This Is My Secret Source for Art and Home Decor That I Don’t Want to Share

published Sep 3, 2023
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Credit: Erin Derby

My answer for the easiest way to personalize a space on a budget is always artwork. Sure, paint and peel-and-stick wallpaper can be really high-impact, and adding decorative molding to your walls and statement lighting overhead doesn’t hurt, either. When you don’t want to take on a project but still need a focal point in a room, art is hands-down the way to go. The hard part with art, though? Finding a piece that speaks to you in your price range.

If you’ve ever shopped for paintings, prints, and wall hangings, then you know the drill: Bigger almost always means more expensive. That’s why I’ve been pleasantly shocked at the art offerings The Real Real, a luxury secondhand shopping brand, has online. Known mostly for its high-end fashion and accessories, TRR also low-key stocks a bunch of contemporary photography, prints from up-and-comers, and vintage, one-of-a-kind or limited-edition works from blue chip artists — among other housewares — and these items don’t get nearly the amount of attention that the site’s bags, shoes, and clothes do. 

I don’t want to oversell the pricing here because things aren’t exactly cheap. Everything in the art section is authenticated by TRR’s team of buyers and, again, because singular artists are behind the works — versus, say, a mass-produced poster print — pieces have that direct human aspect to them and are priced accordingly. Because TRR is a consignment site, though, the prices of all items — whether brand-new or vintage — do drop over time. This is where you’ll find the best value. 

Credit: Erin Derby

I’m a total art history nerd and couldn’t believe that after browsing the site diligently for a few months, I snagged a huge framed lithograph by artist Louise Nevelson dating back to the ‘70s for less than $1,000 (which was still a big splurge for me). However, to fill the same extra-large void on my wall, I’d probably have paid around the same amount for a mass-produced piece at a big-box store. I’ve also picked up another limited-edition lithograph by Pop Artist James Rosenquist (see above) and recently noticed the site has a lot of fine arts photography and prints.

If the site’s art inventory doesn’t pique your interest, then the home section might. In addition to the vintage goods that resellers list and the very fancy fashion brands that create home decor pieces, TRR also stocks like-new and often deeply discounted pieces from beloved brands like Serax, Virginia Sin, Sophie Lou Jacobsen, and Dusen Dusen. You’ll also find tons of pottery and art books on the site, which, again, as the days pass, will be cheaper than their retail cost (and appear, in many cases, to be brand new when you get them; I’ve bought very inexpensive art books during site-wide sales here, too). 

To score the best deals, you have to check the site frequently to take stock of what they have and track favorite items to be alerted when prices drop. Shipping will play a factor in the overall cost, too, so keep that in mind for oversized orders. The best time to buy is when TRR is running a sale or a special promotion where you get a fraction of your purchase back as a credit to the site; these events happen fairly regularly and will be advertised as such on the homepage of the site. Coupon codes are available, too, but typically aren’t valid on a handful of very popular brands or when an item is first listed. At the very least, I’d suggest taking a look at The Real Real for home decor because you never know what you’ll find.