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where to get cool home stuff on the cheap
by Yee-Fan Sun |1 2 3

Yes, as the ubiquity of IKEA and Target goods in your average twentysomething home proves, even the most decorating impaired of us knows that those two megastores offer an easy source for cool-looking, affordable stuff for one’s pad. But sometimes, despite a thorough perusal of all the offerings, the usual budget decorating suspects fail to yield that special whatever that you’re looking for to deck out your digs. Or maybe, just maybe, you start to realize there’s something a little boring about having the exact same Poang chair and nouveau-mod designer-line Target bed linens as all your friends. Whichever the case, at times like these, you find yourself ready to venture off the tried-and-true decorating paths to look for something a little more unique for your digs. But where’s a clueless newbie decorator to go? Here are some good places to check out as you begin your hunt for fab home stuff that won’t sink you into credit card debt hell…

new stuff…

chinatown/ethnic markets
If you happen to live in a relatively urban environment, or anywhere that there’s a substantial enough immigrant community to support them, ethnic markets and shops can offer all sorts of unusual décor items for your home – and generally at a very affordable price. You can find a lot of the same style of home goods that big chains like Pier One and Costplus World Market carry, at a much better deal, and in a way cooler shopping setting to boot.

Best for finding | Decorative accents for your pad that have a funky global flair, like throw pillows, candles, and more; exotic fabrics for your DIY needs; pretty bowls, platters and other tableware to dress up your dinner table; cheap wicker and rattan baskets for organizing your goods; inexpensive cookware

dollar stores
Yes, they’re generally tacky as all get-out, but take the time to rummage through your local dollar store and you just might be surprised at some of the great stuff you’ll turn up from amidst the dreck. Do, however, make sure to inspect anything thoroughly before you buy, as workmanship can indeed be shoddy; also, it pays to have a rough sense how much said item might cost you at places like Target and Walmart, to make sure you’re genuinely getting a deal.

Best for finding | Simple, cheap dinnerware; candles, picture frames, lampshades, and other small decorative accents; kitschy knick-knacks for your themed decorating needs; holiday décor (and remember, string lights make for lovely party lighting all year-round). Dollar stores are also good sources for plastic containers and bins to get all that junk currently floating around in your cabinets and closets all nice and tidy.

follow along this way kids!

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