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As an interior designer, I’m basically a professional shopper. I’m always browsing, ordering, and unpacking merchandise for my clients! It’s one of the perks of the job. An important lesson I’ve learned over the years is that no one store does everything well, so I’m sharing my insider knowledge with you on what to seek out, and what to avoid, at all the most popular home décor stores.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Underwear for Your Space Bed Bath & Beyond definitely has its strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s 50% crap and 50% gold, mainly because most of its decorative pieces are so cheesy! It’s a great place to shop for essential, foundational pieces for your home — think mops, shower curtain liners, curtain rods, and sheet sets. But, beware of anything decor-oriented unless you enjoy uninteresting patterns and textures at steep prices. And a pro tip: Never leave home without your trusty Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon.

Pottery Barn: Quality Items, Crazy Prices! Pottery Barn has great items, but the prices are painful for what you’re actually getting. For this reason, I rate it as 70% crap, 30% gold. The items are good quality, especially their affordable lighting and rugs, as well as the study dishware. But when it comes to larger pieces, Pottery Barn is notorious for adding on mandatory delivery fees, which can leave you paying 25% more for an item that’s already so overpriced. Between you and me, Home Decorators has plenty of similar pieces that are much kinder to your wallet.

Anthropologie: The Perfect Place for Conversation Pieces. I love Anthropologie— they have such unique, interesting pieces that are sure to spark lively conversation with all your visitors. However, the prices are borderline obscene! I rate Anthropologie as 80% crap, 20% gold, for the pricing reason alone. I go straight to the sale section (or tab) — and when I realize I can’t even afford the sale markdowns, I head to the real treasure trove — the clearance section! I’ve found great drapes and accent pieces, like bowls and trays, for really decent prices here. But no matter the sale, I’d avoid any of Anthropologie’s furniture, because in addition to being grossly overpriced, the quality just isn’t the best.

CB2: Crate & Barrel’s Hip, Stylish Younger Sister. I am really loving CB2’s recent facelift! And they carry great knockoffs that look just like the overpriced pieces you’d find somewhere else. As a whole, the store is 40% crap, 60% gold. The selection of rugs, mirrors, pillows, and bar carts is, without a doubt, top of the line, and they’ve reimagined functional items, putting creative, trendy twists on things as simple as towel bars! However, I steer clear of their upholstered furniture and artwork — most of it is cheesy, mass produced, and not aesthetically pleasing.

HomeGoods: Finding a Needle in the Haystack. I love to love HomeGoods — but to be honest, it’s 97% crap, 3% gold. The gold comes in small deposits, often in the form of nice vases, accent pieces, mirrors, and bowls. The crap is basically anything over three feet in size — furniture, chairs, and large pieces which are often cheaply made and not stylish at all. It’s easy to get blinded by all of the great deals here, but unfortunately, good deals don’t always mean good, functional items for your home. So here’s my golden HomeGoods rule: when looking at a piece, ask yourself, “Is it more than one color?” If the answer is yes, move on — most items at HomeGoods that aren’t monotone are usually tacky and unneeded. And always make sure to walk in with a purpose and keep an editing eye.

Stay tuned for Retail Rundown Part II, in which I hit up the rest of your faves like West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Wayfair, and, of course, Ikea!  

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