Not to toot my own horn or anything (is that not the strangest expression?), but I have quite the talent for finding the best deals on home decor and furniture.
Most recent example: the pendant light fixtures I bought for our kitchen reno. I originally found them on Pinterest. Once I went down the rabbit hole of finding the source, I arrived at Perigold, where they were selling at $235 per pendant – marked down from the original price of $358!
Now, as beautiful as they were, $600 was a bit much to shell out for two pendants for a flip house. So, I did a little digging and was able to find near-identical ones for half the price. Talk about a score!
Another example: When designing our living room as part of the One Room Challenge nearly four years ago, I fell in love with these beautiful chrome and velvet club chairs from Safavieh. The problem? I wasn’t about to pay $2,200 for two chairs – that’s insane. But you already know how this story ends: I found near-identical chairs for about a quarter of the price (at the time)!
I could give you example after example, but my point is this: Be it a client project or one of our own house renovations, I’ve gone through this scenario hundreds of times and have found so many designer lookalikes (and sometimes even the exact item!) for much less – and I’m about to share my secrets with you.
Don’t ever say that I don’t love you…
No. 1 | Know the Terminology + Get Specific in Your Search.
First things first: Before you can search for something, you have to know what it’s called. Common sense, right?
So, educate yourself on home decor terminology.
Continuing with the previous example, had I simply started searching for pendant light fixtures online, I would’ve had to comb through thousands upon thousands with no guarantee that I’d ever come across the ones I wanted.
So, I had to get specific. I knew that the style was “modern.” I knew that the finish of the pendant was “brass.” I knew that the fixture shape was called a “globe.” These 3 keywords really narrowed down my search. “Modern brass globe kitchen pendant” yields a lot more specific results than “kitchen pendant.” Bottom line: The more specific you can get, the better.
No. 2 | Use Browser Extensions for General Discounts and Promotions.
If you’re more interested in general discounts and promos or are set on purchasing something specific from a specific retailer, then you’ll find browser extensions especially helpful.
There are hundreds of these browser extensions out there, but the one I use is called RetailMeNot Genie. Instead of you spending hours looking for deals, the extension instantly finds and applies coupons as you browse a specific website.
Basically, you’re being paid to shop.
No. 3 | Shop by Image on Retail Websites.
Many home decor and furniture retailers offer their own visual search engines. The push for visual search started when Pinterest introduced its “Visual Search” tool in 2016 (we’ll get to that next), forcing retailers to adopt similar technology in order to remain competitive.
To find this feature, look for a camera icon in the retailer’s search bar, which lets you to snap a photo or upload one from your photo library. Within a matter of seconds, you can browse visually similar items available from that retailer.
No. 4 | Use Pinterest’s “Visual Search” Tool.
This tool is one of my biggest secrets. Any time I’m shopping for something that could be purchased from multiple retailers, I start with a Pinterest search. It works much like the process I described above, with added advantages.
Say I want to find the pendants I came across on Perigold. First, I save the product photo to my phone. Next, I go to the Pinterest search bar and hit the camera icon on the right. Then, I upload the photo I just saved and voila! I have a list of visually similar (if not identical) items offered by various retailers.
The biggest advantage of using Pinterest’s Visual Search tool as opposed to that of a specific retailer is that Pinterest shows you options (and typically its price and whether or not it’s in stock) across multiple retailers, so you can immediately see where the best deals are.
No. 5 | Price Comparison Sites and Apps.
It’s not uncommon to visit multiple sites and compare prices before making a purchase online. Save yourself some time, and use one of the thousands of price-comparing sites available on the Internet. Some of the ones I’m familiar with are Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, and CamelCamelCamel (price comparison platform specifically for Amazon). But again, there are hundreds of others.
No. 6 | Clear Your Cookies Before Shopping.
Want to hear something shocking? Amazon changes its prices about every 10 minutes. Is that insane, or is that insane?!
Not only does the retailer analyze personal data like your previous purchases and shopping patterns, but it also takes into account competitors’ prices, profit margins, inventory and more. It then uses this data to alter the price of each product about 2.5 million times a day.
Airline websites are notorious for this questionable practice. We’ve witnessed it firsthand so many times: The more you keep looking at specific airline tickets, the more the price increases. Then, once you clear your cookies and use incognito mode, the price suddenly drops. Try it and see for yourself!
No. 7 | Join Email Lists.
OK, I get it. No one likes junk mail, but hear me out. Most retailers offer a discount code when you first sign up for their email list. So if you have your eye on something from a specific retailer, check if they have an email list before you make a purchase. You just may score yourself a 10-20 percent discount! What’s more, you’ll be the first to hear about sales. Plus, many retailers randomly send unique promo codes to customers on their email list.
If you’re adamant about your no-junk policy, then just create a separate email account for the email lists you’ve subscribed to.
No. 8 | Buy Coupons on eBay.
If you’re getting ready to buy big-ticket items like appliances or furniture at a specific retailer, check for coupons on eBay first. You can do this with minor purchases, too – I’m just not sure if the effort is really worth the savings.
But say you’re about to spend $3000 on appliances, so you buy a 15% off coupon for $10 on eBay. You just saved $440! The seller will typically send the coupon code via email within minutes after your purchase.
No. 9 | Consider Refurbished Products.
Some retailers offer refurbished, pre-owned and open-box products. In fact, two of my favorite retailers –Wayfair and Amazon – do this, and I’ve scored quite a few deals this way and never had a negative experience.
Don’t let the label scare you; refurbished products have been inspected and tested to work and look like new. Plus, they typically come with a warranty. Keep in mind, though, that some retailers allow you to return refurbished items while others do not. So be sure to familiarize yourself with the return policy beforehand.
In Conclusion: A List of My Favorite Retailers
You already know I’m all about that ‘luxe for less’ mentality. With that in mind, below is a list of retailers I typically browse first. While we’re on the topic of shopping for home decor, check out the “Shop Our House” page for a full source list and links to every item in our home.