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Does Cultural Appropriation Include How You Decorate A Home


Cultural appropriation, the adoption or borrowing of elements from another culture, has been a topic of intense debate in recent years. The concept primarily focuses on the use of cultural elements in fashion, music, and art. However, one question that often arises is whether cultural appropriation also extends to how individuals choose to decorate their homes.

Understanding Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation refers to the adoption, borrowing, or imitation of elements from a culture that is not one’s own, typically by members of a dominant culture. It often involves taking significant aspects of a marginalized culture without understanding or respecting its historical, social, or cultural context.

Decorating a Home and Cultural Appropriation

When it comes to home decor, the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation can be blurry. While it is generally acceptable and even encouraged to appreciate and incorporate elements from different cultures, problems arise when these elements are taken out of context or used in a disrespectful manner.

Appreciation vs. Appropriation

Appreciation involves understanding and respecting the cultural significance behind the elements used, acknowledging their origins, and giving credit where it is due. It involves celebrating diversity and creating a multicultural ambiance in one’s home. For example, collecting traditional artwork or handicrafts from various cultures and displaying them with respect and admiration is seen as appreciation.

On the other hand, appropriation involves taking elements from a culture without proper understanding, respect, or acknowledgment. It often reduces cultural symbols, practices, or artifacts to mere fashion trends, disregarding their historical, religious, or social significance. Examples of cultural appropriation in home decor can include using sacred symbols or religious artifacts as mere decorations or adopting traditional designs without any knowledge of their cultural meaning.

Respecting Cultural Boundaries

Respecting cultural boundaries is crucial to avoid cultural appropriation when decorating a home. It is essential to recognize that cultural elements are not commodities but hold deep meaning and significance to the communities they belong to. Before incorporating cultural elements into home decor, it is important to educate oneself about their origins, symbolism, and cultural context.

Seeking Permission and Supporting Artisans

One way to show respect and appreciation is by seeking permission or obtaining products directly from the communities they originate from. This can involve purchasing artwork or handicrafts from local artisans or supporting fair-trade organizations that benefit the communities producing these cultural items. It helps ensure that the cultural creators are acknowledged and economically supported.

Avoiding Stereotyping and Offensive Representations

When decorating a home, it is crucial to refrain from perpetuating stereotypes or using offensive representations of a culture. Avoiding caricatures, misappropriating religious symbols, or turning cultural practices into gimmicks is essential. Instead, focus on understanding the cultural significance and using elements in a respectful and responsible manner.


While cultural appreciation through home decor can be a beautiful celebration of diversity, it is important to be mindful of the fine line between appreciation and appropriation. By educating ourselves, respecting cultural boundaries, seeking permission, and supporting artisans, we can create spaces that honor the cultural heritage of various communities without crossing into the realm of cultural appropriation.

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