Jason Mattis

The Impact of 3D Printing on Home Decor and Furnishings in 2023

3D printing technology constructs three-dimensional objects based on a digital model. A primary example of the impact of 3D printing is protective equipment for healthcare workers during the pandemic. When supplies became impossible to find, many healthcare networks turned to 3D printing to create facemasks, shields, swabs, and safety goggles. The technology was even employed to make replacement valves for ventilators.

Another example of the power of 3D printing is in creating homes. 3D-printed homes are revolutionizing the construction industry because they can build structures in hours instead of weeks. Habitat for Humanity is using this technology to provide homes to people that would otherwise be homeless.

With the help of 3D printing, building a home is done in layers, as opposed to components. Once all the layers are complete, the builders simply put them together.

The use of 3D printing extends beyond the building, too. Companies are jumping on the 3D bandwagon to create everything from wall art to furniture. People are even buying small 3D printers for their homes and making their own wall and tabletop decor. If they can't afford the printer, they can use a computer to design a model of what they want and send it to a 3D printing service the same way they would order pictures from a printer.

The History of
3D Printers

The idea of 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, first surfaced as part of a short story in the 1940s. It was a very futuristic concept, but it planted a seed. In the 1970s, Johannes Gottwald filed a U.S. Patent for an inkjet metal material device that could fabricate items.

It wasn't until the 1980s that 3D printers, or additive manufacturing, really started to have a purpose. Then, a research institute in Japan invented two ways of creating 3D models using a polymer.

Some credit today's 3D printing technology to engineer and physicist Chuck Hull in the 1980s. In 1984, though, entrepreneur Bill Masters involved computers in the process. This was the first time someone called the device a 3D printer on a patent. The device created by Masters is the foundation for modern-day 3D printing systems.

How 3D Printing Works

First, someone creates a blueprint for the design on a computer using computer-aided design (CAD) software. That design is electronically transferred to a printer. The printer uses raw materials, such as plastics, or metal powders, to build the structure based on the design through material extrusion.

The material comes out hot in thin, liquid layers. As it cools and solidifies, it bonds with the other layers. This continues until a 3D rendering of the blueprint completes.

What Are the Advantages of 3D Printing in Home Decor?

The interior design of a home is a reflection of the owner. It showcases their distinct style and uniqueness. It shows others what matters to the homeowner, such as nature, art, or comfort.

The problem is so much of what is on the market is mass-produced. Companies getting into 3D printing for home decor are creating a new market for people looking for more individuality.

Custom Design Process

Custom designing decor isn't new. People who can afford to commission pieces have been doing it for years. These same homeowners hire interior decorators to manage the basics of their design so they customize it without having to do the creative work themselves.

For manufacturers, 3D printing allows them to create custom pieces quickly and at a lower cost. In addition, it provides design flexibility that they can't get rapidly in other ways.

3D printing also reduces the need for molds, and handmade tools, which can be expensive. That allows them to lower the cost of their design operations, potentially passing some of the savings to consumers.

Next Level Designs

3D printers can create intricate designs quickly that would take someone months to build by hand. 3D products have a sleek and modern look. They often include geometric patterns that pair well with eclectic and contemporary decor themes.

They can produce the same piece exactly over and over, as well. If someone orders light fixtures, they know they will all be identical. Although that is possible with standard mass manufacturing, it can be tricky with intricate patterns.


The downside to most manufacturing processes is the carbon footprint they leave. A carbon footprint is the greenhouse gasses a person, process, or company puts into the atmosphere.

In 2021, manufacturing produced 23 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the damage is done by burning fossil fuels for energy. Gas also enters the atmosphere from certain chemical reactions common in manufacturing.

The consequences of uncontrolled carbon emission are clear. On average, the temperatures on the planet, and specifically in the oceans, are rising every year. In 2022, the National Center for Environmental Information recorded the sixth warmest year since they began keeping records.

These rising temperatures have a direct impact on global weather patterns. The warmer climate allows the atmosphere to collect and retain more water, causing flooding and drought conditions. There are also worsening disasters, such as heat waves that cause fires and massive storms.

With 3D printing, manufacturers of furniture and home decor can alter their carbon footprint because:

  • It uses less energy. It takes less energy to print the various components than it does to manufacture them.
  • They are producing less waste material. In manufacturing, shaping is done by hollowing out material. That creates waste. In 3D printing, the shape is an additive process. The printer adds more material until it has the desired shape.
  • They are reducing carbon-heavy supply chains. The transportation needs in manufacturing are massive. They move heavy materials to a warehouse. Then, they move them again to a manufacturing plant when necessary. 3D printing focuses more on one-point fabrication. In other words, there are fewer carbon-intensive steps in the manufacturing process.

Additionally, 3D printing can use sustainable materials to create home decor items. That is a talking point for modern living concepts like Arbol in Newark, NJ. This luxury apartment's marketing is built around the idea of sustainability and green homes.

They also have a sleek, modern decor that fits well with the unique styling of 3D printing. Arbol features a number of communal areas, including coworking spaces and a Biergarten, so luxury, modern decor is critical.

Studies show that consumers, especially younger ones, are increasingly drawn to brands that embrace sustainability. That will factor more into their decision-making process, from buying things for their homes to even planning their next resort vacation. They'll look for it to be a topic on the website before booking.

The Future of 3D Printing in Home Decor

A bright future for 3D printing in homes goes beyond just decor. For example, you might see it become critical in home maintenance and repair. It might also become a mainstay in repairing appliances. Consumers could “print” the part they need instead of ordering it from the manufacturer. Smart appliances may even be able to order their own 3D-printed replacement parts.

It will likely affect how consumers shop for home decor, as well. There may be 3D printing marketplaces for creatives to sell wall art, furniture, and even pottery. Modern showcase websites like Aectural already exist for that purpose.

There are already 3D pottery printers available, too. They work with clay instead of plastic to create unique designs. Olivier van Herpt, for instance, uses 3D printing to build custom large porcelain vases.

Home decor is about creativity. It allows you to build spaces that tell your personal story. 3D printing is the marriage of digital art creations with real home decor, so its use in this industry is unlimited.

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