There’s no question that we’ll always be here for your big design goals. That said, a tight budget can squash any dreams you had of owning a Jean Royère polar bear sofa (a la Ellen Degeneres) or a vintage Noguchi lamp. Decorating your home can get pricey if you don’t know where to look.
For an interior designer, sourcing stylish goods at affordable price points isn’t just a fun game of Where’s Waldo?—it’s their job. Luckily, a handful of pros were willing to share with us where they do all their deal hunting. We were relieved to discover a slew of familiar names on the list. Read on to discover where designers hunt for home decor that only looks expensive.
While Joshua Greene and Katrina Hernandez of Hernandez Greene definitely agree on what makes a well-loved home, they differ when it comes to deal hunting. Greene is a personal fan of Blu Dot, a mid-range retailer that has made a name for itself based on cool silhouettes and durable materials. Its new outdoor collection is proof that contemporary furniture can be both functional and affordable. Hernandez likes to keep things local and vintage at Adaptations in Brooklyn.
A curated vintage shop is great if you need directions, but if you want to let your imagination run wild, estate sales and flea markets will deliver the rush you crave. “I guess you could say that I’m still a die-hard flea market girl even after all these years,” shares New York–based designer, Sheila Bridges. “I think maybe it has something to do with the thrill of the chase.”
Unless you’re particularly impatient, digging through bins of junk to find one unique item is thrilling. And don’t just limit yourself to your local flea. “Whenever I travel to a new city or another country, one of the first things I do is to find out where the local flea market is,” continues Bridges. “I love pairing inexpensive flea market finds with more expensive things so that nobody knows the difference.”
One tried-and-true home hub Julia Marcum from Chris Loves Julia can’t live without? Target—where else! The retailer just stocked its shelves with plenty of giftable goodies from Chip and Jo’s Hearth and Hand collection. Plus, we’re still not over Leanne Ford’s lighting collection.
If you only had $30 in your pocket to drop at IKEA, you’d walk out with a Frakta bag full of items. Shavonda Gardner keeps the Swedish retailer in her back pocket at all times. Hey, you never know when you’re going to need a lilac-colored napkin holder.
Who needs brick-and-mortar when the web offers instant access to equally inspired sellers? Starrett Ringbom sources her cost-effective picks on eBay. Now over 20 years old, the marketplace is still one of the best places to discover passed-down pottery, lighting, and mid-century furniture.
“I am a huge fan of Wayfair!” says artist, designer, and desert dweller Lindsay Hollinger. Set to open its first brick-and-mortar store this summer, Wayfair is about to become a lot more accessible to shoppers who have previously found the site’s never-ending list of products overwhelming. Lark & Linen’s Jacquelyn Clark suggests sticking to effortless accessories like throw pillows if you’re unsure.
“Everyone knows and loves Target for good design finds that are affordable. However, lately I’ve been on a Scandinavian design kick, and the vibe Zara Home offers with its home decor products leans right into that feel,” says the former therapist-turned–interior stylist, Anita Yokota.
A true expert on living tiny, Cali-based blogger Katrina Blair Sullivan has to shop extra smart when she wants to find wallet-friendly pieces to fill her small space. West Elm has a surprising number of side tables, accent chairs, and storage staples that can fit in tight quarters. Still think its sofas are too expensive? Soon you’ll be able to rent a bundle of furniture from the company, thanks to a recent partnership with Rent the Runway.
“CB2 is really good because it is always on trend with a distinct aesthetic for the layperson to aspire to and build on,” shares Erin Shakoor. “There are always a few unique, original items in its rotation to help customers create a space that’s distinct from their neighbors.” If originality is as important to you as it is Shakoor, you’ll find solace in the fact that CB2 just launched its first-ever vintage collection.
Sure, blowing this month’s paycheck on your dream coffee table might seem like a good idea in the moment, but it’s a decision your wallet definitely won’t thank you for later. For chic furniture and other incredible accessories, Ashlina Kaposta of The Decorista suggests getting lost in HomeGoods. Vases, cutting boards, and design books are just a few go-to items designers always tend to snag when they stop by.
From affordable prints to antique Oushak rugs, Etsy is brimming with hidden gems. “I love vintage and handmade pieces,” says Whitney Leigh Morris of The Tiny Canal Cottage. Morris, like many designers, relies on the site for artisanal objects and custom furniture. “Working one-on-one with makers helps establish a budget from the onset of a project,” she adds. We recently polled a slew of designers for their all-time favorite Etsy vendors—and our bookmarks page will never be the same.
This story was originally published on April 11, 2018. It has been updated with new information.
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