Saturday, April 10, 2010

Learning from Retail

Do you ever go "window shopping?"

Step into your favorite store, and drool over the beautiful displays, knowing full well that you can't afford even one thing?

It's depressing, really.

However, I am realizing that there is a LOT we can take from the "expensive" places, and find ways to incorporate them into our own homes/lives.

The other day, Josh and I were walking around Grand Ave (for you non-Minnesotans, it's one of our "chic" downtown areas, ritzy with lots of fun, expensive little shops). We walked into "Traditions," a really fun furniture/accessories shop. Unfortunately for us, even their smallest pieces of furniture cost around $700.00. SERIOUSLY???

OK, so maybe a bit out of our price range.... But, I learned a few things from this place that I thought I would share!

#1 Group things together for a bigger impact.

I love these sunburst mirrors- so pretty and chic! I wouldn't think of putting 2 together, but it really does create more impact. (Plus, I've seen these all over the place, I'm sure you could find a more inexpensive version without a problem!).

#2 Bringing unusual elements into your decor keeps it exciting and fresh.

These hanging "topiary" lanterns are so cool! So fun and unique, and they could create instant visual interest in a variety of settings.

#3 Chandeliers aren't just for expensive/100 year old homes.

They had chandeliers all over the place! I have always been a wee bit prejudiced against chandeliers (read: they only belong in fancy restaurants, and the White House), but after seeing how they fit in so seamlessly and are such an elegant touch, I may have to rethink that.

#4 Decorating with artwork is easier (and cheaper!) than you may think.

This caught my eye right as we walked in the door. I have this exact same print (it's a Van Gogh I think) and I bought it online from a poster store for 4.99. I also found a frame almost exactly like this one for 19.99 at IKEA. Their version was a bit more spendy (like in the 500.00 range!). That nightstand, by the way, was $699.00 (seriously, click on the picture to see a larger version of the price tag!). Sheesh.

#5 Pull things out of storage and use them for displays!

I have several candlesticks that don't have candles right now, so they are tucked away. But hey, if Traditions can use candle-less candlesticks then why can't I?! Also, I like how the topiary plants make it looks so fresh and spring-y. They were fake, but you could hardly tell.

#6 Seriously, chandeliers are awesome.

Need I say more?

I hope this encourages you to look at things differently too. There's so many cool ideas you can get from "window shopping." What are some of your favorite, most inspiring stores?


  1. Oh Michela, these shots were beautiful! Our favorite store is Ethan Allen, it's another high end furniture store and each piece is usually $1,000. We bought our 2nd home 4 years ago, and bought several pieces from them (thank goodness for marble and leather...they are kid friendly!) My white canvas couch for our reading room is my favorite piece. I love looking through the catalogs too. Well, now that we do have kids we obviously don't shop there, but it was fun while it lasted!!!

  2. I LOVE Ethan Allen too! Their stuff is so classy and unique. I'm sure once we have kids our tastes will have to adjust a little too. =)

  3. I've got a vintage chandelier in my dining room that I would love to give to you... I bet you could do amazing things with it. Pretty sure it's from the 40's.

  4. Ashley- I will send you my address. =) Seriously though, I bet it could be really awesome. Are you thinking of refurbishing it?

  5. Nope, I'm thinking of giving it to you if you want it. While I can admire the vintage qualities it doesn't fit the design I have in mind. I can send you a couple of pictures if you're interested. I'll even deliver it. I'm making a few trips northward this summer (May and August for sure). If I give it away- maybe the husband will let me buy a new one! ;)

  6. AAAAAGH! Seriously? OK, send me pictures. I mean, if you must get rid of it, I would probably be able to help out with that. =)

    Plus, it would be fun to actually meet you!

  7. I'll take some pictures of it tomorrow when it's light out, after I get home from work and e-mail them to you.

    Getting to meet you would be the icing on the cake! :)



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