The 7 Best Home Decor Finds at Trader Joe’s, According to a Former Employee

published Jun 4, 2024
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Known for its grocery selection, Trader Joe’s carries everything from your basics to super-popular desserts and frozen meals. But I’m here to make the case that this cult-favorite grocer is more than just a headquarters for pumpkin-spiced everything.

In fact, some of its home decor is pretty darn cute, with many things I still keep in pride of place in my apartment years after hanging up my own Hawaiian shirt and moving on from my two years of working at Trader Joe’s. I know my former (and present!) coworkers would agree that these stalwart favorites are well-worth picking up, yet don’t get their much-deserved spotlight when flashier seasonal offerings hit the store. Here are just a few of the (mostly) non-edible, home-y picks I always pick up on my Trader Joe’s runs.

1. Olive Wood Cutting Boards, $24.99 each

No surprise: These frequently sold-out seasonal olive wood cutting boards are at the top of my list. When I used to roll out the limited supply we’d get each winter, I often had customers crowd around me to grab one before I could even get them out of the box. It’s easy to see why — each cutting board is unique in shape, size, and grain pattern, which makes them great gifts or excellent serving platters when you bust out your best cheeses, olives, and cured meats for a charcuterie board.

Want to look beyond its typical usage? I, for one, especially like keeping one on top of my dresser to display my favorite jewelry, a candle or two, and a tiny flower vase for a discount Anthropologie-esque vibe. 

2. Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels, $7.99 for 3 towels

If there’s one home good I’m a sucker for, it has to be nice towels. I like cute ones during the holidays and new seasons, and I have my everyday favorites as well. I work from home, and I see the contents of my apartment maybe too often, so I like that Trader Joe’s kitchen towels have mostly curbed my tendency to buy All the Fancy Towels. For just $7.99, you get three rustic-cute towels that are equal parts durable and nice to look at. 

3. Petite Bouquet, $3.99 each

We all need a day (or room) brightener, and the $3.99 Petite Bouquets from Trader Joe’s have yet to not brighten at least two weeks’ worth of days for me. Seriously, what do they put in that plant food? With a wide variety of blooms that arrive every morning, grabbing two bouquets and making your own arrangement only doubles your fun. 

4. 100% Red Tart Cherry Juice, $4.99 for 32 fluid ounces

I know what you’re thinking — how can one decorate with cherry juice? No, I’m not suggesting some Jackson Pollock-esque splatter art — it’s all about what you do once you finish drinking said cherry juice. Having drunk my way through many of the adorable glass-bottled drinks at Trader Joe’s, I’ve found that the brand’s bottle of not-from-concentrate cherry juice is perhaps the cutest one around. So much so, that I always keep a couple on hand after I finish them to use as vases that perfectly fit one of the aforementioned Petite Bouquets. 

5. Eight Dripless Candles, $4.49 for 8 candles

This is hardly a hot take, but I love to borrow home style inspiration from restaurants — especially those apothecary-esque, low-lit bars and restaurants with their cool and moody taper candles. That being said, I do not enjoy shelling out for Shoppy Shop-priced tapers if I can help it (they can often be more than a few dollars each). My latest solve for this has been stocking up on Trader Joe’s eight-pack of taper candles come Hanukkah time — they’re dripless and self-exhausting (so no need to babysit or get worried about accidentally leaving one burning too long) and look really cute in a classic candleholder. You can also do what I do and add one to your favorite vintage-style apothecary bottle

6. Crackling Scented Candles, $9.99 for 11.28 ounces

At any point in time, I have a full online shopping cart teeming with “crackling” wood-wicked candles. The reality is that those candles are often $40 bucks a pop, and I just don’t need candles that badly. Well, Trader Joe’s has clearly been snooping on my shopping habits, because they roll out one of their seasonal crackling candles throughout the year (recent favorites of mine have been their Citrus Green Tea and Red Fruits In the Forest scents). What’s the difference between these and regular wick candles? Well, each of these wooden-wicked candles “crackles” out a mellow campfire sound when lit. It instantly ups the cozy factor to 11 at a fraction of the price. Plus, they smell amazing (no scent-related headaches for my sensitive nose). 

7. Blank Greeting Cards, $.99 each

I’m also hesitant to reveal my favorite decor item, but I can’t gatekeep it forever. In short, don’t sleep on Trader Joe’s greeting cards! They are often very cute, fit perfectly in a small frame, and are very versatile (I’m not telling you to frame a Father’s Day card; choose something without words for best results). It’s well-worth spinning through the display (specifically the ones that are in the “Blank” or sometimes “Friendship” section, as they aren’t holiday- or sentiment-specific), as there are plenty that are just as adorable as pricier prints — and will look just as cute in your home.