ALL POSTS IN Shopping

  • Tell Your Friends

When I was growing up, my family always used to ask me for my Christmas wish list about a month in advance, and it would be a whole big production. This year, I think I’m going to save everyone the trouble and send them a link to Zinc Door. Done and done. I’ve always admired Wendy Estes and Tiffany Harris’ other site, the more traditional Layla Grace, but you know when you look at a certain catalog or walk into a certain store and think, “Oh, these people just get me”? Zinc Door is like that. The vibe is modern, eclectic, fun and still sophisticated at the same time. (It’s got echoes of Kelly Wearstler, if I do say so myself.) Case in point? This Branch Cabinet.

branch cabinet

It’s industrial, yet organic at the same time. I’m a total sucker for anything tree-related (a product of being from Pennsylvania?), but the aluminum branches are not just decorative. How clever that they’ve been incorporated into the design as the media cabinet’s legs! This is a little much to expect Santa to leave for me, but really, I’ll take anything from Zinc Door. I just hope the elves are listening.

  • Tell Your Friends

Guys, I meant to tell you about Michelle Armas‘s energetic abstract paintings a long time ago, when I first was tipped off to their existence by Cassandra LaValle of Coco + Kelley, I really did. But I’m a little selfish. Her paintings always seem to sell very quickly, and I didn’t want my favorite pieces to be snatched up before I had a chance to consider them. I apologize for withholding information. To make amends, I’ll give you this hot tip: Michelle’s got a new Etsy store.

droid painting

Okay, I’m still protecting my best interests. This wild riot of color and motion (“Droid”) is one of my favorite $100 paintings on her Etsy page, but not my absolute favorite. I hope you don’t guess which one I’m crushing on before I buy it, or I’ll be crushed.

  • Tell Your Friends

When I first started thrifting for my apartment, I filled my shopping cart with everything that caught my eye. Too many times, I’d leave an item behind to give myself time to consider it, only to come back to find that someone else had bought it.

Thrifters Gotta Have Patience

But the real trick isn’t throwing everything in your cart just to keep someone else from picking it up. It’s editing before the item even goes in your cart.

Vintage BowlYes, this vintage bowl is gorgeous. But do you really need it?

The first thing is to ask, “Do I really want this? Where will I place it?” If you say yes to the first question and give a quick response to the second, I would say it’s a keeper. However, if you don’t have a place for it, and/or it doesn’t give you the happy feeling, let it go.

I admit to having way too many dishes. I used to buy inexpensive pieces because they were my style. Many of those pieces are still sitting in the bag the cashier placed them in. If you don’t entertain regularly, or display dishes as soon as you get home, chances are you won’t ever use them. So edit your cart and take out those pretties. Heartbreaking, I know. However, it’s for the better.

How to Display Dishes if You Just Can’t Part With Them

Double check what’s in your cart to make sure you don’t already have something similar. Unless you collect canisters, ask yourself whether it’s necessary to have two sets.

Do you edit while you shop? What are some of your tips.

  • Tell Your Friends

I’m getting a little older, so Urban Outfitters isn’t one of my go-to stores these days, but every so often something pretty will catch my eye and put it back on my radar. Like these cherry blossom curtain tie-backs.

cherry blossom tie back

The curly brass branches are a striking color, and the white enamel blossoms look so delicate against that glowing backdrop. They’re feminine and fun, and at only $14(!) each, you really can’t go wrong. Just promise me you’ll leave the ironic tees to the 25 and under set, yes?

  • Tell Your Friends

It has been said many times that patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, neither patience nor virtue can be bought in stores. If you have it, then you should put it to good use when thrifting.

design star thrifting

HGTV Design Star contestant Mark Diaz thrift shopping.

Thrift stores in general don’t have an overstock of items, that once gone are replenished. The inventory is updated as often as things are brought onto the floor. A moment of patience can change your life in a thrift store.

Many people go into a thrift store and see nothing they want in the first five minutes and say, “There’s nothing here for me.” However, the moment they leave could very well be the moment the exact item they desire comes from the back room.

True story: I was shopping for a client’s room and was about to walk out the door. As I walked down one aisle, I saw an easel. This easel had not been there while I was shopping moments earlier. I immediately inquired and bought it.

