Shopping Secrets: 7 Ways to Get the Look for Less

Shopping Secrets: 7 Ways to Get the Look for Less

Dabney Frake
May 3, 2015

I've been doing these "One Design, Two Budgets" posts for a little while now, looking for great style at lower prices. I've learned some things in the process, which I thought I'd share with you all out there. Each point is illustrated by real world examples of magnificent shopping fun. Let's dive in.

Buy just the headboard: You still get the same look, using less material and therefore - less money. Metal bed frames are cheap and can often be found on Craigslist for 25 bucks. When used with a kick-ass headboard, you'll never give the rest of the bed another thought. For instance the Lorraine Bed from Pottery Barn is $1399, while just the headboard is $799.

Buy Accessories Instead: Look for the same feel or pattern, just in a smaller, less expensive item. If you can't afford this Madeleine Weinrib rug for thousands, you can still buy this pillow from Etsy in a very similar pattern. $45 later, same style, just on a smaller scale.

Shop at Children's Stores: High design often trickles downstream to the younger set and, since parents don't want to spend as much for kids, items are designed and priced accordingly. For example, how many times have you seen this lamp from Land of Nod styled in adult rooms? It's pure awesome, on trend, and a very good price.
Know Your Stores: This is kind of a no-brainer, but I'll include it anyway: Certain stores - like Target, World Market or Shades of Light - are known for high design at lower prices. I often start there when I'm looking for a certain type item and - even if I don't find that particular thing - can almost certainly find something else that looks more expensive. Bookmark those sites, and check back frequently. In a recent post, Tara used this jute rug from Rugs USA, as opposed to the more expensive version from ABC Carpet & Home.
Thrift: Okay, this is super random. In my area, local Goodwills purchase batches of unsold and returned items from certain stores that shall remain nameless (okay, Target - shhh) to resell. For instance, just last week I saw several of these brand new vases from the Fall 2012 Nate Berkus collection, still with tags. If you aren't a thrift store shopper type, this is reason enough to reconsider.

Shop Around: Just because a certain store or flash sale site says they are selling items at a discount, that still doesn't always make it the best deal out there. For example, take these classic zebra Scalamandre pillows that were on One Kings Lane for $399 this past week. However, this eBay store has the same ones for half that.

Take Your Time: If it's something you really love (versus something you irrationally want right at that moment), wait awhile. Again, high design trickles down and other stores will follow suit with their own variation on the theme. Once similar styles are out there, price points (and quality) will most certainly vary. These Jonathan Adler fruit pillows are no longer available on his site, but this version is now for sale at Overstock for $22. Still cute, even after a couple of years, and much cheaper.

Have your own smart tips and tricks? Please, by all means, share your strategies in the comments.

Re-edited from a post originally published 5.20.13 - AB

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