When I was at college, I frequently stayed with friends whose house was easier to get to by water than by land. The directions were basically to go upriver and take a left at Tippity Wichity Island. I love navigational charts and topographical maps, and in fact, had an office wallpapered with nav charts when I worked for an environmental organization. The southern bay was on one wall and the northern bay was on the other. If you had to check something, it generally involved someone standing on a desk.
Maps have always been a classical decorating element, and I frequently see them at auctions, antique shows and ephemera sales, sometimes for very little money. If you can find one that resonates with you for a particular reason, you should snap it up. I tend to look for maps of places where I’ve lived, including London and the south coast of Wales.
I was reading the blog, Elements of Style, and came across the most amazing use of a map, or actually, a nautical chart.It looks like the home-owner had tiles made of the chart of the North Shore of Long Island and Shelter Island. Again, a map which resonates with me, as I spent time in Orient Point one summer. The detail in this map is amazing, and I can only imagine the technical skill it took to make sure all of the tiles were perfect and the map was seamless in its content.