Another true story: I was again shopping for a client and saw a mirror that had just come onto the floor. I told one of my assistants to inquire about a price. Unfortunately they didn’t. It was already sold by the time I could ask for the price myself; just that quick.

It’s not a race to see who can snag the best deal, it’s about being patient and not being in such a rush to leave. There is no set time when inventory is brought out. There is no planogram for the new and incoming items.

If you are leisurely shopping, I say giver yourself an hour to just watch the store. See if the associates are bringing anything out. I am not by any means suggesting you stay there all day (although I know some people who do spend that long). I am simply encouraging you to be available to what may be “The Find” for you.

So tell me. Do you leave a thrift store if you don’t see anything that catches your eye upon arrival?

  • Tell Your Friends

I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of the C. Wonder store in Manhattan yesterday, and though my boyfriend would probably joke that the “C” stood for crowded, it’s likely a nod to the mastermind behind the brand, Chris Burch, the former husband of fashion designer Tory Burch. The store’s wares definitely have that similar peppy, preppy vibe to them, but in addition to the fashion offerings you’d expect, there were lots of colorful home goodies to be had, too.

c wonder opening

I especially loved all the dish sets, but in the end I walked out with a few cool decorative trays, a tortoise shell bowl, and some classic stud earrings (I couldn’t resist). Don’t worry if you aren’t close to the SoHo location — Curbed is reporting that the brand will open more stores in the tri-state area by year’s end, and have its e-commerce up and running in a few weeks. Then you can see wonder for yourself. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that either.)

  • Tell Your Friends

When most people consider thrift stores they often think of used items. But sometimes a major thrift store will collaborate with a major department store, offering many of the same items. So the question is, should you buy a new item from a thrift store? Well….

When a thrift store in my area had its grand opening, I went. When I walked in the store was like a rock concert, people everywhere. I had no intention of buying anything until I spotted a box of cherry-wood suit hangers.

Wooden Hangers

I really needed some good-quality hangers and these were less than half of what they would be in the department store. And they had two boxes of them in the thrift store. Even better, the store is still stocking the same hangers!

Thrifting: When Not to Buy

Rule #1: Buy a new item in a thrift store is when the price is significantly less that what it would be in a department store.

Just because an item is brand new in a thrift store, doesn’t mean it’s currently being sold in regular retail store. It can simply mean someone donated a product that has never been used and still in the box.

Cari Cucksey’s Flea Market Shopping Tips (video)

For example, I picked up these Ralph Lauren sterling silver wine chillers earlier this year.

Ralph Lauren wine chillers

The $135 price tag from the original store was still on them. I knew I’d use them for years to come so I bought them.

Rule #2: If the item is brand new but not currently in circulation, and the price is right, buy it.


Emily Henderson: Round-Up From the Round Top Antiques Fair

What happens if you see an item in the thrift store, but you also know regular stores carry it? While it is good to patronize thrift stores that have a good mission to donate and give back, don’t pay more for an item that you can find elsewhere cheaper. For example, purchase small items like batteries or pencils from a traditional retail store.

Rule #3: Don’t check your price-checking skills at the door. Buy only the real bargains.

Do keep in mind that thrift stores return policies do vary.

So have you purchased a brand new item from a thrift store? What was it?

  • Tell Your Friends

You’ve been there. You see an item in a thrift store and immediately think, “Ooh, I’ve got to have this!” When in reality You may not even need it. My small condo is filled with things I should have left behind.

Today I’ll help nudge you past the items you should leave for the next bargain shopper.

Tips on Negotiating at Thrift Stores

I’m the first to admit that if a see a certain label or a stamp that says “Made in…”, I’m intrigued and want to buy it. However, the place where a piece of furniture, garment or tchotchke is made should not be the major reason you buy it. I’ll admit, certain items automatically exude quality or exclusivity, such as this tissue box, which was stamped “Made in Italy.”

I didn’t need it. Yet I bought it because, well, it said “Made in Italy.”

