8 Tips for Buying Home Decor Accessories

When we shared this survey and asked you guys about topics you would like to read on the DIY Playbook, we had a few themes pop up over and over again. One of those topics that many of you noted was a post about how we shop for home decor accessories.

Our tips & tricks are not necessarily hard and fast rules, but we’re still happy to share what we know so that our fellow rookies trying to recreate a look they love (ya know… like that perfectly styled shelfie on Pinterest!!) can knock it out of the park with confidence. We promise shopping for home decor accessories is NOT as daunting (or as calculated) as it may seem. Here are the tips & tricks we keep in mind when looking for the perfect items to sprinkle around our shelves and spaces.

Tips to Shop for Home Decorbuilt_in_shelves_Spring

1. Know your size limits: The very FIRST thing we do when identifying what accessories to buy for a specific space is to measure the space’s limits. If it’s a shelf, we see how tall the accessory can be and identify an approximate width size too. We then usually write down these measurements on a little piece of paper (or keep it in the notes of our phone) and ALWAYS carry that sheet around with us when we’re out shopping (we usually have a tape measure in our purse too). That way, we don’t make the mistake of buying something too tall or too wide, something that can’t even fit onto the shelf <<– been there, done that.

Maggie Built in Shelves plant decor2. Identify VERY loose guidelines: After identifying the sizes, we then note VERY loose guidelines on what we’re looking for. These notes usually include if we’re looking for a few tall items, maybe if we’re looking for (blank) number of short/wide/colorful/neutral items, maybe a few colors that we hope to include, etc. These loose guidelines make the hunt a little less overwhelming, but we do want to stress that we never make a list of EXACT items we’re looking for because that makes the hunt a lot more challenging and WAY more frustrating. Plus, if we know one exact item we want, we usually search online and buy it rather than searching for it at stores like Target, HomeGoods, etc.

maggie reveal coffee table flowers3. Don’t break the bank: We rarely ever splurge on an expensive home decor accessories because we’re usually confident we can find things we love that are affordable. We usually shop at affordable places like HomeGoods and Target but we have a lot of luck (and love the one-of-a-kind/old school options) at Goodwill or local thrift stores and garage sales.

08-pineapple-anthropologie-pens-desk4. Choose items that are meaningful or tell a story: We love a perfectly styled shelf but we REALLY love a perfectly styled shelf that tells a story about the homeowner. Try to incorporate items into your home decor that are important to your story, your travels, the important people in your life, etc. (Like Casey’s little turtle memento from her honeymoon!)

entryway diy gold shelf

5. Shop your home: Before you shop, look around your house and try to use items you already have. So many times we re-work items from around our house into new places in our home and instantly have a newfound love for these old pieces. Try to use what you have before buying new.

office_progress_wayfair_furniture-shelfie6. Alternate heights: This tip is more for after you buy your items and start styling, but we thought it may be helpful to know this info when you’re out shopping/searching for those new things. One of the most important styling tips we use is incorporating pieces with a variety of heights to add visual interest and depth. While you’re out shopping keep this in mind. Layering tall things with medium sized things with short things is important… so try to buy items of all sizes and shapes <– frames included! The more diverse in height/shape/texture/even color (to an extent) the better.

Built In boxes organization family room7. Add books: As far as we’re concerned, books are always an important component to a styled space. If you’re a big reader and have a library of books, shop your home and you’re already set! If you don’t collect books that often, check out Goodwill or even your local Library for affordable, hard-covered books. When you’re picking your books out, look for titles that may help “tell your story” or for spine colors that work with your room. <– some people think we’re crazy for buying books by color and not content, we’re not denying their allegations. 😉

Fall Home Tour Coffee Table8. Only buy what you LOVE: And last but VERY not least, only buy what you are absolutely OBSESSED with and don’t ever just buy to buy… especially when you’re feeling desperate to get the job done soon. Hold off and wait for things you absolutely love to ensure you’ll love them (and love your space) months or even years from now. Don’t put a deadline on getting these items for your new space, finding items that fit the bill is a process and will not happen overnight…. and that’s okay (and very normal)!!

We actually wrote an entire post to help you shop with intention and avoid design regret. So before you head to the store, be sure to read this post. And if HomeGoods is a favorite of yours (like it is ours!) definitely read our tips to shop at HomeGoods!

In short, here’s our advice for buying YOUR perfect home decor accessories:

  • Measure
  • Jot down loose guidelines
  • Don’t overspend
  • Allow your space to tell your story
  • Shop your home… you may be surprised at what you find
  • Tall + Medium + Short = winning combo #Mix&Match
  • Books are always a good idea
  • Buy ONLY what you l-o-v-e …. no exceptions!how to buy home decor accessories

And once you have those gorgeous new items of yours, be sure to reference our guide to styling the perfect shelf.

Bridget and Casey Signature

  • Great guidelines! And only buying what you love…SO HARD sometimes but always worth it in the end!

