I have moved so many times and I had to purchase things for my apartment over and over again. I also love to window shop at a lot of home stores so I have a good sense of what is available and where you can get the best deals. If you’re planning on moving or if you need to restock, below you can find a list of the places that have the most affordable items for furnishing and filling your home. This is not a conclusive/ exhaustive list but it’s mostly places where I’ve noticed the best deals. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments below for other readers to find. I will update this post as much as needed! Ready, set, SHOP!
P.S. There are a lot of repeat stores on this list, but that’s okay because it just means less trips for you! There are also random places that you’d never expect to look for a bargain!
P.P.S. Make sure you make your way down to the bottom to find a list of stores that you should NEVER pay full price and also a few helpful tips for your new home decor journey!
- Baking items to decorate cakes & cupcakes (i.e tassles, little flags, banners, and colored toothpicks) – Target dollar section, dollar store
- Cake decorating sets – IKEA (cookie and cake sets are available or you can buy single items), Michael’s (USE THE WEEKLY COUPON ON MICHAELS.COM TO SAVE $$$)
- Cleaning supplies – jet.com (use a coupon code – new users usually have discounts!), BigLots (brand names included), Walmart
- Cooking utensils – IKEA (cheapest, awesome quality wooden utensils!), HomeGoods (usually has sets that come with a matching container to display and store items)
- Dining table & chairs – IKEA
- Drinking glasses & stemware – HomeGoods, TJ Maxx/ Marshalls, IKEA (cheapest option with prices less than 50 cents for some models but not all stemware are dishwasher safe)
- Kitchen mats – Big lots ($7)
- Knives – Ross (starts at $13 for wooden holder w/ knives)
- Paper towel holder – IKEA for basic, HomeGoods, TJ Maxx/ Marshal
- Pots and pans – HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, AVOID TARGET (the cheaper items at Target have handles that get loose and are the same cost as higher quality brands at HomeGoods & TJ Maxx)
- Plates/ bowls – HomeGoods (sets of 4 also best place for individual brand name sets), IKEA
- Refrigerator magnets – Target dollar section
- Silverware – HomeGoods, TJ Maxx/ Marshalls, IKEA (cheapest option but they WILL rust eventually if they stay wet so be sure to dry them after washing)
- Stainless steel garbage cans – HomeGoods & TJ Maxx (occasionally Ross & Marshall’s too)
- Tupperware – HomeGoods/ TJ Maxx (not always in sets but has more expensive brands like Systema for way less), Target (sets of various sizes ~$20)
LIVING ROOM ITEMS
- Artwork – HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Big Lots (smaller selection), Ross (smaller selection), Walmart
- Candles – TJ Maxx & HomeGoods & Walmart
- Couches – IKEA As Is section = #1 – just make sure to bring a UHAUL or something large enough to carry because their shipping fees are kind of expensive. This section is hit or miss but you can find awesome deals on couches that were floor models, IKEA (main store) = #2 , Craigslist
- Faux plants – HomeGoods (<$100, average is ~$50 for large faux tree)
- Lamps – Home Depot (basic lamp for <$30), Target (has a few <$40 lamps), TJ Maxx, HomeGoods (may not have a set of 2)
- Mirrors – Ross, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, IKEA
- Picture Frames – HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Marshalls (check the clearance aisle too for all 3), IKEA (simple plastic solid color frames are the cheapest)
- Rugs – #1: ROSS (< $100 but may have to stalk for a while to find colors/ patterns you want – stock refreshes regularly), #2 Big Lots (simple rugs, not the softest)
- Shelves – Target (look at room essentials brand for shelves <$20), IKEA (Billy bookcases and KALLAX shelves are ALWAYS on craigslist for MUCH cheaper)
- Side tables – Ross, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods (all 3 have more unique pieces for WAY less), IKEA (basic simple pieces i.e. no tiled, or gold, or artistic/ unique items)
- Throw pillows – Big Lots = cheapest but smaller selection & worse quality (<$10 each), TJ MAXX/ HomeGoods = prettiest/ best quality (~$20 each)
- TV – Best Buy (check out open box items for best deals but make sure items aren’t defective & add geek squad just in case… If it’s more than new then just buy new)
- TV stand – IKEA
- Vases – IKEA, recycle old candles
- Bedroom furniture – IKEA, wayfair.com
- Comforter sets – TJ Maxx, HomeGoods
- Duvet cover/ pillow case sets – basic colors at Ikea starting at $20
- Duvet inserts – IKEA (cheapest, machine washable & lasts a long time)
- Hangers – Walmart (cheapest plastic hangers), TJ Maxx/ HomeGoods (cheapest skinny storage saving velvet hangers), IKEA (cheapest wooden hangers)
- Pillows – Target (has the cheapest options), TJ Maxx/ HomeGoods/ Ross (~$20-25 each for memory foam or down pillows)
- Sheets – Target (room essentials brand), TJ Maxx/ HomeGoods
- Side tables and nightstands – Ross, HomeGoods
- Underbed storage containers – IKEA, Walmart
- Bath mats – TJ Maxx, Ross, HomeGoods, Marshalls
- Shower curtain liners – Target Room Essential brand (cheapest), TJ Maxx/ HomeGoods (better quality but costs a few dollars more)
- Decorative shower curtain hooks – TJ Maxx, HomeGoods
- Shower caddies – TJ Maxx, HomeGoods
- Candles – Bath & Body Works (3 wick candles fill up a room and are very strong, do not buy full price – see below!)
