Maps aren’t just useful, they can be very attractive as well. Older maps in particular, with their thick, creamy paper, precise printing and delicate colouring, can make a lovely decorative addition to your home.
To find old maps, search online, visit charity shops or contact specialist dealers. More modern AA route maps from the 1950s and 60s aren’t expensive, and old school atlases often have some nice coloured illustrations. Here’s how to use your finds.
1. Map table
This one’s simple, but very visual. You’ll need a piece of furniture with a flat top, such as a coffee table, chest of drawers or sideboard. Then, just cut the map to fit. For a piece of furniture that’s not used much, you can glue the map down and paint it with a couple of coats of clear varnish.
Otherwise, fit a sheet of glass over the top – you can get this cut to size at hardware shops.
2. Map wallpaper
If you fancy covering an entire wall with maps as a feature, there are lots of ways to tackle it. A nice idea is to cover a child’s bedroom wall with maps of the world, so they can mark off holiday destinations/places of interest.
If the maps are going to stay there for years, consider covering the wall with perspex sheets to protect them – your child can then use a whiteboard marker to plan journeys, instead of map pins.
If you don’t want to use real maps, have a local printers produce colour photocopies to use as wallpaper.
Alternatively, visit Maps International – they produce printed map wallpaper in a range of different designs, including this quirky abstract London map, which measures 2.5m x 3.6m and costs £325. It’s self adhesive too, making it easy to install and remove.
3. Map art
A simple and visual way of using maps in your home is to introduce them as artwork. This works best with maps that have some personal meaning, such as maps of your local area, childhood home, honeymoon destination or dream home.
Source the map, have a complementary-shaped mount cut and frame the result. These images also make lovely wedding or birthday presents for frames.
4. Map textiles
If paper isn’t your thing, how about this map design fabric from John Lewis? At £18 a metre, it’s ideal for curtains, blinds, cushions, bed throws, lampshades and lots of other uses.
For more inspiration, have a look to see what sellers and crafters are making with map fabric on Etsy.
5. Map cards
If you’ve got any scraps of maps left after making other projects, a lovely way to use them up is by making greetings cards. Decide on a theme, and search online for a template. Strong, simple, recognisable silhouettes are best, such as animals, hearts, apples etc.
Print out the template and tape it over the map with some low-tack masking tape. Cut out the template and the map together, then glue the map shape to the front of a plain card. Take a look at this example from Bombus for ideas:
By Sara Walker0