After spending two weeks in Cuba earlier this year (see image of Trinidad, Cuba) and plans to travel to Greece and Italy this fall, I have been thinking a lot about the architecture I have witnessed through my travels AND of course what awaits. Although I have an artist’s eye, I’m certainly not an expert in the realm of architecture. I asked for help from a peer writer, Cheryl Staunton from the UK to showcase a piece, “Exploring world-famous buildings that have inspired interior and exterior décor.” Enjoy!


The world is at our fingertips these days; with destinations that were once only vaguely known now becoming accessible to all, and you can discover breath-taking history and heritage just by planning a holiday with a difference.

Maybe you are drawn to the Far East, with its exotic landscapes and spirituality. Many temples await, as well as exciting arrays of colors, wildlife and countryside. If classical design is more to your taste, you may prefer traveling around Europe to see first-hand the many palaces and mansions built for royalty and nobility. Their opulence cries out for our attention and helps us to dream of a lifestyle where we may choose cake instead of bread.

For the adventurous among us, there are the far-flung mountainous lands of South America and Asia, where we find proof that functionality can coexist with spiritual inspiration, often in precarious locations.

Some of the most famous buildings in the world have impacted on architectural styles right round the globe. Let’s start with the classical beauty and symmetry of Catherine Palace outside St. Petersburg in Russia, and Gresham Palace in Budapest, Hungary, both of which display opulence, grandeur and quality. With these in mind, we can make bolder choices about how to incorporate grander interiors and facades in buildings elsewhere.

Peaceful, inspiring buildings are to be found in many spiritually renowned destinations, such as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan, the Lotus Temple in Delhi, India, or Mont Saint-Michel on the northwestern coast of France.

With a more modern, unusual agenda in mind, eye-catching buildings such as the Cubic houses in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, display angular designs with unusual shapes that remain very functional.

Sometimes a whole country may influence our choices in decoration and colors, rather than just individual buildings. The Greeks have been inspiring us for thousands of years with their graceful columns and grand scale. There is also a lovely simplicity to Greek building, such as on the island of Paros, where whitewashed stone houses and window shutters are set into a simple farming landscape full of natural shapes and colors.

A slightly different influence is to be seen in America’s southern states, which have perfected the art of big wooden shutters that make an architectural statement, while also being exceptionally functional in regulating light, wind, and protecting against mosquitos. Similarly, France is well known for wooden louvered shutters, with adjustable horizontal slats that protect against wind but allow light to penetrate.

Many ideas can be transferred relatively easily to your own setting, with minor adaptations in scale or decoration. It’s a great way to update your home to make it more comfortable, striking and functional, and to keep the memories of your travels alive.

There are a wealth of travel opportunities and inspiring designs just waiting to be discovered. Start planning now for how you can visit some of these amazing places. Who knows how many features will find their way back home?

** Post written by Cheryl Staunton who is a freelance writer currently based in the UK, and specialising in writing for the web. Her primary interests are architecture, interior design, and travel.