- Faux flowers – Michael’s (with a coupon), IKEA
- Pet supplies – Ross
- Random home decor items – Nordstrom.com clearance section (occasionally can find really cheap random decor items and there’s no minimum free shipping!)
HOME STORES WHERE YOU SHOULD NEVER PAY FULL PRICE!!
- Bath & Body Works – Candles are always going on sale for 2 for $22 & you can add coupons to these sale prices! Wall flowers go on sale too.
- Bed Bath & Beyond – Use the 20% coupons you get in the mail (do not apply to certain brands/ items). Also they NEVER expire!
- HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls – You’re automatically getting a discount buy shopping here but if you fall in love with a defective item and you could live with the defect, ask if you can get a price reduction
- Michael’s – Check online for their coupon/ discount of the week (you can show it on your phone)
RANDOM TIPS FOR AFFORDABLE DECORATING SUCCESS
- IKEA is cheap but don’t buy everything there. You can find similar priced items for better quality at HomeGoods & TJ Maxx & Marshalls. With that being said, IKEA has the cheapest small items in their market place like vases, faux flowers, and other random items, so it’s worth a browse.
- Go to Home Depot/ Lowes and get free paint cards that best match your color scheme & keep them in your wallet/ car/ purse. I find my best deals when I’m not actively searching (especially places at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and Ross) and if you have your decor colors with you then it’s easy to match last minute or spontaneous purchases!
- Be patient! If you have time, go to IKEA first & make note of what you want but DON’T buy anything (take pictures/ keep notes of prices or just browse online). Then go to other stores to see if you can find better. If not then go back to IKEA to collect the items you couldn’t find elsewhere. The first time I decorated an apartment I bought everything from IKEA and was disappointed when I found prettier pieces that were more my style from other stores.
- DIY is your friend & it’s fun!
- Shop the dorm room items (i.e. Room Essentials at Target) for basics that you may not care as much about. They’re usually the cheapest.
- My personal ranking of stores
- HomeGoods = #1 if you want good quality AND low cost – You find name brands and quality materials. You may get overwhelmed because everything is all over the place. It’s easier to find things spontaneously. If you know exactly what you want, keep in mind that they may not have it because there is a random shipment of things that come in.
- TJ Maxx = #2 for good quality AND low cost – You find similar items to HomeGoods but the downside is that they have less selection to choose from
- Marshalls = basically the same as TJ Maxx, personally I think TJ Maxx is better for home items
- Ross = #1 for cost – basically the cheapest spot but doensn’t have top tier brands like TJ Maxx and HomeGoods. They’re items are good, but if you want name brands then go check out the other two first. Also personally I don’t find their decor to be as pretty (a lot of neutrals)
- Big Lots = Low prices & low quality – good place to get cheap stuff that you don’t care much for. Item’s are not as well made but if you’re looking for a cheap rug or a cheap throw pillow then this is your place
- Target = One of the more pricey furniture options. Room Essentials and select Mainstay Brand items are good and affordable, plus is you can shop online/ ensure that your local store has items in stock before going in person to the store
- IKEA = has random items for super cheap like glass wear for 50 cents. But with that being said, IKEA has no frills and I think their style is a bit to sterile/ modern for me. I also find their metal kitchen/ bathroom products to rust easily. Good place for cheap furniture. Their As Is Section is really great but make sure you have a large car because most of these pieces come fully assembled.
I know this is a lot for one sitting, but it’s a good guide to keep handy when you need something quick & cheap! happy decorating!
New to TTMB? Studio to Home is a series I started to share my love for affordable home decor and interior design. Check out my decor category in the header above for more of my home decor & Studio to Home Series posts!
Studio to Home 1: Intro to the Series
Studio to Home 2: DIY Marble Coffee Table
Studio to Home 3: Picking a Color Scheme
Studio to Home 4: Dividing a Studio Apartment feat. IKEA Kallax shelves
Studio to Home 5: Home Decor on a Budget