So you’ve got a garage full of I-will-paint-that-soon projects? That means the vintage Heritage sideboard for $60 may not be a wise purchase. I know it’s tempting to buy all of the amazing finds that are reasonably priced. However, to keep from being on the next episode of Hoarders, only buy pieces of furniture you need and that you can use immediately.

How to Find the Best Thrift Stores

Walk on by that complete plushy mattress set in the furniture section. Regardless of the low price, mattresses are not items I would suggest buying from a thrift or secondhand store.

One of the best feelings in the world is to walk into a thrift store and spy the perfect piece to complete a room. But this is only a good thing if you’re not driving a two-door sports car. Is it really a bargain if you have to rent a utility vehicle to get it home?

And don’t even consider buying it if you’re traveling. When the cost to transport an item significantly outweighs the cost of the actual item, leave it in the store.

Don’t worry, though. Something better always comes along. It’s the magic of thrifting!

So tell me, when do you leave something in the store?

  • Tell Your Friends

Negotiating. It’s the moment you either love or dread. For you newbies and dreaders, here are a few tips on how to negotiate while shopping thrift or visiting a yard sale.

The first rule is always be pleasant. It seems obvious, but if you’re kind and courteous to the sales associates at a thrift store, they’re more likely to remember you. After you’ve flashed that great smile and put on a little charm, it’s time to starting dealing. It’s important to note that every store has its own policy regarding discounts, so don’t expect the store to bend its policy just for you.

How to Find the Best Thrift Stores

Here’s a story. I was in a well-known chain thrift store. I saw 10 cups that were individually priced, but priced rather high. I asked the sales associate if the sticker price was the best price. She informed me that the prices were fixed and could not be changed. My next step was to ask for the manager.

silver cups from thrift store

Look at my find! Gorgeous silver cups.

When the manager came out I started talking about how amazing the product was. I slowly leaned in and made a proposition: “What is the best deal I can get if I buy all of them?” She gave them to me for half price. Which was great. Especially seeing that the associate had previously told me a deal could not be made.

design-happens-thrifting-bed

Another great find.

If you are visiting a yard sale, I would encourage you to have a firm price in mind when looking at a piece. For example, if you know you won’t pay more than $500 for a bed, offer $300. Perhaps they will come in at $400. If that’s the case then you technically saved $100. The worst case scenario is that they say no.

Better Life Through Thrifting

Finally, bring an internet-ready device. Many times thrift store associates are not familiar with the value of an item and may often overprice it.

Use your mobile device to send pictures to friends and get their opinion if you aren’t sure what to pay. Visit auction sites like eBay to see what the going rate is. Typing in key words on major search engines may offer valuable information as well.

Keep in mind that all of these are just tips and are not fool-proof. You can be pleasant, speak with the manager and even start off with a great offer, and still get a plain-Jane no. Don’t fret. You tried. If you really want it, buy it. If it costs too much, leave it. Something else is bound to come along.

  • Tell Your Friends

So you think you want to thrift but you just haven’t found the inspiration. Let me tell you why I love it!

Thrifting is an affordable way to find unique home decor and clothing. For example, I started thrifting as a means of finding clothes that none of my friends had, at a price that didn’t break the bank.

Design Happens: What We Love About Rashon

Design styles recycle themselves so you can find things that were once old, but are now new.

Don Draper's Office, The Mid-Century ModernistDon Draper’s Office, The Mid-Century Modernist

If you visit a few church swap meets, I’m sure you’ll find authentic pieces of furniture or accessories that inspired the Mad Men phenomena. You may even get a great story to go along with your treasure!

Repurposed Design: Repurposed and Recycled Decorating Projects

Thrifting is also eco-friendly. When you buy a used chair at a garage sale, you’re keeping it out of the landfill and reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, you can repurpose lots of things you find. How about turning a salvaged sink into a bird bath? While helping to save the environment you can get some stylish pieces – could there be anything better?

So…go in search of that perfect mirror, headboard or sofa. And be sure to tell us what you find.

What are you waiting for…the weekend is almost here!

