Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Okay, I get flack sometimes when peeps see my Pottery Barn catalogs... friends, listen. I can't afford them either! But let me tell you, those catalogs serve an important purpose for me. They are a starting point. You look at them and see how they arrange things. How they layer rugs, furniture, lighting, accessories... and yes, inevitably, you will see something in them that says "You know you want me." And you will think you won't be able to fight it. But, you have options. That's when you let that image be burned into your mind. Embrace it. Cut it out and keep it somewhere. Now arm yourself with some patience, and some perseverance.

I am convinced that there are designers working for Target, WalMart, Ikea and others, who's sole purpose is to see what's hot and knock it off. Or at least their designers take a freebie and slip in a knock off now and then, that they know will sell like hotcakes. You just have to hunt them down and take them for your own.

Here are some examples... Enter Pottery Barn Holman Ledges.

They start at $35 for the 2' version (also available in 3' and 4') and come in a brown and black. That's decent for PB, if you ask me, but is there a better deal out there?

It's late, I'm lazy and I have PB and Ikea catalogs in front of me, so...

They come in 21", 45" and 72" lengths and black or white. They start at $9.99, folks! On the small size that is a savings of $25 - on one ledge! That works for me! In fact, I put one next to Mark's bed for a quick, cheap and easy night stand alternative to hold some books.

Let's see what else I can find...

See the one on the top left? It holds a 4"x4" photo. It is $20 regular price (on sale now for $16).

I know lots of stores have this style frame, but I'll go with Ikea's Ribba Frames.

They come in black, white, or brown and various sizes. The one that holds about a 4"x4" photo shown above is $9.99. That's half price! See? This is easy.

How about these Natural Fiber Rugs from Pottery Barn?

OR, how about these Egeby rugs from Ikea?
Both PB and Ikea's versions are sisal, trimmed in cotton and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Let's compare prices.

The PB versions: 5'x8' on sale for $249, or 8'x10' on sale right now for $449.
OR, the Ikea versions (closest in size): 5'5"x6'5" for $99.99, or 6'7"x9'10" for $149.00.

That's a savings of $149 on the small size, or $300 on the larger size! I'll take Ikea's any day of the week, ladies!

Let's move on to bigger pieces...

Here is PB's Farmhouse Dresser.

Here is Ikea's Hemnes Dresser.

Now, I know you all will argue and say PB is better quality. In this specific example, it is. Ikea's main construction is solid pine (a softer wood), while some of the construction of their drawers include the thin press board. PB's is solid mahogany, and I haven't seen their drawers. But, I will say, I recently used PB's Bedford desk in the MIL's office, and it is pure MDF and chips very easy, so the quality isn't always so much better with the high-end stores. Plus, if you are like me, you can't afford the PB version anyway. So if you are going to have to settle for something cheaper, you may as well get a knock off with the same look as you were dreaming of, right? I'm okay with that.

One more. Here's PB's Flat Braided Jute Rug.

Now, here's Ikea's Tarnby flat woven rug.
Sure, Ikea's version is missing some of the detail and maybe a tad less chunky, but is that detail worth $300 to you? I can live without it to save $300.

The point is, if you can afford the high-end stuff, that's great. If you can't, there are still ways to get that look you want for less. The first thing I recommend is to sign up to receive the catalog of the store you can't afford. Get to know them. Get to know what you love. Then start looking for it in the world that contains your price range, whatever that is.

Some of my high-end faves are Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrell and Williams & Sonoma.
Some of the places I look for knock-offs are Ikea, Target, JC Penney and WalMart.

Go find knock-offs!

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