How to Decorate a Great Room With an Around-the-World Theme

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Use your passion for travelling or your dream of visiting exciting locales around the world as the theme for your great room. This can involve much more than framing the pictures you've taken or adding posters of Paris and London to the walls.

Incorporate styles of furniture used in different parts of the world and textiles ranging from Guatemalan weavings to Indian saris. Soon you will have a space where you can feel relaxed and ready to plan your next trip.

Paint the walls a neutral colour that appeals to a variety of ethnic decorating styles, such as a warm beige or creamy white. Alternatively, use wallpaper that appeals to different decorating styles, such as a floral or a striped pattern. Or add an oversized map of the world to your wall.

Include furniture from different places or a few key pieces from your favourite regions to complement neutral furniture, such as a white or beige sofa. For example, use an Italian armoire to house your media equipment, hand-carved tables from Asia and a dining table with a top made of Mexican tiles. Stick with the same wood tones for a cohesive look, or opt for neutral furniture that can be dressed up with detailed accessories. For side tables, use stacked vintage luggage or an old steamer trunk. Alternatively, get speciality furniture, such as a table with a globe under a glass top.

Add colourful textiles. For example, anchor your sofa arrangement with a Persian rug, hang a beaded sari behind the dining table, or use silk brocade curtains. Throw pillows can be covered in fabric or patterns that represent different regions, or go for a more playful look of pillows that look like postcards or postmarks. Add an animal-print throw.

Place lamps or chandeliers around the room where more light is needed. A novelty lamp that looks like the Eiffel Tower can sit on an end table next to your favourite reading chair, while a floor lamp that resembles a London phone booth can stand in the corner, next to the media centre. Hang paper lanterns above the dining table.

Hang pictures or artwork that pull the theme together. Images of major cities, such as Hong Kong, Paris, London, Sydney, Bali and New York, will unite the theme. Use images of major landmarks or buildings if you prefer, such as the Taj Mahal, the Kremlin, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Roman Colosseum.

Accessorise the room with little odds and ends that represent different regions and cultures. Line up your collection of famous landmark figurines, bookends or pottery from around the world. Showcase them in a focal-point hutch or bookcase, and illuminate them with either interior or recessed lighting.