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 Decor
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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!)
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.
6. 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.
7. 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. 😉
8. 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!
How to Shop for Home Decor Accessories
In short, here’s our advice for buying YOUR perfect home decor accessories:
- 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!
And once you have those gorgeous new items of yours, be sure to reference our guide to styling the perfect shelf.