In my never-ending quest to keep my home looking stylish and current, I spend more time than I care to admit online browsing through sites like Wayfair and Overstock and reading Architectural Digest and Elle Décor. But my favorite thing to do is head out to a few of my favorite stores. Truth be told, I could spend all day, and all my money, at Target (and have!). Not just in the home and housewares and outdoor departments - cause a girl's gotta eat, and my Target happens to be a Super Target, which means I can also get yogurt and roasted chicken and fresh cherries and Diet Coke along with my new sheets and lightbulbs and tzotchkies and indoor/outdoor rug.
It should be noted that Target is not sponsoring this in any way (not that we'd mind - wink wink, @Target). It just made sense to kick off our ‘What to buy" series, given the number of joyful hours we spend there. In the coming months, we'll be spending heading out to some others faves, like HomeGoods, Tuesday Morning, and Cost Plus World Market, shopping home sales at stores like Macy's, and hopefully, giving you some great ideas about what to get for your home.
Come along with me as I try to listen to my own advice and stick to the 10 things to buy at Target for your home (and a few things not to), wontcha?
1. New trends
Target is a great place to adopt a new trend without a big spend or start easing into a new look. Notice anything here?
Everything is gold toned. Want to know how many things are gold toned in my house? Exactly zero. Until now. Hands off the rhino. He's coming home with me. Cost: $12.99.
Tip: Don't forget to check the end caps when you're in the home-related sections; this is where you'll find many of their clearance items. This $17 graphic pillow looks right at home on my neutral couch and the shock of pink and orange provides just the pop I was looking for.
2. Window treatments
With so many colors, patterns and textures, it's hard not to find drapes you like at Target, which makes it easy to swap the out when you get sick of them (guilty!). And, they start at just $9.99 a panel—and that's not even a sale price. Tip: there are far more sizes available online, so if you find something you love but the length is wrong, check the website.
3. Serving pieces
Target's seasonal serving pieces are some of my favorite finds, namely the big, plastic bowls you can get in spring or summer. They're perfect for a house with kids, cute enough for company, and only $9.99 each.
If you want something a little fancier you can step up to wood or hammered metal, both $19.99 and both right on trend.
Truth: I can stand in a rug section for an hour or search online for three and still not buy anything. Finding the perfect rug is a challenge. Target's many choices don't make it any easier, but when you can catch a sale, jump.
I love this rug. It's 5x7, so it has some good size to it, the seafoamy-aqua color adds interest, and the graphic pattern is current. Best of all, it's on clearance, priced at $35.98. It's a "patio" rug intended for the outside, but it's going right into the kids' bathroom in my house. Target's outdoor and indoor/outdoor rugs are one of my best bets to use indoors. The texture of these flat-weave or jute-style rugs is great, and you can get a great deal at or near the end of the summer.
Target's bedding department has so many options, the sheets alone can take you all day to choose. If you've already decided on a color scheme and thread count, you're well on your way.
I'm a fan of these organic sheets, both from a softness standpoint, and also because, in addition to a number of different colors, they also have these fun patterns.
Don't pass up the pillows either. After many years of wrong pillows, I finally found one that's right. It's a down alternative, and has just the right around of squish-to-support quotient. They also have fluffy down pillows that cost $60+ if you'd rather spend more for the "real" thing.
You'll find lots of fun stuff to line shelves and top tables in the home area, but always check the dollar section at the front of the store, where seasonal items are a great bargain.
In addition to the slew of back-to-school-related items on my trip, I found these cute ceramic pears for $3 each. I guess we no longer do apples for the teacher? Either way, they're going to look cute on my restyled bookshelves.
7. Stuff for kids…for adults
If you're looking for cute bedding or home accents, don't forget to check the kids' section. This $29.99 unicorn lamp might be intended for a little girl, but it's headed right for my living room.
8. Temporary wallpaper
Wallpaper has been a trend for several years, but many people are scared of taking the plunge. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a great way to test drive the trend before committing. It's also WAY easier to apply.
I love how the graphic pattern gives our TV niche some pop and it only took about an hour and one heated argument (OK, two) to install it. Matching patterns from one sheet to another is never easy, but at least you can take down a temp version and try again and again.
This is another item you'll probably want to buy online because there is far greater variety, but seeing it in person first to check out the texture helped me make a decision.
You may not think of buying paint at Target, and you're definitely not going to get the same variety you'll find at Home Depot or at a paint store, but the options are unique and always expanding, and I love the focus on specialty finishes.
Why the asterisk? Because I haven't always had the best luck with Target furniture. Stuff you have to put together yourself is generally a bit suspect in my eyes, but that hasn't stopped me from buying it. When budget is dictating the purchase, you do what you have to do. These barstools were bought at Target this year. Normally $75 apiece, I got in on a sale, so I only spent $150 for three.
They were perfect for my space since the color is neutral, but the nailheads give them a bit of style, and I was looking for something that would tuck under the counter, so I could keep the space looking sleek. The cushion also makes them more comfortable than something that didn't have upholstery. The downside: they're rickety, despite having tightened up the hardware a few times already. And, not having a back means sitting for extended periods of time, like for quick dinners or homework, as I'd envisioned, doesn't happen. Basically, they never get sat on at all. But they do look good.
Is that true of every piece of Target furniture? Of course not. But consider it a cautionary tale. The next time I'm looking for chairs, I'll probably look elsewhere. But a cute table, especially one that's used for display only…definitely.
What not to buy:
Non-sale throw pillows. You'll have far more to choose from and better prices at HomeGoods.
The bargain bed pillows. They're tempting at $4 a pop but you might as well fold up at shirt and put it under your head for all the comfort and support you'll get.
Candles. They're no bargain here. Hit IKEA instead.