A Love Affair with Moroccan Decor
In late 2016, I went to Marrakech, Morocco for work—the UN Climate Conference, also known as COP22. I was having a wonderful trip, and hoped that before flying home on the last day I’d have a chance to shop in the Medina for some of the beautiful textiles and other decor I’d been ogling.
Unfortunately, after a fall on a staircase and a late-night ambulance trip to an international emergency clinic revealed that I had re-broken a bone in my foot, I ended up having to return early to the States. It was professionally and personally disappointing, and a thoroughly uncomfortable set of flights.
Before I’d gone to Morocco, I had been following the blog of American ex-pat Amanda, a.k.a. MarocMama, who runs a tourism business showcasing local cuisine and goods. A while after I returned—still wishing I’d been able to buy some Moroccan decor—I got in touch to see if she could help source and ship some of the housewares I craved, and she kindly agreed.
I’d read about handiras—Moroccan wedding blankets—and loved their patterns and textures. While I’m not usually into sparkles, the combination of the shaggy fringe and sequins seems magical. I was also interested in some handira-style pillow covers for the sofa or bedroom. The pom-pom blankets had looked like a lot of fun as well. I had also admired Moroccan pierced metal pendants that cast beautiful, intricate shadows on the walls of restaurants, homes, and hotels of Marrakech.
Amanda found wonderful options, and I’ve been thrilled with my Moroccan decor. It reminds me of the friendly people I met in Marrakech.
Since then, I’ve continued to admire Moroccan housewares from afar, and have been particularly interested in getting a Beni Ourain rug and some colorful Berber bread baskets. This time, on Etsy, I found Hicham of VintageLifestyleArt, who kindly shared many photos of rugs and baskets—when the ones I’d chosen arrived, I was thrilled with the workmanship. The rug is soft and thick, and I love the patterns and colors of the baskets.
I’m so impressed with the artists who can make these pieces, and was glad to be able to buy directly from Morocco.
If you go this route when looking for Moroccan or other international decor, be prepared for high shipping costs, sometimes close to the value of the object you’re buying. I didn’t run into any trouble with items getting held in customs, which was great. I would have been much better off purchasing these items on my trip if I could have. Hopefully a return trip will be possible someday; I'd love to explore more of Marrakech and beyond, including the Atlas Mountains.
There are plenty of other options for Moroccan-inspired decor stateside, too. For rugs and other housewares, I recommend aiming for fair trade-certified goods whenever possible.
What are some of your favorite finds from travels near and far? And let me know if you have a favorite Moroccan housewares site I should check out!