Hawaii in years, or if a trip here is still a long-term goal, you can still get that Hawaiian vibe in your home without it looking like a cheesy luau or a tiki bar—unless you’re into that!