ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — We’re deep into winter, with weeks to go before spring raises its head. With more cold weather to come, it’s only natural for things to start feeling a bit gloomy.
However, the touch of just one bright item in your home can add some color to the dreariness of these – at times – monotonous, cold days.
Fortunately, Albuquerque has a myriad of locally owned home-décor stores that boast a variety of accessories to brighten up your life this winter, whatever your budget.
- Talavera crosses from Guadalajara and Hidalgo, Mexico. Price range: $3-$20
- Colorful blankets from Tlaxcala, Mexico. Price range: $15-$35
Both the colorful Talavera accents and hand-woven blankets are sold at Aguirre’s Imports, a store in Old Town that specializes in Mexican art. The vibrant colors are a sure way to add some color to your home.
Old Town, 328 San Felipe St. NW
- Fair-trade Big Dipper Wax Works beeswax candles (all-natural). Price range: $3.50-$26.50
This colorful line of candles is sold at nomades, a tribal, international-art store, owned by husband and wife Mamadou Bah and Linder Brauer. “Everything is either local, fair-trade or bought from a small company,” Bah said.
10700 Corrales Road, Suite C
- Ceramic bowls by local artist Amber Archer of Abiquiu. Price range: $30-$130
According to Mariposa Gallery owner Liz Dineen, the ceramic bowls are some of her most popular items. “I concentrate on local art … probably 97 percent of what I show is New Mexico artists,” Dineen said. “It’s always been that way and it’s all hand-crafted.”
- Light and airy settings comprised of hand-picked décor items from France. Prices range from $15 per plate to $295 for the cherub statue.
The best way to brighten up a space is by using white and ivory, with small pops of color, according to Tammy Rorem, owner and designer of Je L’adore!, which sells authentic French vintage décor. “The white and the ivory will do wonders,” she said. “It doesn’t need to be a lot.”
The addition of lighter fabrics can also brighten up a space, she added. “Take off the heavy drapes, get rid of the velvets and bring in cottons and linens, even if you just do elements of it.” Rorem travels to France once a year to hand-pick the French vintage items that she carries in her store, making them all one-of-a-kind.
7600 Menaul NE
- Hand-woven, fair-trade baskets from Senegal. Price range: $32-$225
These colorful baskets, sold at nomades, come in all shapes and sizes, and varying prices, depending on how much you want to spend. The baskets are fair-trade, made from sustainable, harvested grasses and recycled plastic tape, and hand-woven in Senegal. Many of nomades’ items are recycled or handmade and from different African countries. Store co-owner Mamadou Bah, a Guinea native, said he has strong ties with people across the African continent. The owners also strive to buy from smaller, local New Mexico artists and help them, Bah said.
10700 Corrales Road, Suite C
- Brightly patterned throw pillows. Price range: $45-$50
American Home Furniture offers a variety of patteron a budget, pillows are a great place to start,” said Elaine Roy, vice president of merchandising for American Home Furniture. Pillows can make a sensible addition to a room, being relatively inexpensive and easy to change out. “Our rugs and pillows can change your whole room, just by adding accents of color,” she said. “Pillows can create a whole new environment.”
- Surrealist paintings by local Albuquerque artist Suzanne Sbarge. Price range: $500-$2,000
Subtle pops of vibrant colors make Suzanne Sbarge’s paintings intriguing and eye-catching. Sbarge is a local artist who has lived and worked in Albuquerque for 25 years. Her work explores mixing painting and collage, and merging pieces of the natural world with human figures and faces. Mariposa Gallery owner Liz Dineen calls Sbarge a “powerhouse” in New Mexico art.