Monday, January 16, 2017


OH, unfasten those seat belts and chill out, I'm not getting political, at least not today! One of the many designer hats I wear is that of stager (actually, I kind of hate that term, so let's just say I get homes market-ready). Many times I'm able to come in and edit the things in someones house, sprinkle in a little space planning for good flow and then I'm good to go. If the furniture looks like it was pulled out of a dumpster in the alley of a crack house, however, then I need to get a little creative. Depending on the style of house, I'm often able to pick up incredible deals at places like Home Goods or Ikea. A few years ago, when I was inundated with staging jobs, I decided to test certain companies and products to see what would withstand the test of time (and aggressive little hands). Whether you're staging a house or trying to fill one economically, below is a list of some of my favorite spots to find deals and how their pieces have lasted.

I've purchased a similar set of curtains from Pottery Barn for $180/set and one at Ikea for $29.99/set. While the selection at Ikea is fairly limited to color and length, the quality is actually quite nice. If you're staging a house or just trying to cover a window with something simple, Ikea is the way to go! Silk curtains I purchased at Pottery Barn for $400 were misshapen, and after returning them twice and getting the same result each time, I gave up and headed for Ikea. TIP: The inexpensive curtains at Ikea also make great slip covers for chairs, small sofas and ottomans. I've often sprung for the slightly more expensive velvet curtains ($39-49/pair) and covered club chairs and ottomans!

My friend who did the total house renovation wanted new dining room chairs for her new dining room (I'll show you in a later blog). She wanted simple metal chairs that are popping up everywhere, from Design Within Reach ($350/each) to Crate & Barrel ($100/each), I found the exact look at for $100 for TWO. They look and feel exactly like the expensive ones, took a beating over the holidays and still look incredible!

This is always a tough one for me, especially when shopping with picky clients. With sofas, chairs and beds especially, I always insist a client try in person. Buying online can be tricky (I've ordered sofas site unseen on overstock and the quality is CRAPOLA). Ikea's prices are creeping up, but the Ektorp simple sofa for $399 is a solid piece if you're staging, decorating a weekend home or furnishing your place for the first time. For the long haul I'd upgrade to Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel (sofas are over $1,000.00 but last). Ethan Allen has also surprised me lately with fresh, new products and great prices (quick ship sofas are around $900 and have several fabrics to choose from). In a pinch I ordered a sofa from Bobs Discount Furniture (believe the company is only on the east coast), and while the service was impeccable upon delivery, the product was pretty cheap looking and in feel. Eight years ago I ordered to faux-leather chairs from overstock for $150 and have staged them in several homes, and upon retiring them moved them into mine. Only recently did I notice the tearing and chipping of the fake leather (photographed). For the price, however, and incredible use and abuse these have received, I'm pretty impressed!

When designing homes of any size on any budget, I love to mix and match. I pop into local antiques stores and zip into a Target whenever I see one. When I need inexpensive mirrors and accessories that like lamps and vases, Home Goods is my go-to!