Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Map Fetish

I have a thing for maps. There, I said it. All maps really - framed maps, antique maps, globes, and any other map-paraphernalia, including map pillows and coasters. Just look at My Map Maniac Pinterest board. It's a little crazy.

Every time I think of decorating our house, I brainstorm what kind of "map" I can incorporate. And, subsequently, every time I see a map, I brainstorm about where it could go in our house. If our house has a theme, it would probably be maps. Yes, I said it, our house has a theme. (Chris is going to hate that.)

I blame it on the fact that Chris and I love to travel. Not only did Chris and I meet studying abroad in Greece, but we also got engaged while backpacking across Europe. On top of that, we have taken more road trips around our great nation than I can recount, including a camping trip for a week in Utah. We're constantly planning our next big escape, whether it's the Olympic Games or a tour of the northern U.S., and we even "jokingly" comment about how we want to go live in Germany or Canada. (and I'm still not sure if we're joking, or serious about that one . . .) Either way, maps seem to be a constant reminder of all of our adventures and a fitting theme for our house!

So, for almost a year now I've been planning on creating a gallery wall of framed maps above our couch in our living room. Not only was the wall blank and boring, but coincidentally antique maps often have the same turquoise and red colors that I had started decorating our first floor in.

Ever since that decision I've been slowly collecting cheap frames from Ikea and thrift stores and perusing the web and Etsy for maps. I toyed with matching colored frames, or mixed frames (as my Pinterest followers probably noticed), and finally, last month, decided that it was time to actually hang up my map wall.

I started by laying out all of my frames on the floor and placing my maps on top of them to see how I wanted it to be arranged.


Then, I did what every lifestyle blogger out there does, I hung up mock frames made of paper on the wall to get a better idea of the arrangement.


I apologize for the raciness of my mock frames, we didn't have any newspaper like normal people probably use so I just tore up a Victoria's Secret catalog instead. And in case you guessed it already, these racy mock frames stayed up on the walls for a couple of weeks. Good thing we don't have friends with kids come over. But, I don't think Teddy minded, do you?

From there, most lifestyle bloggers tell their readers to start installing the nails for their real frames, right through their mock frames. I didn't want to use nails though, because I am too indecisive to have a bunch of nail holes littered across our wall. (and, Chris would probably kill me if I put a bunch of holes in the wall and then wanted to change it all six months later!)  So, instead I decided to use the trusty Command Picturing Hanging strips. Because I wanted to use those strips, I decided to use trusty painter's tape to outline the frames so I would know exactly where to hang each frame.


Now, I decided to go a little corny in my gallery wall (and give you all a lesson on DC). See, the center map on my wall is of Washington, DC and anyone who knows DC's street-scape should know that DC is divided into quadrants with the center being the Capitol building.  From the Capitol building as the center, streets, and the National Mall, go out directly east, west, north, and south and divide the city into its infamous quadrants (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest). Check out the satellite view of DC below because my explanation probably doesn't make any sense ; )

(Wiki Commons)

So, I followed the east/west and north/south lines of my antique map of DC and decided to hang my frames on the same grid. Cheesy, I know, but I love it! And, I love my finished look!

sorry for the awful glare . . .


The wall includes antique maps from all of our favorite places - DC, St. Louis, Kansas City, Munich, North America, Boone County MO (Columbia), Germany, Athens, Mexico, Greece, Adair County MO (Kirksville), Italy, and Gasconade County MO (Hermann). Some of them I bought online, but I also downloaded a bunch for free and just printed them off. So since almost half of them were free, I suspect that I'll change some over time to reflect new favorite places, but for now, it's perfect!  Also, I'm still toying with the idea of painting a couple of frames different colors since so many of them are black, maybe add some silver or white/cream - what do you think?

So, where are your favorite places? And, more importantly, does your home have a theme?


  1. It looks so awesome! And I laughed so hard when I saw the VS catalogs plastered on the walls.

  2. We're classy people, what can I say?!

  3. My husband would probably love to have a map wall. He's a history nerd, too. :) Maybe in our "some day" house.

  4. Oh wow. I have nearly died of jealousy! I have a map fetish as well!! We also love travelling and I love the idea of collecting maps from where we have been. This looks great well done xox

  5. I just love it! I too have a map fetish and just love the map grid used to hang your maps! AMAZING!! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my map project too.


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