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What are Knick Knacks?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 16, 2024
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Knickknacks are items used to decorate the home. Typically, they are small and in the form of a particular object, with animals and angels being among the most popular designs.

People buy these items for a variety of reasons. Some are bought while on vacation as a souvenir or memento of the trip. Others are purchased to be part of a collection. Precious Moments statues, for example, are knick knacks that are produced for collectors and that each adhere to the same theme.

Knick knacks can also be an important part of the décor of a home. A home with a sea life theme, for example, may contain small statues dolphins or other sea creatures. Similarly, a home decorated in a fantasy theme may include figurines of dragons or wizards.

While decorative items can create a unique look in a home or office, care must be taken when purchasing them. Those who collect and display too many create a cluttered look in the home, and the items will be unlikely to be appreciated for their unique beauty. Many home owners purchase curio cabinets to display their knick knacks in an orderly way.

A curio cabinet is a cabinet with a glass front and sides. Generally, it contains three or more shelves inside, also typically made of glass. Knick knacks can be placed inside the curio cabinet and viewed through the glass. This serves to protect the items, and also helps them look as if they are purposely placed in the home for a decorative purpose, rather than simply tossed onto a shelf.

These items have a tendency to become dusty quickly and can take a great deal of time to clean. In addition, it can be time consuming to remove all knick knacks from their spot in the home in order to clean the furniture on which they are rested. The curio cabinet also helps minimize this problem, as it is kept shut and dust is not capable of getting inside.

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Discussion Comments
By medicchristy — On Jul 17, 2010

@momothree: Wow! What a find! I shop at thrift stores very regularly and get most of my knick knacks there. I am going to have to start paying close attention to what I get!

By momothree — On Jul 17, 2010

My sister knows that I collect knick knacks of all kinds. Her mother-in-law had a garage sale about a year ago and my sister picked me up a small vase for next to nothing. After inspection, I realized it was Fenton glass. I have a Fenton catalog and I looked the piece up. It was from the red carnival glass line and was worth over $300!

Always check and make sure that your knick knacks aren’t valuables!!

By BrickBack — On Jul 14, 2010

Great article- I agree that knick knacks tend to get dusty. If you have too many of them in your home, it becomes harder to clean them and your home may look cluttered.

A good strategy might be to rotate certain knick knacks from time to time so that all of them eventually get displayed just not all at one time.

The remaining knick knacks can be stored in a garage for safekeeping or may be given away if your home has too many.

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