I think it is safe to say that at this time of the year, when consumerism is at its peak, most of us get carried away by the act of buying. Marketers have done an amazing job at making us feel as though we need more stuff, need to have the latest gadgets and gizmos and that we have to spend more on decorating and remodeling our homes for the holidays. If we take a deep breath and a step back from all the marketing hype, maybe we can reassess whether or not we really do need all of that. When it comes to home improvements, perhaps the best improvements are the ones that are right at our fingertips; or made by our own hands.
In this global economy, there is a lot of talk about buying local: going to craft sales, shopping at small local businesses, and supporting the local economy. Have you ever stopped to think that buying locally might help a neighbor buy groceries, put gas in their car to get to a medical appointment or buy shoes for their child. It really is that straightforward.
Here are some examples of ways to use local, handmade items in your home:
- the added texture from hand sewn draperies can add a sense of luxury or whimsy to any room.
- looking for a unique item for your bathroom? You could talk to the sewer who made the curtains about using a water resistant fabric and have a custom-made shower curtain made for your newly refinished tub. (Now, I know a tub isn’t a piece of art, but while we’re on the topic of consumerism, why not look into bathtub refinishing by a local contractor instead of buying a new tub at a big box store if your current tub needs a facelift?)
- there is nothing like the feel and look of real pottery. A few pottery or ceramic vases lined up along a windowsill or on a shelf can add an incredibly earthy quality to your decor.
- refinished or repurposed furniture from a local furniture refinisher, when used in the right setting, can become a beautiful conversation piece.
- if you need a new bathroom vanity, you can have one custom built to your exact specifications by a local woodworker.
- adding a stained glass window in your foyer, living room or bedroom is an excellent way to add color and interest to the space.
- your own handmade craft projects or works of art can be used around the home for decorative or practical purposes. For example, we have a gallery wall where we display our son’s finger painting masterpieces and rotate them out every once in a while. He gets a kick out of it, and it adds color and quirkiness to the room.
Before you run out and spend a bunch of money on stuff, stop and think about whether or not you really need it. If the answer is yes, then try to find local sources for the products that you need and support a local artisan, crafts-person or trades-person and the local economy.