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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Regular cups are so last season. While the glasses you use for dinner or just when you need some water are part of the basic things you need in your day, they’re not great for adding your own unique flair to your kitchen supplies. Instead, when one is adding or decorating their kitchen for the first time, you should have some mugs in your possession. Mugs are good for many different purposes such as containing a good hot cocoa or to have at your side when you’re doing your homework. These multi-use ceramics are at their core an extension of feeling at home and that can be especially true when you’re spending time with those you love. 

If you don’t love mugs as much as I do then, perhaps after reading about these mug finds, you may come to be at least intrigued by the sheer variety of mugs out there.

1. Mugs With Designs Etched In

Some of my favorite mugs in my personal collection are the ones that have designs I’ve never seen before. And a lot of these mugs tend to have their designs etched in rather than printed on the surface. The ones in my collection that are etched usually have sea creatures on them which could suggest that the use of the etching is a metaphor for how sea creatures exist beneath the water’s surface. Using the technique of etching is also an example of how these mugs are more on the artsy side in the sense that these designs rely on negative space to be legible to shoppers.

If this sounds like your jam, you can usually find mugs like these at aquarium gift shops or perhaps a store adjacent to that. As an added bonus, these mugs can also become a standout in your home because their designs usually encompass the whole mug rather than being cut off or breaking away from the mug shape mold. 

2. Design Your Own Mugs 

Sometimes the selection of mugs at gift shops or stores is just not cutting it. Often when people are looking for new decorations, they already have something in mind. When that mental picture is nowhere close to what reality has to offer, the shopping trip could become a strikeout. This is when a mug’s multiplicity of functions comes into play. Mugs can also be made in many different manners, too. If you have been wanting a mug that has a personal touch, then perhaps going to your local pottery studio is your next stop. Going to your local pottery studio can give you the personal freedom to create a mug that you actually want.

Secondly, you can also make going to the studio a hangout with friends, which can imbue the mug with more personality and a holder of memories. If this is your preference and you live in the Bay Area, then I would recommend Brushstrokes Studio in Berkeley or Color Me Mine in Walnut Creek. 

3. Nature, Places, and Minimalistic Mugs

There are perhaps too many categories of mugs to describe than there is time to write about. To that effect, these last categories of mugs are some of the more simple mug designs that perhaps you’ve seen before. I’m talking about the mugs with nature themes, the mugs that are specific to a particular place in a country, and the mugs that are much more about the form than the surface. Finding these types of mugs is a bit easier than finding mugs in the first two categories written about because they’re a bit more mainstream. That’s not a dig against them, for these mugs are usually very pretty!

If this is more your speed, you can find them online. However, if one still wants to get their mug from a store then one can usually find nature mugs at visitor centers, outdoor areas, or at local craft stores. For mugs that represent particular places, airports and their equivalents produce plenty of good options. Finally, for minimalist mugs, the best selections are typically found at a furniture store or at a store like Target. 

Overall, mugs are important because they extend your own special personality from just one part of your kitchen to beyond it. There really isn’t anything better than sipping from a mug that sparkles when the light hits it just right or fits nicely in your hand. Mugs can even be good substitutes for water bottles. I say this because my water bottle of many years has gone missing and now at my desk is one of my favorite mugs. When I could’ve been lacking a way to stay hydrated, my mug collection saved me with its availability and options. Perhaps, even if mugs are still not appealing to you, get one to simply make sure that there’s always a backup option because mugs can be that, too. 

Haley Morrill

UC Berkeley '25

Haley is a 3rd year at UC Berkeley, who is an art major. She loves to write about the arts, culture, and more! When Haley is not studying, you can find her going to art museums, trying every version of a mocha, or making art. She is very excited to continue with the Her Campus team and is looking forward to the year ahead.