Old Maps and Vintage Suitcase Boxes

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My husband is a map fan. He likes all kinds of maps, from vintage paper ones with crumbly edges to online Google maps and street views.

A globe at home. Behind is a UNESCO map.

A globe at home. Behind is a UNESCO map.

I took the photo above of a World Classic globe my husband bought for our house. The background is a UNESCO World Heritage wall map that I bought for him as a small present. Needless to say, he was delighted.

My husband's pocket watch

Watch on trunk with Old World map

Aside from globes and wall maps, my husband has a small trunk box covered with an Old World map in his room. I took out one of this antique pocket watches and photographed it over the box in the photo above.

I enjoy maps, too, especially the Old World ones. I especially like the trunk-like or treasure chest-like boxes covered with maps. They look beautiful in most rooms, the vintage look adding a touch of timelessness and old-fashioned adventure.

In this article we’ll take a look at some vintage map-covered trunks, as well as customizable, personalized gifts with antique maps.

Fit for Any Room

Vintages trunks and suitcases have been all the rage for the past few years. I don’t know whether it’s because they help us fantasize about bygone travel adventures (Though really, traveling is so much more convenient now than centuries ago, when it would take weeks to go from one continent to another!). Whatever their charm, they add a historical and mysterious feel to rooms, vicariously connecting us with the past.

A stack of vintage suitcases

A stack of vintage suitcases. Photo courtesy of Country Living.

The great thing about suitcases is that you can put stuff inside. They’re perfect for decluttering the house.

Room with map wall

Room with map wall. Source unknown; found on Tumblr.

Here’s a nice room with a map wall and trunk coffee table.

So we combine these two—trunk/suitcase and map—and get the best of both worlds:

Trunk Me A Map

Or should that be map me a trunk? Whichever, these lovely decorative boxes not only provide storage but also add some Old World charm to a room.

I love the deep cherry red tones of this pair.

This one has a pretty interesting map, I think.

I would love this vintage map wooden treasure chest for my room! It would be perfect for keeping small books or trinkets.

The rich brown leather straps with gold nailhead trim look great on this pair.

And finally, these boxes are not covered with maps but I love the vintage labels on them.

Dreaming of the Travel Years

Many fascinating, classic novels and memoirs start with someone getting on or off a steam ship or train, suitcases in tow. I put together these pillow collages so that you could lay your head on them and be transported to a whole New World (of old).

Here are customizable collages of old maps of Europe, with vintage postcards, paper luggage tags and parchment paper. A set of paper frames contain sample vintage photographs. Replace the samples with your own images. Your images will go cleanly behind the collage so you can easily adjust the size and placement. Add your name and text to make the item uniquely yours. The designs look great with vintage-filtered photos of your favorite places from your travels, your favorite people, or even just the good ol’ neighborhood.

This one has an ornate, lace-like paper frame, perfect for a beautiful girl’s photo.

I used a stack of postcards for the frame for this item. Adding a Mom-and-me photo would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift.

Finally, this one’s for those who want to add more than one photo!

Here’s how the backsides look like:

With the profusion of free tools and filters for editing photos, it’s now so easy to make a digital photo look vintage-y, with sepia tones and worn textures. So even a photo taken, say, right now with your phone and then manipulated on Instagram would look pretty with these pillows.

I hope you have fun customizing! These pillows make wonderful gifts for the travel lover or Europhile in your life.

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2 Comments

  1. slf says:

    I like fantasy maps: Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the Narnia maps especially the Voyage of the Dawntreader, and Lev Grossman’s voyage of the Muntjac map in the “Magician King”.

    • beverlyclaire says:

      I love those maps, too! Will have to wait for some decades before they become Public Domain and I can use them on my designs… Hope I’ll be alive by then 🙂

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