• Comfort Smithson

4 Awesome Things You Can Learn About Handmade Home Decor.

Have you ever had that moment when you were at your local craft market and suddenly this unusual, beautiful item catches your eye? You think to yourself, “Wow, that’s lovely”. You then move in to touch it and quickly spark off a conversation with the owner of the stall.

At that moment, you start to look at the item in a different way. You start to think, “Oh, this would be perfect in this spot at home”. Or, “I think this would make a perfect gift for so and so”.

What you are experiencing is what I like to call, the handmade connection. It’s that instant imprint that handmade art, crafts and products make on us. As crazy as it sounds, it really is true.

Take a moment right now to think about that one handmade piece of decor that you have in your home. Think back to the time when you first got it. Whether it was a gift or even if you bought it. Doesn’t it bring some particular feelings?

In this article, I’d like to dig a little deeper into how best to use handmade items as decorative pieces in your home. Whether you already have them or are just planning to incorporate them.

In short, you’ll get to know:

  • What is considered or qualifies to be handmade decor?

  • Why you should consider adding handmade decor to your home?

  • The important details to be aware of as you purchase handmade decor.

  • How to incorporate handmade decor in your home?

This is going to be quite a detailed article so I would recommend grabbing a cuppa before getting started. You’re about to get some of the best information on all this ethical handmade home decor.

Yes, I may be slightly biased but...I promise that after you finish reading you'll understand what I mean.

What qualifies to be handmade decor?

To answer this question, I thought it would be more fitting to use the definition from the biggest handmade online marketplace, Etsy. In their Blogpost “Defining Handmade on Esty”, it states “the term ‘handmade’ can additionally be interpreted as ‘hand-assembled’ or ‘hand-altered.'” Put that into the context of this article and I would say there isn’t much more to add.

Why should you consider adding handmade decor to your home?

To begin with, In an excerpt from this Good Trade article, “There is nothing that makes a house feel more like a home than filling it with the people we love and the simple things that tell a story of thoughtful craftsmanship.”

There are certainly so many reasons why you should add handmade decor to your home. However, this section in itself could be a complete article. So I will stick to the three core reasons:

  1. They are original and unique. This simply means that it is not mass-produced by machines. Each item is individually made by hand and by real people. You can be sure that each item is made with love because the makers are passionate about their craft.

  2. Appreciating skill and supporting local artisans “Every person is gifted with a certain skill so it is important for us to encourage and appreciate the skills of people who are around us. Each country or region has its own unique way of creating art, depending on that culture, beliefs and the materials available. Skills and craftsmanship are not just making a simple product, it is about creating a story behind every item made.”, ZocoHome couldn’t have stated it any better.

The impact you make by purchasing the simplest handmade item goes far beyond what you can imagine. It is a domino effect on its own. You are supporting a makers dream, their family and if we are to think even bigger, the local economy.

3. It is environmentally friendly and sustainable Lastly, if the two reasons above don't do it for you, then consider the environmental impact. Lately, the topic of climate change and sustainability are just about everywhere. It’s no big secret or something we can avoid anymore. The impact is real and we are certainly feeling it today. Handmade items are right up there when it comes to being sustainable. How? Well… barely any machinery is used which means less chemical and toxic waste.

Identifying the handmade decor items.

Now that we have established the “what” and “why” handmade decor we can now start to get into the “how” with handmade decor.

The first thing to do is identify or prequalify which items you should have in your home. To be able to do that you should look out for:

  • The type of materials used to make the item. Ideally, they should be made using natural materials like wood, stone, natural fabrics, grass, or even glass. These are non-toxic and therefore much safer to have.

  • Second, to the point above, handmade pieces could also be made using recycled, reclaimed and repurposed materials.

  • The conditions under which they were made. They should be ethically made under fair and transparent trade conditions. This means no exploitation of the makers.

How to incorporate handmade decor in your home.

Now that you have that special item in your possession, let's find the perfect place for it in your home. I truly believe that the things you cherish, collect and enjoy owning deserve to be displayed in a beautiful setting.

More often than not, when you see the piece at the stall or shop, you buy it already visualising where it can be in the home. So, depending on the size, shape and colour of the item, that gut instinct you had will help you apply any of the interior design concepts you already naturally know. From creating small arrangements of objects or furniture (i.e Vignettes) to creating focal points and so on.

So the one thing I want to add and emphasise is to have fun. Handmade decor pieces are generally made to be durable and timeless. Very rarely are they tied to any trends, so it will not go out of style or fade. The proof is in the skill and the craftsmanship used. Some if not most, have been passed down through generations. Don't be afraid to be bold and experimental with them.

The most important thing to remember each step of the way is that the goal should always be to create a home that reflects you, one that tells your story. And the secret to achieving that is in creating the right feeling in the space. At the end of the day, you want to have a beautiful, comfortable and functional home.

And Finally…

Buying handmade decor pieces is a significant decision.

Whether you're redecorating your entire house or just want to add a little more personality, it's critical that you make intentional selections to incorporate things that value skills, culture, and the environment as a whole.

Now that you have a little more insight into Handmade decor for your home, I hope you can use this to transform your home and any home in the future. You will even be able to refresh your home using what you already have when you feel the need to have a little makeover. The difference is, you will now be creating the home you love, supporting local artisans and businesses and most importantly do encouraging environmental sustainability.

IMPORTANT: This article was written with a specific focus on the amazing initiative by the UK Ethical Fairtrade association (BAFTS) who have chosen to dedicate this month February, to celebrating all things ethically Handmade. A very special thank you to Natasha von Memerty from Karakorum Artisan crafts for being such an amazing support to artisans from across the world with a great variety of items that I highly recommend to consider for your home.