  • Tobias Armstrong

    These are some fantastic ideas when it comes to home decor. I always appreciate height differences when it comes to items on shelves and such, but I hadn’t really thought much about specific sizes. And I certainly hadn’t thought about adding books as part of the decor. I love the tips though, and am excited to try them in my own space. Thanks for sharing! http://www.maamsmegamall.com/np1-listing-dept-36000

  • David Hawkins

    Adding books is a great way to add some flavor to your home. I know that I already have some shelves, but they do look really bare and boring right now. I’ll have to decorate with some books that reflect my personality and tastes later. Thanks for the great tips and info!

    • Thank YOU for stopping by! We’re glad we could help =)

  • Love these tips, thanks so much for sharing Joie!! =)

  • all the accessories are beautifully used, its just it is not always possible to keep them same way. needs daily maintenance.

    • Yes, dusting te accessories is not always fun! =/

  • Charles Kemp

    Thank you for the tips on home decor. I don’t think if we knew our size limits that we would have a lot of decoration because it would probably be too big for our small apartment. There are a few home decor websites that you can look at that have all different sizes of decor which is nice when you don’t have a lot of space. http://www.hiddenhilltreasures.com/default.asp

  • Justin Knox

    Thank you for the help. My wife and I are looking to buy some new home decor soon. I love your idea of going with alternate heights, as you suggested. What is the best way to plan out the different heights? http://www.yourspecialtygiftshops.com/

  • Kara Christiansen

    LOVE this minus the fact that one of the 8 tips is to not break the bank
    and then the suggested decor items linked include an $85 tiny “home
    sweet home” banner and $54 Kate Spade cardboard boxes…

    article otherwise though. I always tend to want to go out and buy enough
    decor items to fill an entire apartment instead of collecting
    meaningful things over time, which causes for a lot less sentimental

  • Lillian Schaeffer

    These are some great tips, and as simple as it is, I appreciate your advice to know your size limits when buying decorations. My husband and I just finished remodeling our living room, and I’m excited to start from scratch and decorate it. I’ll definitely make sure I know how much space the new shelves have so I don’t buy something too big. Thanks for the great post! http://www.divinegiftcottage.com/Mobile/productList/list-45000

    • Thanks Lillian!! Starting from scratch sounds amazing but a little intimidating all at the same time!! =) Good luck!

  • Elsa Anderson

    I have a really bad habit of buying to many decorations online, but I love decorating my home! I love your suggestion of choosing items that are meaningful or tell a story. I want to start using a theme throughout my entire home, so finding decor items that fall into my theme and can stay up all year round will be a great addition. http://www.jbkatz.net/np1-listing-dept-36000

  • Ronny Howard

    I am planning to get some home decor accessories for my mother this Christmas and want to make sure I choose something she will love. It sounds like I should probably know her size limits a little bit better. That makes sense! She has a couple of shelf’s she is wanting to fill so I will need to make sure that they will be small enough to fin in them. http://www.jonnas4u.com/np1-listing-dept-45000

  • Johnny McCarron

    I like your advice to know the size limits. The last thing you want to do is buy a bunch of stuff that doesn’t quite fit in your house. You want to be sure that you are doing what you can have an organized home, and that means going small sometimes. Do you have any other tips about finding good home decor? http://www.jnlgiftgallery.com/np1-listing-dept-36000

  • Alex Dean

    Since we built me a new home office, I have been trying to figure out how I would like to have it decorated. I am open to any suggestions that might be out there. I like the suggestion you made about choosing things that tell my story, like the places I’ve been, and what’s important in my life. That is such a good idea since it is a room that is all about me. Thanks for the ideas! http://www.ceecspecial.com/Mobile/productList/list-45000-Home-Decor-Accents

    • Aww, thanks for stopping by! We hope this post helped! =)

  • Amanda Drew

    I like how you say to have loose guidelines for what you want in your house and that these guidelines are things like the colors you want, how many items you want, and things like that. The search would definitely be easier with something already in mind. My husband and I just moved into our first home, so that means that I get to decorate it however I want. Your tips will really help me make my spot classy and will really help me shop for decor one I do find somewhere to get it online. http://www.snjgiftmarketing.com/

  • Rugs and beyond

    Home decoration accessories are very important if you want to decorate the home like a PRO. Few small Things can add some amazing charm to your overall home decoration. So try to add those things in your decoration and give an amazing touch to your overall home decoration. Such as you can Shop Area Rugs online which is very important for floor decoration. By the way thanks for giving such great ideas to decorate the home.

  • Sandra Hexner

    Thanks for the great advice to be able to design my home with purpose. I love shopping online for home decor, but I need some guidance on how making everything go together. You make a great point that I need to compare the space with the items I’m looking at to be sure it’s the right fit to avoid crowding or too much open space. http://www.panddvariety.com/decor.html

    • Thanks so much, Sandra! We are glad these tips could help. =)