  • Tell Your Friends

Say hi to our newest blogger, Rashon Carraway, aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting. If you love rummaging through thrift stores for the perfect design find, you’ll love Rashon’s weekly posts, all about thrifting. They’ll run every Friday starting tomorrow. And if you haven’t made his acquaintance yet, here’s a little about him.
Rashon Carraway, Mr. Goodwill HuntingRashon began blogging under the alias Mr. Goodwill Hunting in 2009 as a way of sharing his love of thrifting with the world. Although a renter, Rashon felt the need to personalize his space without spending a lot of money. As his blog audience grew, he began to open up more about his decorating process, sharing his fantastic finds along the way.

HGTV Blog of the Month: Thrifting With Mr. Goodwill Hunting

In January 2011, Rashon made a guest appearance on the Nate Berkus and was invited back several times during the season. He became a regular guest during season two.

He owns a lifestyle firm, Rashon Carraway Designs, that seeks to help individuals live their best life through thrifting. He is also a wardrobe consultant and event planner.

In the summer of 2011 Rashon created I Love Thrifting Day bringing people together from all over the country to shop and the spread the word about his favorite topic.

  • Tell Your Friends

This past Saturday, HGTV staffers hosted an “I <3 Thrifting” party. While Mr. Goodwill Hunting traversed Charlotte, NC, in search of deals, we stormed thrift stores in our HQ city of Knoxville, Tenn.

I-Love-Thrifting-HGTV-Staff

HGTV Staff (L to R): Jen Moore, Karli Cook, Kelley Walters, Jennifer Leitman, Anne Wilkerson, Kayla Kitts, Nancy Harless

While I only came out with an 80s-style purple skirt and red belt, others hit the jackpot and found antique plates, cupcake stands, vintage fans and kitschy decor. Check out some of our finds:

I-Love-Thrifting-Thrift-Store-HGTV-DesignHappens

The West Knoxville team loaded up with goodies at Nostalgia, a local "vintique" market.

Anna joined designer/bloggers Dayka Robinson, of Life + Style, and Erika Ward, of Blulabel Bungalow, in Atlanta for some thrifting fun. (Erika scored the mod lampshades.) While Anna was on the hunt for dining room chairs for this DIY project, she ended up with a rake, a small brass chicken and a vintage Good Housekeeping tin waste can like this.

I-Love-Thrifting-Atlanta-HGTV-DesignHappens

Anna Millman (second from right) thrifting at Goodwill and My Favorite Place in Atlanta.

Did you participate in “I <3 Thrifting” Day? What city were you in? What amazing thrifty finds did you come out with? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Tell Your Friends

Is everyone geared up for “I <3 Thrifting” Day this Saturday, July 9? Rashon’s expanding list of host cities includes Knoxville. If you haven’t heard, HGTV.com staffers are hosting the Knoxville “I <3 Thrifting” event. Other thrifting party cities are Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Houston, Phoenix, Austin, Philadelphia, Denver, LA, DC, Birmingham, Roanoke, Atlanta, Charleston, SC; Portland, OR; Toledo, OH; Raleigh, NC; Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC.

I-Love-Thrifting-Day-HGTV-DesignHappens

For all the Knoxvillians, we’ve picked our destinations for Saturday. HGTV staffers are splitting into two groups — one’s hitting West Knoxville thrift stores and the other is scouring the racks at shops in Downtown/North Knoxville. Call it a bit of friendly competition. If you’re looking to join us, here’s an idea of where we’ll be:

9AM Breakfast at Panera Bread (4855 Kingston Pike – across from Kroger)

Then splitting off to thrift:

West Knoxville Group

  • KARM Bearden (5917 Kingston Pike)
  • Goodwill Bearden (5307 Kingston Pike)
  • Nostalgia (5214 Homberg Drive)

Downtown/North Knoxville Group

  • Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store (2209 North Central Street)
  • Ladies of Charity (120 W. Baxter Avenue)
  • KARM (733 N. Hall of Fame Drive)
  • Salvation Army (409 N. Broadway Street)
  • Hot Horse (108 E. Jackson Avenue)
  • Goodwill On Campus/17th Street (713 17th Street)

If you want to join up with us later in the morning, we’ll be tweeting at every location using the Twitter hashtag #ilovethrifting.

