How To Choose A Globe

Globes are traditional pieces that many of us associate with studies and libraries. But thanks to GPS apps, they're effectively obsolete. Adding a globe to a space can bring in a classic look, especially to a home office, library or study. The exception is adding a globe to a child's room, as these can add color to the space and help with homework. 

However, globes are another item that comes in a surprising amount of styles. When most of us picture a globe, we see the bright and colorful one that sat in many grade school classrooms. But accent globes meant for the home come in a wide range of styles, features and colors, which we'll explore below.

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How to Choose the Right Globe Color Scheme?

You have many different choices in globe colors, all of which work in very specific room styles. Read on to learn which globe fits in which environment.

Conventionally colorful

These are globes that helped many of us learn geography growing up. The countries are in bold colors so it's easy to designate between them. The water is a deep azure. These work best in children's study areas, bedrooms or playrooms, as they give a colorful and fun design.

Colorful Traditional Wood Metal Globe
Colorful Modern Metal Globe
Colorful Plastic Iluminated Tabletop Globe
Colorful Wood Metal Marble Globe
Colorful Wooden Decorative Globe
Brown Elegant Wooden Trolley Globe

Muted colors

You can find the same concept as above in a more grown-up style. The ocean is usually a muted color, like a bone white. The countries themselves are different colors, but they're more muted shades like pastel green and dark gold. Muted designs have a classic look and would go great in adult studies, libraries or home offices.

Metallic styles

Another option is any style that opts for a metallic look. Examples include a modern conceptual piece that shows golden continents over a round metal frame or a design that places gold continents over white oceans. Versatile pieces, metallic styles fit well in classic styles, sleek modern styles or industrial styles where metallic textures dominate.  

Golden Classic Plastic Metal Globe
Silver Industrial Cardboard Moon Globe
Golden Modern Metal Rotating Globe
Golden Modern Wooden Base Globe
Golden Traditional Steel Tabletop Globe

Physical coloring

It's also common to find a globe with painted shades that show the topography of the world. Desserts are in yellow and forest areas are in green, while the oceans are a bright blue. Physical coloring is another design that works great in educational children's spaces.

Classic Plastic Cable Free Globe
Traditional Illuminated Floor Globe
Classic Plastic Mini Physical Globe
Modern Topographical Tabletop Globe
Plastic Traditional Illuminated World Floor Globe
Green Modern Plastic Kids Physical Globe

Black and White

Some designs even paint conceptual outlines of continents in black over a white sphere. Black and white styles are great for modern spaces.

Black Modern Aluminum Tabletop Globe
Black Modern Plastic Airplane Globe
Black White Modern Marble Resin Globe
Black Modern Plastic Metal Globe
Black White Stylish Metal Tripod Globe
Black Modern Aluminum Base Globe


Perhaps the most creative of the bunch, you can also find clear glass globes.  These are usually textured to show the continents. Clear styles work great as more conceptual designs in sleek, modern spaces.

What Size of Globe Should I Choose?

Another important consideration is the size. Where you plan to place your globe will inform what size you get.

  • Smaller tabletop design: A small accent piece tends to be around 11 inches high with a 6-inch globe diameter. These work great as accents on shelves or smaller pieces for desk corners. 
  • Larger tabletop design: A more common size for globes is around 15 inches high by 11 inches wide by 11 inches deep. These sit well on larger desk spaces. They make a good focal point on a desk or work as an educational reference point. 
  • Floor model: You can also find a wide variety of styles in stands that can sit on the floor and act as an accent or a focal point, depending on the placement in the space. Place a large globe off to the side for a more accented look, or have it surrounded by furniture to create a focal point. Dimensions might be around 39 inches high by 24 inches wide by 24 inches deep.

What are Some Additional Features to Look For in Globes?

Some globes also come with added features that add to their style or make studying them easier. Some examples include:

  • Light up globes: Some globes light up from within. These can double well as educational materials at night or even act as accent lights.
  • Meridian bars: This is a bar that might encircle the globe or cover only half. It's often attached by the north and south poles, and you can swing the globe in relation to it to measure positions by degrees. Meridians add a very classic look to the globe.
  • Star charts: Some globes have a daytime and nighttime feature. The daytime feature shows the continents like a normal globe. Then the night feature shows the positions of the constellations right on the globe itself. These are wonderful for educational purposes, though could also work in a celestial-themed bedroom.  
  • Rotation type: This is an important feature to consider if you plan to reference the globe for educational purposes. Check if you can rotate the globe from left to right.  Some models allow you to rotate the globe from left to right, and up and down. If you're going for more decorative purposes, a globe that does not rotate can work.
  • Armillary Globe: This old-world style globe has rings to track stars. Many of these designs are now more conceptual than functional and make great pieces in classic home designs.

Quick Tips

Globes have so many creative styles and features that it can feel overwhelming. Below are some key takeaways to help you choose a globe for your home.

  • Start by assessing whether the globe is for educational purposes or just decorative
  • If it's educational, choose a style that's clearly marked and colorful to be able to make out the countries and landmarks.
  • Decorative purposes can get more conceptual and focused on color alone.
  • The main sizes that are most common are smaller accent pieces, larger tabletop globes and floor models. Which you choose will depend largely on how much space you have to spare and whether you want a smaller accent piece or a larger focal piece
  • Globes come with so many different types of features, it can be hard to choose. If you think a globe's design is neat and fits in with your overall room style, that may be reason enough to buy it. Go with your gut on this one.