I won’t claim to know much about feng shui, but I do know that environment matters—to our overall wellbeing, our creativity, our relationships, and our work ethic. Our homes are perhaps the most important spaces for our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It’s where we can relax our minds, restore our bodies, and heal whatever obstacles life has thrown at us. In short: the objects we choose to have in our home matter.
So when you shop for home decor, you want to look for items that will truly add value to your space—aesthetically and functionally, yes, but also that have good energy due to the way they were sourced and made. Before we give you some really great brands to check out, here’s a summary of what to look for when shopping for home decor:
Natural Materials: Look for wood, plant material, glass, leather, stones, wool, etc.—there are so many plastic-free options available when it comes to decor!
And/or Recycled or Reclaimed Materials: Recycled material in clothing can cause potential problems, with tons of microfibers breaking off in the washing machine, making their way into our oceans, wreaking havoc on ecosystems, and even ending up in our own stomachs. Decor and home goods, however, are a less destructive place to put recycled material since you’re probably not going to be putting them in the washing machine!
Transparent and Ethical Supply Chains: As with everything you buy, your decor was made by someone. Is that someone being paid fairly for their work? Are they given benefits like healthcare and family leave? Do they have safe working conditions?
Low Toxicity: Plastic and synthetic products, especially new ones, often come filled with chemicals, which cause off-gassing. This is where the chemicals slowly leach from the products and into the air… the air in your home that you’re breathing every day. You might be disgusted to know that indoor air quality can actually be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. So look for products that are made and processed without a bunch of chemicals.
Aesthetics and Timelessness: Choose items that you truly love (think Marie Kondo). Buy goods you can really see yourself enjoying for a long while, and that will still have a resell value once you’re ready to redecorate.
Functionality and Durability: It’s great when decor can not only look beautiful, but also serve a function—like storage, or to give you the time whenever you’re taking a break from your phone! And if you have kids or move a lot, make sure you prioritize durability so you don’t end up wasting precious earthly and monetary resources.
Here’s our roundup of the best brands to shop for the most beautiful, ethically made, and eco-friendly home decor:
Accompany curates unique, handmade and artisanal goods from around the globe. Every brand sold by Accompany uses fair trade practices and has philanthropic practices woven into the brand. You can find out more about the origin of each product on its product page.
Terrain’s curated offerings blend products from around the world with locally-sourced plants and artisan merchandise. With a full nursery of garden and indoor plants, eco-friendly growing supplies, home and garden décor, furniture, containers, gifts, personal care items, locally sourced and prepared artisan foods, in addition to found objects and antiques from around the world, terrain merges global and local into a celebration of heritage, community and design. If you’re in CA, MD, PA, or CT, check out one of their physical locations.
A certified B Corp, Uncommon Goods has a really fun curation of unique pieces, many of which are handmade and only available in limited quantities. Most of the products are made by hand out of natural and low impact materials, and their employees are paid fairly. Plus, they give back to a non-profit partner with each purchase. Note that not everything on the site is sustainable, so be sure to check out the product details before purchasing.
VivaTerra, which means “living earth,” is a retailer with a vision for both globally-inspired modern design and goods created with sustainability and integrity in mind. They now source from and support artisan communities in more than 20 countries across the globe, as well as seek out fair-trade partners and sustainable methods of production. You can shop by values like recycled, handmade, made in the USA, all-natural, and responsible wood.
A pioneer in fair trade commerce, Ten Thousand Villages is a global maker‑to‑market movement that is working to break the cycle of generational poverty and ignite social change. Every product is handmade by someone who was paid a fair wage and safe working conditions, and they focus on using locally sourced, recycled, and renewable materials in their products. Plus, they work mostly with women, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and others who are often excluded from the global economy.
KAZI at Made Trade
KAZI was founded to create beautiful products that alleviate poverty across rural Africa. Their products are all made from all natural fibers of sisal and sweet grass with natural dyes that are food safe. KAZI sources local materials native to Africa that are readily available to their artisans. They reinvest their profits to further expand artisan development through training initiatives, training rural farmers to become artisans and teaching existing craftspeople new techniques and processes to continue to build upon their existing skill sets. KAZI is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and implements fair trade practices across their organization. KAZI is available on Made Trade, and you can read more about why we love it here!
