How to Get a Handcrafted Home Decor Look on a Budget

Learn the tricks to finding chic and affordable home decor items that look artisanal, but aren’t.

Dave and Jenny Marrs Indoor Collection dinnerware tabletop
Photo: Courtesy of Walmart

In our slick insta-everything, fully-automated, high-tech world, perhaps it’s no surprise that a design trend has emerged that moves determinedly in the opposite direction. Handcrafted style honors the humanity of home decorating items crafted by hand, with an appreciation for materials, workmanship, and traditional techniques. Creating high-quality artisanal elements requires skill and time, and this generally (and rightly) translates into high prices. But while one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces might be out of reach for modest decorating budgets, it’s still possible to achieve a more affordable version of the look, if you know what to look for.

Hallmarks of Handcraft

With this style, understand that it’s all about imperfection. Be prepared to embrace the irregular — the handcrafted world is not polished or matchy-matchy. Dye lots may differ and colors or patterns might not quite align, even among like items in a set. And that is perfectly OK, in fact it is to be desired, to help foster that feeling of uniqueness.

Materials That Matter

Wood, stone, metal, leather, clay, glass and other authentic materials that yield and transform through the work of human hands are at the heart of handcrafted style. Essential textiles are designed in natural fibers like cotton, linen, and wool and decorative accessories are woven from renewable resources like wicker, willow, sea grass and palm.

Palette, Pattern, and Patina

Color is given a considered approach. Pass on the primaries and brights and seek out quiet tones inspired by nature and the earth. Dyes may be derived from plants or other natural means (or simply look like they are), and saturated or with a gently washed out effect. Some handcrafted patterns are created with age-old methods like ikat, block printing and marbleizing, while modern patterns with a hand-designed look might include uneven striping or checks and plaids that aren’t symmetrical. The attention of a craftsperson results in rich finishes—woods are oiled or rough-hewn, paint is rubbed, metals are burnished or hammered—and the human touch might be directly evidenced by inconsistencies like bubbles in blown glass or fingerprints in pottery.

Three Ways to Make It Your Own

We’ve focused on three signature areas of handcraft here, and found a selection of easy and affordable alternatives at Walmart.

Dave and Jenny Marrs Collection at Walmart white ceramic dishes in kitchen environment

Artful Ceramics

Potters practice a true handcraft of throwing clay on a wheel; without their hands, the clay would not take shape. The resulting ceramics can be left in their natural state, with colors like stone, mud or terracotta based on the composition of the original clay, hand-painted in the artisan’s style or partially or fully glazed and fired. Different glazing techniques produce a range of variations: dipped, dripped, speckled, mottled, splattered, pebbled or simply matte.

Dinnerware: Table ceramics offer a lot of choice in their glazing styles, and there are many methods for a handcrafted effect. When a reactive glaze is applied, no two pieces are exactly alike. This warm-toned interpretation from Better Homes & Gardens ($50, Walmart) also has a stylish speckle—and with 16 pieces for just under $50, it’s a steal.

Planters: Outdoors, ceramic planters bring the handcrafted aesthetic to your garden, porch or patio. Look for natural elements like terracotta, stone, and ceramic glazes.

Candles: Candles are always a quick, easy and fragrant way to introduce a trend anywhere in your home. Opt for ceramic containers with artistic glaze treatments, like dipping and subtle colors, for the most contemporary take. Add a ceramic Better Homes & Gardens candle ($20, Walmart) to your space to achieve the look.

Tactile Textiles

Nubby, slubby, knotted, tasseled, fringed and made to be touched. Handcrafted textiles put texture and technique on display—think flat or coarse loom weaves, tufted or looped constructions, and chunky knits. Needlework like quilting or kantha-style stitching add visual and textural interest, along with more intricate applications like embroidery or crochet.

Decorative Pillows: Possibilities truly are endless when it comes to pillows with a handcrafted look. Knits lend softness, while other textures might be subtly executed in a monochromatic weave. For real statement-making impact, select designs that feature an amorphous mix—maybe an asymmetrical patchwork of flat and tufted weaves, a geometric hi-lo pattern, or tassel trimming like these Better Homes & Gardens looped pillows ($25, Walmart).

Table Linens: How to complement dinnerware with a handcrafted style? Linens like runners, napkins and place mats with a handwoven look, of course. Slubby textures and fringe trim are a soft contrast against wood tables and metal cutlery, and bring laid-back luxuriousness to the dining experience.

BHG Dave and Jenny Marrs Indoor Walmart Collection baskets
Courtesy of Walmart

Natural Weaves

From branches to bamboo and reeds to grasses, the weaving of natural materials into items for domestic use has been in practice for centuries, and maybe even millennia. And while you can spend a lot of money on intricate or historical examples, a wide range of inexpensive options are plentiful. You can find small decorative objects with handcrafted styling and even larger furniture with caning or roping.

Baskets: The handcrafted hero of organization, woven baskets can be structured (think wicker or willow) or collapsible (think sisal or cotton roping). Weaves might be tighter or more permeable depending on the style of the weaver and the type of material—don’t forget to consider the future contents when making your selection. Try using a pair of chunky Better Homes & Gardens baskets ($55, Walmart) to gather throw blankets and pillows.

Occasional furniture: Less expensive and easier to move around than, say, a wicker sofa or a teak table, occasional furniture items like end tables, ottomans and benches with a handcrafted touch are an attractive solution.

Rugs: Here’s a hard-to-tell-its-not-handcrafted secret: Some tonal synthetic fiber rugs look just like handwoven natural jute (like this Better Homes & Gardens outdoor rug, $78, Walmart), but they’re actually longer-wearing, water resistant and a fraction of the cost. You’re welcome.

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