What to Buy from Your Favorite Home Stores, According to Design Experts

Shopping for affordable home décor items can be a great way to spruce up your home on a budget. Quick additions of small furnishings, accent pieces and home accessories can transform your space from ordinary to magazine-worthy. And you don't have to go far to find these items. Big name stores, like IKEA and HomeGoods, provide a number of solutions to affordably revamp your space—you just have to know how to take advantage of their offerings.

For tips on getting the best bang for your buck, we asked home design experts about their go-to home stores, and what finds they snag to take their interiors to the next level—on a budget, of course. 

Trendy and affordable items are always in abundance at Target. “Everyone's favorite homewares store, Target has a full array of useful, practical, and downright trendy housewares and décor,” says Robin DeCapua, a home staging and decor specialist with one of Los Angeles home staging company, Madison Modern Home.

“Ranging from blenders and coffee makers to on-trend furniture, this retail giant has it all.” And if you thought their in-store selection was good, DeCapua reminds us that Target online has thousands more items to peruse.

But, at a store with so much to offer, what are the best deals and steals? And how do you maximize your purchase power? DeCapua loves Target's Studio McGee, Project 62 and Threshold lines for faux trees, lamps, bedding, blankets, dining chairs, and outdoor furniture.

Another tip, she says, is to use the site’s filters when shopping online. “Always check for major closeout sales by starting your keyword search with ‘Low to High’ prices,” she says. Shopping the site can also keep you from falling victim to that all-too-universal experience of heading to Target for one thing you need, and leaving with 10 things you don't.

If you're lucky enough to live near a HomeGoods store, you might just find yourself wandering the aisles for pure entertainment on Saturday afternoons. But aside from just taking in the sights, you can also shop for a complete room refresh on a budget.

“I shop for the vast majority of our home staging bedding at HomeGoods," DeCapua says. "There's always a wide variety of duvets, duvet covers, blankets, sheets, bed pillows and Euro shams. And given that a good portion of the store is devoted to aisle upon aisle of throw pillows, you're bound to find something you love here.”

In addition, DeCapua says that accent furniture, like bar stools, end tables, benches, and ottomans are always well-priced.  Rugs are another great find at HomeGoods, so be sure to take the time to give them a look. “I've found name-brand rugs at massive discounts here,” she adds.

Love it or hate it, IKEA has become an institution. "IKEA has so many great items, it's hard to narrow it down to a few faves, but here goes: cowhides, doormats, throw pillow covers and inserts, kitchen organization items, rugs, faux leafy stems, candles, Euro sham covers, and curtains,” DeCapua says. “In fact, I wouldn't dream of shopping for curtains anywhere without checking out IKEA first.”

Brooke Lang, principal designer and owner of BrookeLang Design in Chicago, also raves about the window coverings here. “I love the drapery panels at IKEA," she says. "They're affordable, pretty good in quality and come in different lengths. The trick is to use a high-quality drapery rod and rings to hang them just perfectly. Also, if there is more than one panel, stitch them together for a fuller look. Hemming the drapery panels to just kiss the floor gives it a polished look.”

Ever since Walmart introduced its MoDRN line, home stager DeCapua says WalMart is now a top choice for furnishings. “I pretty much started buying out its entire inventory of furniture and décor,” she says. “Surprisingly current in style, this line has some extremely on-trend pieces like living room chairs, coffee tables, end tables, art, and lamps.” 

Prioritizing Your Budget for Home Decorating

When you're furnishing your home, it’s important to consider what accent items you may rotate seasonally versus the investment pieces you plan to keep around all-year long. “Smaller items that will not be getting a lot of ‘touch’ or use in general, do not necessarily need to be as high quality as the larger furniture pieces that will be going in the home,” says senior interior designer Yoselin Castro with Mackenzie Collier Interiors in Phoenix, Arizona.

She says the items that you see yourself keeping long-term, such as sofas, beds, and dining sets will last much longer if you see them as investment pieces. “When looking for accessories, blankets, pillows, etc., you can never go wrong with more affordable retailers,” says Castro. “For this reason, I love to seek stores that offer affordable décor pieces and be intentional about the items I’m selecting as this is what gives the space the ultimate curated feeling. Purchasing inexpensive accessories also makes it easier to change things up more frequently.”

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