Friday, March 4, 2011

Vintage Maps: A Design Inspiration

 If you've been following my blog you know that many of my posts deal with advice on what's hot to shop for when thrifting, and ways to incorporate your finds into your decor. One of my favorite design experiments had to do with educational pull down classroom maps.  They're also called posters and vintage teaching charts. 

The classroom teaching charts that I always look for have a science/nature-related theme.  In my sun room I have a reference map for shells.  It's one of my favorite things in my home.
You can see that it has been well-used.

The map became my stepping off point for the design in the room.  The wall color and the fabric pick up the brown in the map.  The coral prints in mirrored frames added the glam, the accent color,
and repeat the shell theme.

Again notice the repetition of the the shell theme with the shells in the vase and the colors brown and coral.

I recently found this smaller map version with mollusks.  I'm noticing that many of these educational maps are from Germany.  I haven't decided if I'll use this one in my home or sell it.

This next image is more of a science poster.  It's definitely shabby, but I really liked the subject matter
and the illustrations.

This last image isn't even vintage, but I loved the art and the gold leaf.  I have plans for this one.

As you can see,  the science-related maps have greater appeal to me.  I love them for their subject matter but also for their vibrant colors and design. Their large size really makes a statement.

Here are some other examples of nature-related pull down maps
 that will surely make you want to own and display some in your decor.

Source for the vintage teaching charts' images that are not from my home here.

Put these maps on your decor trend shopping list. You can find them readily on e-bay under the pull down map category.  Here are some (fuzzy) images of some I recently saw for less than $150 on e-bay. I'm also seeing them more and more in antiques shops too.

Let me know what you find and how you used it.
What are you hot to shop for?



  1. Do the maps come rolled up? I will have to keep an eye out for them in my travels! You find the neatest things!

  2. You are one talented woman!! Thanks for the fabulous inspiration. I know I'll be back soon.

  3. Love this inspiration- everything is beautiful! Stopping by from ATPF party- nice to meet you! :)

  4. I love the one in your living room! It is great. Where do you find these? Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great post! I use a lot of framed calendar art in my home for decorating. This is another great idea. Thanks for the inspiration. Stopping by from Funky Junk Sat. Night Special.

  6. I would have never in a million years thought to look for these as decor. They are beautiful & add an instant touch of art. Glad I found you today via the Picket Fence! -diane

  7. I love your blog! I am a new follower - and YES i did see you on Nate Burkus. I DVR it and watch it each evening after work......I wished I loved closer - I need some help in some redesign

  8. I really like those old roll ups, I have a Railroad map of the State of Washington hanging in our living room. I found mine last summer for $5. at a garage sale, can you believe it! It's in pretty good shape, too. Enjoyed seeing your science art and your suggestions for using it as decorating inspiration.

  9. Love your style!!! I will be back often. Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a great metamorphosis! Well done.

    I am having a hilarious Linky party with prizes this Wednesday. Details are on my blog today.
    I hope you'll join in on the fun.

  11. As I am a high school science teacher, I was especially interested in this entry. You have done a beautiful job with the shell poster. I have the whole roll of social studies maps, and a collection of old science lab equipment, but have not found a good setting for them yet.

  12. Great idea. I saw some teaching maps...of North America, Europe, etc in a consignment shop...think I will go back and pick one up. Love the colors in yours.
    Mary Ann

  13. I love this idea! I found your blog at Between Naps on the Front Porch. You have such great ideas and I'm your newest follower! I'd love it if you'd follow me back:

    Again, you did a fantastic job with this!! :-)

  14. Your blog is wonderful! Love your educational map.
    Thank you for sharing your talent with us :)


  15. Kathy these are all beautiful!

  16. Kathy, Fab ideas - so glad I peeked in - lunch at Il Pizzico one of these sunny days? Jennifer