MINNA at Made Trade
Working collaboratively, MINNA creates multipurpose products; their patterns, colors, and textures are meant to be mixed, matched, and layered for today’s modern home. All of MINNA’s products are sourced from natural and sustainable materials. The cotton and wool used in their products are colored with natural dyes or toxin-free synthetic dyes, and each handmade piece is the result of a careful production process. Employing a cottage industry approach, MINNA partners with master weavers and artisan collectives in Mexico, Guatemala, and Uruguay, which helps ensure craft preservation and job creation. The artisans MINNA partners with set their own wages and MINNA is committed to following fair trade practices in all aspects of their business.
Housework is a retail project founded on the idea of a holistic household—a living space in which all aspects of all objects are given careful consideration, from how and by whom they were made to their functionality and end of life. They pay close attention to material detail when it comes to sourcing their home goods, from the non-toxic natural glazes on ceramics to the natural and petrochemical-free finishes on the wood (which means no polyurethane, plastics, or petroleum products anywhere). It’s not just about material purity and production ethics, though. Functionality and aesthetics are equally as important in the curation process, proving you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.
Based in Brooklyn, LEIF is a lifestyle shop full of beautiful things for everyday living. They have a wide selection of home goods, decorations, office accessories, artwork, and more—all made from natural materials. With a focus on unique goods that you won’t find elsewhere, some of LEIF’s collection is made right in NYC, while other items are sourced from artisans all over the globe. Use the code ECOCULT10 for 10% off your order.
Zeal Living has searched Africa to find beautiful products made by groups of artisans, and then pays those artisans their own-set rate for their products. They only work with groups who embody the principles laid out by the Fair Trade Federation (whether or not the group has actually gone through the costly and time-consuming formal certification process). The artisans use locally available, sustainable, and recycled materials in production whenever possible.
The team at Minzuu believes the quintessential beauty of a culture embeds in its handicrafts, and the wisdom contained in centuries-old techniques is worth celebrating. Working directly with artisan cooperatives around the world, they ensure heritage craft practices continue in a responsible way, benefiting both the people and nature. Their artisan partners use locally-sourced and eco-friendly materials, including salvaged textiles, organic cotton, repurposed metal, certified wood harvested under sustainable forest management, and vegetable/toxin-free dyes. Plus, 10% of their profits go back into the development of new products for their current artisan partners, and another 10% goes to the exploration and establishment of new collaborations.
As member of WTFO, Yabal is a Fair Trade organization that supports indigenous women’s weaving cooperatives in Guatemala, providing them with the opportunity to sell their hand-woven products through local and international markets. Most of the material used is either locally sourced, natural, and/or recycled. They also give back by providing educational scholarships to the artisans’ children, along with other support like micro-loans and food security programs.
All of the brands carefully curated in Buho’s shop are ethically sourced, environmentally conscious, fair trade, handmade, and/or curated vintage. They use carbon neutral and compostable packaging, and have a take back program too.
If you’re looking for art for your walls, ArtLifting is a great place to get it. Everything for sale on the site is art done by artists living with homelessness or disabilities.
ABC Carpet & Home seeks to spark change through commerce. Sourcing goods that are created with sustainability and fair labor standards in mind, they’ve created and nurtured a marketplace built on craftsmanship, quality, and integrity (and are one of the few marketplaces to be able to do so successfully). They also have a sister non-profit organization, the ABC Home & Planet Foundation, which partners with various charities around the world to make a positive impact.
Of course, shopping used, thrifted, or secondhand is the most sustainable option out there! AptDeco is one of the most popular sites for used home goods, which also happens to be committed to sustainability. You can shop from brands like Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and more. Of course, you could always check Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List, or use an app like Bunz to buy decor that’s more local to you!
Etsy is a great place to look for creative, unique home decor as well. Of course, not everything on Etsy is ethical or sustainable, but there are also a ton of talented makers using natural and eco-conscious materials, so it’s a great way to support small makers while getting your hands on some truly unique pieces for your home.