When decorating your house, half the battle is knowing where to shop. I can't tell you how many clients I have who have great taste, but just lack the knowledge of where to go buy the things they see in their head.
Despite the popular belief that all designers shop at the Mart, ADAC, or only order straight from the vendor for their clients, I am here to tell you that a lot of items are not sourced this way. In order to purchase this way, designers must meet a price tier of minimums, shipping costs and storage fees.
For the designers who run a smaller business or have clients with smaller budgets, retail actually is more cost effective for both parties. So I am here to tell you where to get the goods, for the best price and the best designer look.
A lot of people don't know it, but this little gem is actually an entity of The Home Depot. Having backing by one of the largest companies in the US gives them the ability to order a lot of stock and extend great prices to the customer. Their regular sale rotation and free shipping deals allow you to jump on or easily wait for a great deal.
This catalogue company does most of their business online, however they do have a showroom off of Northpoint Parkway in Alpharetta as well as a few others around the country. Home Decorators Collection is a great source for the large item portion of your decorating adventure ( i.e. furniture, rugs and lighting, and bath vanities).
Don't be overwhelmed by the thousands of options in rugs, furniture, and lighting. Sometimes the website can be a little confusing, but stick with it because it is totally worth it. For example, the table pictured in this shot is...wait for it... only $310.00! With multiple style options, and deep discounts, it is a no brainer for the stylistically traditional mom and her modern daughter to shop together to decorate their respective homes.
Home Decorators Collection Strengths: Furniture, Rugs, Bath Vanities, Mirrors, Lighting. All Styles
West Elm is my go to for the modern to transitional client. While the store offers many options, there are even more online. In my opinion West Elm is best for pillows, textiles, accessories, lighting and mirrors.
Lighting is also a great value for the look, you can score some really unusual pieces without breaking the bank, with table lamps like this one for only $69.00. Rugs and draperies are also a great way to add some spice to your space from West Elm, especially when you are looking for a world beat or graphic stylistic flair.
The furniture at West Elm, is also very nice, but for the price point, in most cases you are not getting the most bang for your buck. Which leads me to our next place to get a deal... IKEA.
West Elm Strengths: Bedding, Draperies, Rugs, Decor Accessories, Lighting. Style: Modern, Transitional, World Beat
I use Ikea for multiple levels of clients, anywhere from the DIY client who just wants a few a-la-carte selections, to the entirely custom, full service client. Ikea is a great resource for furniture staples, like seating and tables to really affordable draperies and lighting.
Another thing that I hit up Ikea for on a personal level is kitchen wear. Believe it or not, Ikea has great knives and their kitchen organization tools are top notch and extremely affordable. If you are like me and only purchase white dish wear so that when one breaks you don't have to match the set perfectly, Ikea is an endless resource for white dish wear and serving pieces.
IKEA Strengths: Kitchen accessories, basic furniture pieces, inexpensive draperies. Style Modern, Transitional, some Traditional
Last but not least is Ballards. This is a great resource for all things custom (well semi-custom). Not only is their website very user friendly, but the price points are very competitive on custom upholstery and drapery.
My favorite part of using Ballards for upholstered pieces of furniture is how they show very piece online, in a neutral fabric. This way you can really compare the bodies of the sofas and chairs, and then select your fabric. The selection of fabrics is quite robust for furniture and draperies. Its also a plus to notice whats rated indoor and outdoor. A surprising amount of furniture is indoor/outdoor which is a real plus for those who have munchkins running around. All in all Ballards is winning the custom upholstery category for selection and price.
Ballards Strengths: Custom Upholstery and Draperies. Style: Traditional to Transitional, Rustic Chic.
Hope this helps on your next decorating endeavor!