map desk
image: Sterin

In a world filled with GPS systems and smart phones, the traditional paper map (even as it turns obsolete) still possesses a certain beauty. Antique versions provide us with a link to the past; through them we can see snapshots of a moment in time. People have created maps since before the Greeks, but map-making really exploded during the Renaissance. The invention of printing coincided with the age of exploration, which lead to a map-making boom as new places were discovered more quickly. Today, maps still give off that air of sea-faring adventure. Add a little thrill to your home by repurposing maps as eco-friendly decoration. Explore these four ideas.

1. Map bulletin board or inspiration board

Take an old map and use it to line the center of a bulletin board. The interesting details in the vintage map will add a little bit of oomph to a bulletin board’s usual cork exterior. If you’re planning a vacation or a quick getaway soon (or maybe just dreaming for the future), use your map-covered board as inspiration for your trip. Tack up magazine cutouts of distant locales. Write down your personal goal of seeing the Mona Lisa or eating a new cuisine and put it on the board where you can see it every day. Use pushpins to “mark the spot” of your dream destinations. However you choose to decorate your board, it’s bound to get that travel bug in you all riled up. 

2. Line an end table, dresser or desk

Add a little old world charm to an end table, dresser or desk using maps. Cut an old map to fit the surface of an end table, dresser or desk. At your local hardware store, buy a piece of glass cut to fit the top of the piece of furniture. Then simply place the map on the piece of furniture, and the glass on top. Voilà. A complete makeover without the pain of sanding, painting or staining anything.

3. Make book covers

book covered maps
image: H is for Home

If you’re feeling a little, well, over the arrangement on your bookshelves, easily liven up your usual display of books by creating book covers out of old maps. Lining up your map-covered books along a shelf will create a uniform, but visually interesting, look.

4. Frame it

framed maps
image: Sterin

Even your 1996 road map of the state of Missouri can look exciting when framed and hung on the wall. Maps, be they antique or modern, always catch the eye, drawing the viewer in for closer inspection. For a more modern look, cut a map into pieces and frame each piece separately. Rearrange all of the pieces to fit together on the wall like a puzzle. Talk about some cheap art.

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