  • Tell Your Friends

Last month we introduced you to Mr. Goodwill Hunting (aka Rashon Carraway) in our Blogger of the Month feature. While chatting about his blog and awesome thrifting skills, Rashon tipped me off that Saturday, July 9th is “I Love Thrifting” Day. So what is I <3 Thrifting Day? Rashon says, “I’m encouraging all my followers and others to join in and descend upon thrift stores to show a solid front.” Together designers and style-conscious folks in the online community can bring attention to the importance of repurposed design and their love of thrifting.

I-Love-Thrifting-Day-Rashon-Carraway-HGTV-DesignHappens

With several avid thrifters and fans of Mr. Goodwill Hunting on staff, we knew we couldn’t pass this event up. So, the HGTV Design Happens team has decided to host an I <3 Thrifting event in the city where we are based—Knoxville, Tenn.! So, if your close by, come and join us! We’d love to meet you. Check back for more details on where and when.

Or you can go thrifting with the designers hosting thrifting in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Roanoke, Va., Columbia, S.C., Charlotte, N.C. and Toledo, Ohio. Plus, continue to check Rashon’s blog and Facebook page for host updates in your city. Even if there’s not an official host near you, you can communicate with those participating in the event by using the Twitter hashtag #ilovethrifting to find interested folks in your community that may want to meet up and shop!

And don’t forget to order an I <3 Thrifting t-shirt to proudly wear around your city. (I’m getting the pink one!)

What are your I <3 Thrifting plans for July 9?

Tell us in the comments below.

  • Tell Your Friends

For those of you who struggle until the last minute with what to get Dad for Father’s Day, I’ve finally figured out that it’s all in the card and a handmade present. Craft him something he’ll love and use for years; then pour your heart out in the card. So, for all you procrastinators, HGTV’s here to help!

Fathers-Day-Gift-Card-Ideas-HGTV-DesignHappens

If your dad appreciates handmade gifts (and wine or billiards,) here’s an easy craft project for turning everyday objects into bottle stoppers that can be finished in less than an hour. (My father’s hobbies are fly fishing, camping and hiking, so I’m not sure what I should attach to the cork? Let me know if you have any suggestions.) Now don’t forget the card! A few weeks ago, Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio shared one-of-a-kind printable Father’s Day cards. Download and print out your favorite design for free to include with your present.

From everyone here at HGTV’s Design Happens, Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies out there!

And let us know, sons, daughters and proud papas, did the gift and card go over well?

Tell us in the comments below.

  • Tell Your Friends

While I totally think the world of my father and his slightly-off sense of humor, I absolutely loathe buying gifts for the man. And as I creep into mid-thirtysomething territory at warp speed, I start to think of what exactly I’d want if/when I have rugrats of my own. Sure, I work in the design industry, so it’s pretty much a sure thing I’m gonna want something decorative, personal and meant for my home; however, there’s a fine line between classic masculine and cliche dude styles. Beer steins and pool tables? No. Pinstripes and Milo Baughman-esque finishes? Oh, why yes, yes indeed, that sounds remarkably wonderful. If you’re struggling, trying to think of timeless home-related gifts for Dad, check out some of these great finds available online or through showrooms. Then, after that, toss those beer can koozies in the trash or set them on fire. Happy Father’s Day!

Boxsal Boombox and Boxsal Briefcase

If you ever thought picnics and Big Daddy mixed together just sounded kinda wrong, think again. Boxsal creates eco-conscious, disposable picnic sets that rock, literally. One of them, Urban Picnic, is a cardboard replica of an old-school boombox. The other, Office Escape, is a cardboard version of a classic leather briefcase. Both open up to reveal components essential to enjoying delicious bites outdoors.

Scotland Throw

Buck the velvet artwork of dogs playing poker and instead consider wrapping Dad in something classic. The Scotland Forever Throw available through Amazon.com is something that will keep any father warm and snugly as well as timelessly cool at the same time. Made of lambswool, it’s available in several colors and retails for $105.

READ MORE

  • Tell Your Friends

Okay, before we dive into the stunning interior design work and jaw-dropping thrifting skills of Mr. Goodwill Hunting (aka Rashon Carraway), I have to comment on his killer wardrobe.

