Last Updated Jun 30, 2017 · Written by Craig Gibson
We often forget how modern air travel has transformed our lives. We think nothing of jetting off to far flung destinations for a week or two, locations our forefathers would only have dreamed of visiting.
It gives us an opportunity to absorb the culture and customs of these countries, including the food, fashion, art, architecture and the interior style of a destination. Often we are inspired to incorporate some of these elements into our homes. It could be locally produced homewares, handmade furnishings, artisanal furniture or a print by a roadside artist - keepsakes of an exotic getaway or maybe more?
With this in mind here are home style ideas and inspiration from the top 10 holiday locations Aussies can’t get enough of.
With such a diverse array of cultures and religions across this vast country no surprise that Indian interior design is among the most exotic and complex styles out there. Colour is central to every aspect of Indian culture, and is a feature that strikes all first time visitors . India is also justly renowned for its beautiful handicrafts, fabrics, ornate architecture and homewares.
Style tip: Indian handicrafts and decorative artifacts are a cost effective option to add colour and visual interest to any room in your home. Use a few select vibrant pieces to accessorise and offset a more muted overall tone for a room, as in this take on a traditional bedroom.
Hawaii islands are a natural paradise with an abundance of rainforest, stunning beaches and volcanoes - which is why it became the ultimate tropical destination. The style and design of Hawaiian homes reflect this with a lifestyle that is intimately connected with these elements. Surf and beach culture are also synonymous with Hawaii, and both have influenced fashion and interior design far beyond these Pacific islands.
Style tip: To bring a little of the aloha island style and spirit into your home incorporate lush tropical plants, bamboo - or even better install an outdoor shower to transport you to a Hawaiian beach hut.
The land of the rising sun has had a huge influence on interior design in the West, with a simplicity that is at once modest yet effortlessly elegant. Their interior design aesthetic has been refined over thousands years and has been heavily influenced by Buddhist/Shinto culture and the natural world. I am going to call it organic minimalism. Timber and other natural materials are an important element of traditional Japanese homes, evident in the use of tatami mats and timber framed shoji screens.
Style tip: Add a timber freestanding timber bathtub to turn your bathroom into a serene traditional Japanese onsen or spa experience and soak your troubles away in Zen-like solitude. Or head to your nearest Muji outlet for a budget take on many elements of Japanese interior design.
Living spaces is at a premium in the compressed environs of this ex-British colonial outpost. That means most Hong Kong residents live in compact apartments where space is precious. They need to be clever with the limited space they have to work with, so ideas around smart storage abound. Think using every square inch of your apartment, such as under bed storage, storage friendly furniture, behind the door storage and clever storage solutions for their tiny, postage stamp sized kitchens.
Style tip: If you have a compact kitchen look to utilise corners to maximise the area to its fullest. Clever corner cabinet drawers turn once redundant space into useful storage for items like cutlery or even pots.
Converting old warehouses, factories and industrial spaces in New York became popular at the height of the counterculture movement in the 1960s, when artists turned these spaces into studios and a place to crash. They are defined by high ceilings and large windows, so usually have oodles of natural light. Another design marker are exposed beams and structural elements including pipework, lighting and ducting.
Style tip: Look to expose any brickwork in your home and contrast it with more modern design elements including Scandi furniture, outsize artworks and greenery in the form of leafy plants in large pots.
You would be hard pressed to find a Brit who leaves for work with a bowler hat, but that is not to say that tradition is on the wane there. For interiors the modern British home is an eclectic mix of influences, that borrows as much from their former colonies as it does reference a rich classical history. All these result in a style that is uniquely British, with nods to eclectic eccentricity, the countryside and a tradition of solid craftsmanship.
Style tip: Juxtapose solid, crafted classically inspired furniture with items from your travels, like a kilim from India, mask from Africa or intricate carving from Asia.
Thailand is only surpassed by Bali as a favoured holiday getaway for Aussies, and it is not difficult to see why. Friendly locals, great food, even better beaches - and don’t forget to add great shopping to your list. That list extends to an interior aesthetic that is serene, tranquil and comfortable without being too formal. There is also a strong organic theme running through traditional Thai homes, with a lot of handcrafted timber items juxtaposed with opulent fabrics and gold themed religious objects.
Style tip: For affordable and practical outdoor furniture look no further than rattan. This not only looks handcrafted, but is lightweight and will give any outdoor entertaining area a subtle Asian theme.
Vietnam’s rich and unique history, combined with rapid recent modernisation has made this Southeast Asian country an intriguing melting pot of influences. There are obvious Chinese and French cultural elements in the food, dress and architecture which make for a unique melange that draws increasing numbers of Aussies. Its night markets are a cacophony of noise, colour and the aroma of the country’s distinctive cuisine - which make them a highlight of any visit there. They can also be a great source of inspiration for your next home decor project.
Style tip: Use lanterns to decorate your outdoor entertainment area to recreate a Vietnamese night market. This can be for a special occasion or make it a permanent feature to wow friends, family and house guests.
New Zealanders fell in love with the Californian bungalow which has come to symbolise a rustic simplicity at odds with all the McMansions and bland apartments that dominate so many of our cities today. Think corrugated roofing, a picket fence, plasterboard and a verandah for watching the world go by. What is there not to like?
Style tip: Short of extending your patio into a verandah and buying a rocking chair, you could also put up a picket fence. Just make sure you paint it white.
Bali is the most visited international destination by Aussies, tempting us back with a mixture of exotic landscapes, catered villas, beaches and an active nightlife. No surprise that when we come home we want to recreate the harmonious feeling of our Balinese escape. Look to use natural materials if you want to incorporate Balinese beach style in your home, like natural timber, cane and bamboo.
Style tip: Build a thatched gazebo where you can lounge until your next holiday to Bali. And if you live in Queensland count yourself lucky, you can use it all year round.