best ofinterior design

17 Versatile Ways to Style a Space with Maps

by Kelli Kehler

In design, and in many other avenues of creative expression, trends or popular styles are cyclical — they have their moment, they fade into the background, and then eventually they can be the new hip thing again. But maps are one of those elements of interior design that have always been relevant (and often useful).

Their impact on a space will always be varied and eclectic given the multitude of places, time periods, and styles which they reflect, making maps uniquely unpredictable design elements. Given their detail or the cartographer’s stylistic personality — and chosen color gradients — you’d be hard-pressed to find a map that’s an unforgettable facet of a room. Black and white, neutral hues or the entire color spectrum; immensely detailed or minimally outlined; hundreds of years old or fresh off the printing press: these countless variables make maps ever the versatile styling piece. Let’s look at how they work in 17 different spaces. —Kelli

1/17
In the Calgary home of photographer Jess Loraas, a historic map of Paris was custom-printed into a large wallpaper size to anchor the wall behind her bed.
2/17
Here in Kennett Square, PA, an old map with vibrant colors creates a powerful moment in the home's foyer.
3/17
"The map above the credenza is a geological map of California that was issued by the State Mining Bureau in 1916," say homeowners Kristin and Derek. "It was found at an estate sale in the neighborhood."
4/17
An IKEA world map sets the color palette for this dining space in a home in Selbu, Norway.
5/17
A map from 1902 complements a more modern aesthetic in this Chicago, IL apartment.
6/17
A vintage map of London perfectly fills a kitchen desk nook while visually designating the space as having its own separate function.
7/17
In Paris, a map made by the homeowner's mother adds both a modern and textured facet to the bedroom.
8/17
Interestingly enough, a map of New York state echoes the tonal vibe of Hawaii in the bedroom of Darren Namaye.
9/17
A giant 1967 pull-down school map both adds a color pop to this handsome brick wall and echoes the heritage of the Indian and Polish residents of this Vancouver townhouse.
10/17
This graphic map of New York City carries a poppy red hue throughout this family space in Mechanicville, NY.
11/17
In the same upstate NY home, a larger map layered with text works to add both texture and subtle hints of color to a fresh white fireplace.
12/17
A uniquely shaped world map sets the tone for a Victoria, British Columbia home fixated on prewar sensibilities.
13/17
In a Fayetteville, NC home, a large-scale map both anchors this boy's bedroom and reminds him of his dad, who is deployed overseas. "I decided to have the map mural installed in Zion's room to enable Dada to 'be there' for bedtime routines, for morning-time routines, or just whenever we wanted to go and randomly 'visit' Dada."
14/17
A vintage map of Yellowstone National Park is right at home in this rustic Montana farmhouse.
15/17
In New Jersey, a vintage map scored on eBay influences a dining area's color palette.
16/17
A framed Ortelius map of Persia is the focal point of a moody workspace in this Harlem, NY brownstone.
17/17
In a Chicago, IL loft, a map of Pennsylvania -- bought at a barn sale for $10 -- acts as both a graphic component in an older apartment and a grounding element for this wall space.

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