Mr-Goodwill-Hunting-Rashon-Carraway-HGTV-DesignHappens

So sophisticated! So suave! (And handsome, too, yes?) Rashon told me, “My dress definitely influences my interior design style. I believe most people can have a comfortable space if they create a home that directly resembles their wardrobe.” Let’s take a look at his living room, shall we?

Mr-Goodwill-Hunting-Rashon-Carraway-Living-Room-HGTV-DesignHappens

One of my favorite aspects of the blog Mr. Goodwill Hunting is that Rashon not only shares the treasures he finds for his clients, he also shares decor updates and design ideas from his own home. His love of interior design and repurposed decor is instantly evident in his living room. What a stunning space. What was once an outdated, striped sofa, Rashon reupholstered for a fresh, contemporary look. And while Rashon says his living room is “in process”, I think it looks magnificent as is.
More on Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  • Tell Your Friends

Is one of your rooms in desperate need of an accessories makeover? Say goodbye to naked walls, empty shelves and outdated decor by uploading pictures or videos of your accessory-starved space for the chance to win up to $500 in brand new home decor from Etsy.com. And this month, designer Claire Watkins is going to make over one lucky person’s room from the entries received. So don’t wait any longer! Show HGTV just how much your space needs a helping hand and you could win.

Dress-Up-Your-Design-$500-Etsy-Accessories-Giveaway-HGTV-DesignHappens

Now, back to the question. What home accessories would you buy with $500? Personally, my living room is feeling a little tired, so here are my top five accessory picks/needs. Share yours, too!

Kayla’s Living Room Accessory Wish List:

1. A sleek and stylish area rug to make the living room feel more cozy

2. Matching frames and new artwork to give my photo wall a more balanced and cohesive look

3. Brand new accent and throw pillows that haven’t lost their form

4. An eye-catching floor lamp to illuminate the entire room

5. Antique and vintage knickknacks to liven up my bookshelves

Remember, upload pictures or videos of your accessory-starved space for the chance to win up to $500 in home decor from Etsy.com.

  • Tell Your Friends

As a decorator, I admit to being a major fabric snob, and when I say snob, I mean addict. For years, I’ve enabled my high-end fabric addiction by shopping solely at to-the-trade-only showrooms which non-professional decorators or designers can’t get into. Since this is all part of how I make my living, there’s no need for a 12 Step Program even though my reasoning is somewhat out of whack. I’d rather spend $12 on a chair, then use a $50 per yard fabric to recover its seat cushion than the other way around.

My to-the-trade-only situation recently changed—thanks to my amazing project manager, Dayka. She brought me to a magical place where everyone is welcome to purchase designer fabrics without enormous designer price tags, Calico Corners. Of all their offerings, I fell in love mostly with those from Thom Filicia and Iman. While I go pick up custom pillows and tableskirts made from them, you go scroll down and take a look-sie.

Iman Punkab Peacock Fabric

Iman’s “Punjab Peacock” is $39.19 per yard shown in Radicchio.

Check Out More Budget-Chic Fabrics

  • Tell Your Friends

Can cookware and utensils serve as the center of style in your kitchen? Yes, with help from celebrity-chef Rachel Ray. Rachael’s line of cooking tools pulls double duty — as sanity-saving gadgets and as gorgeous pieces you’d won’t need to shove in the cabinet as soon as the doorbell rings. (We’re looking at you rusty, dented cookie sheet.)

Rachael Ray Products

We’ve partnered with the Food Network Store to bring Rachael’s super-smart (and super-stylish) kitchenware to Freebie Fridays. We’re giving away two of the most-wanted Rachael Ray products. First, there’s her Chocolate Casseroval (4.25 qt.), perfect for serving yummy goodness right out of the dish. (Breakfast casserole, tater tot casserole, chicken casserole, tuna casserole — well, maybe not tuna casserole.) It’s accompanied by one of Rachel’s Blue Stripe Moppine Oven Mitts, an uber-absorbent mitt/kitchen towel combo. Cool, yes? Answer this week’s question before 12/11c Monday, February 28, for a chance to win this stylish duo.

This week’s question: What’s the handiest, good-looking kitchen gadget you’ve ever owned?

Click for official rules.

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->

  • Modern Tribeca Loft Tour -->