For a lot of people, finding gifts for the holidays that are unique and special is a big priority. But discovering those at big-box stores? You can pretty much forget it. No — if you want to find something that will truly wow, your best bet is to shop small. And you don’t actually have to scour your town or go to an entirely new city to do so. Because there are plenty (countless, in fact) small, online shops to support this season, especially when it comes to the home decor space.
There’s a place and time for department stores and high-street shops, but when it comes to going above and beyond for the holidays, it’s time to check out some smaller, more under-the-radar options. And don’t worry — TZR has tons of favorites to share. From cottagecore-inspired curations to artisan-created collections, we’ve rounded up a few of the best spots on the web for all your decor shopping needs this season.
Whether you’re looking for handmade goods, stunning textiles, or unexpected pieces of art, these shops have it all — and then some. And the best part? You’re putting your money toward a small business, which will no doubt help the people behind it get through the stressful holiday season. Start shopping them now, ahead.
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Started by Tanya Willock and Temidra Willock-Morsch, Hidden Gem is a home and gift store with a physical location in the village of Southampton. The small shop, which maintains a presence online as well, features products made by local artisans as well as creators around the world. It’s colorful, fun, and unique, and true to its name, really is full of hidden gems.
The Six Bells
Cottagecore fans, this one’s for you. The Six Bells calls itself a country store of homewares, and it definitely will transport you to the countryside with its charming, rustic finds. While it has a physical location in Brooklyn, you can also shop a curation of textiles, ceramics, decor, and more online — which is good, because it’s hard to resist its beautifully curated collection.
You’re not the only one who’s been inspired to start something new after a trip to Italy. The same thing happened to sisters Sophie and Kiki Weill, who decided to start the tableware brand Piano Piano after taking a life-changing cooking class in the country. The name, which means living slowly in Italian, highlights the company’s mission to remind others to slow down and be present — and you’ll certainly be convinced when using the beautiful hand-crafted pieces.
Intiearth was founded by Jenni Li, who was raised in the US after being born in Peru. According to the brand’s site, Li took trips back to her native country with her children, where she would often visit local markets to see artisans she loved. From this, she was inspired to share Peru’s cultural heritage and textile techniques with the world; thus, Intiearth was born. Now, it sells handcrafted products made through artisan partnerships and fair trade workshops, while also endeavoring to tell the story of the people behind them.
Portmanteau Home’s collection of homewares and art will draw you in, but the story behind its inception will keep you there. On its site, founder Sunny Hong explains that she wanted to help create homes where mixed-race individuals like her children would see themselves represented. So, she decided to create Portmanteau Home, which features home goods made from authentic textiles from around the world. “Just like how Portmanteau is a whole new word that is created from combining the sounds and meanings of two words, Portmanteau Home hopes to show how two cultures coming together can create something new and beautiful,” reads the site.
Haptic Lab is a small design studio founded by Brooklyn architect Emily Fischer. Fischer started making quilted maps when her mother was diagnosed with glaucoma, which the brand says “were meant to be wayfinding tools for the visually impaired.” That has since led to custom handmade objects and spaces, which focus on the sensory experience of touch. Not sure what that means? Take a browse through its site, and you’ll see — from quilted laptop cases to the aforementioned quilt maps, you can easily imagine how each object serves as a “tool for sensation.”
The ARK Elements
According to Kate Holt, founder of The ARK Elements, this brand “was borne of a love for gatherings, founded in honor of time spent with my family and friends.” Through the shop, she’s created a place where customers can find “elements that transform a home into your personal refuge.” Thus, it’s full of dreamy objects made by artists from around the world, including vases, dinnerware, holiday decor, and much more. You may come to gift shop, but trust us — you’ll end up using it to decorate your own home, too.
Namu Home Goods
Namu Home Goods founder Diana Ryu actually worked as an editor and writer for more than a decade. But at the end of 2020, her experience from the prior year and the challenges it presented brought a new idea to mind. “During my year of re-engineering, when everything around me felt off-kilter, I began to imagine myself as a tree — strong and alive — weathering the bitter winter, knowing the warmth of spring was just around the corner,” she wrote on her site. Out of that, Namu Home Goods (Namu is Korean for “tree”) came to life, which spotlights the beauty of wood through a curation of heritage woodwork.