5 Essentials for a Successful Home Decor Shopping Trip

5 Essentials for a Successful Home Decor Shopping Trip

On any given late afternoon, if you happen to go into the Homegoods where I live, chances are you will run into me. I'm an HG addict, frequenting 3-4 times a week (most often I'm buying items for client's homes, not my own) , and the workers and I are on a first name basis. I often joke that running into me at Homegoods, is like running into the town alcoholic at the local bar. (And it certainly doesn't help that these stores are located within .25 of a mile from my gym.) 

Now I realize that most of you have don't have the time to frequent these stores as much as I do. Most of you have small kids- or older kids with tons of activities during the week after school. Or maybe you live more than 20 minutes away from a home decor store- so frequenting them weekly just isn't possible. When you are in the store, you might have a limited amount of time- so being prepared before going shopping is key. Being prepared prior to leaving for the store cuts down on the following: 

1) The "Will this go in my room?" question. 

2) The "Will this fit in my space?" question. 

3) The "Does this match the colors in my room?" question. 

and most importantly: 

4) It cuts down on return trips to the store to return items. 


Therefore, for this blog post I'm focusing on essential items I bring with me in order to be prepared prior to shopping- and to also cut down on the need for returns. 

So my formula for a successful shopping trip includes these 5 essentials: 

Notebook (with measurements and lists within it) + Paint swatches + Pillow Cases + Tape Measure +  Cell Phone (with photos of the room, coupons, and a direct line to your husband if you can't fit sh** in your car). 


1) Notebook: having a notebook that you just keep for shopping trips is super important. Within this notebook you can make lists of items you need to get, as well as measurements of certain areas in your home. For example, recently I was in HG shopping for an entryway table for a client's home. I measured the length of the entryway table, and instead of guessing whether it would fit the space, I opened up my notebook to see that I had 59" of space to fill. If you're decorating for an entire house, it helps to have all spaces broken down in a notebook as well. When I was decorating my home- we literally moved in with a brown couch (read previous posts to understand why I can never get rid of this Pre-Barbra, Shad brown-couch- purchase), and a queen mattress. We had so many spaces to fill that I created a spread sheet of measurements for curtain rods, blinds, space below windows, space on walls, etc. I also make shopping lists for clients from afar who hire me for design consulting. (My list might say: Basket at least 18" tall, two rustic candle sticks, large letter at least 20" in height.) Taking a notebook really cuts down on the "Will this fit my space?" question. 


2) Paint Swatches: When we moved in we had 6 different colors painted throughout the house. Because of lighting, having pictures of these rooms wasn't always a fool-proof way of showing the true color when I was out buying accessories. Therefore I kept a tiny little expandable file in my purse with all the paint swatches of our house. (I also kept all my coupons for places like Home Depot, Lowes, and Bed Bath and Beyond, in this rolodex too). This greatly helped with the guessing of whether rugs, bedspreads, or anything else would go in my room. It also helps to keep these paint chips in a file folder at home for down the road- in case your touch up paint gets old. You'll have no issues trying to remember what paint color you used in what room. 


3) Pillow Cases: When I'm looking for throw pillows for a couch or bed, I often pack one of the bedspread's pillow cases or other throw pillow cases that I'm using on the couch/bed with me. Fold these up, put them in a bag, and bring them along with you. It saves time from the guessing work and question "Will this match what I already have?" (I use to bring the actual pillow, and then I got smart and realized that I could just take the pillow case off... : P ) This tip also works with couch arm slips as well. I've asked many clients if I could take the slip that couch companies send for the arms of the couch- with me so I can make sure the throw pillows I'm buying go with the couch color. 


4) Tape Measure: One of the most important items you should bring along with your book of measurements is a tape measure. This will help you measure furniture pieces, wall decor, and baskets within home decor stores. It also helps if you are trying to figure out a wall collage, or just a space in general to hang a piece of art/mirror.  I have a 10' small tape measure in my purse. I don't recommend bringing a large one like the one pictured below- because they are super heavy and will feel like an anchor at the bottom of your purse. (This tape measure just looked better for a picture than the beat up small one I actually bring with me). If you forget your tape measure at HomeGoods- don't worry, they have 36" measuring strips around the store. It's just a pain in the butt for items larger than 36 inches. 


5) Smart Phone: Lastly, and equally as important- you need to remember to bring your phone. Make sure that you take pictures of the room/space prior to leaving your house. This way with your book of measurements, paint chips, pillow cases, and tape measure, this will help you picture the decor item in your home. In addition, use the internet while in stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby, to search up coupons to use prior to checkout. Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Kohls also send electronic coupons via text and email in case you forget coupons for these stores. (Bringing coupons for BB&B + Kohls if you're shopping there would be an added essential before leaving your house). Most importantly- if you can't fit an item in your car from a store like HomeGoods, you can do a paid hold. Some stores will hold it for 7 days, some will only hold it for up to 3 days. My cell phone is often a lifeline to calling my husband and asking him to come pick up an item for me in his SUV. 


I can't tell you how many times I'm laying things out on a floor in a store with a tape measure and many of these essentials and women pass by and say "That's so smart! Why didn't I think of that?". Planning ahead in this way is key to a successful time-saving shopping trip. 

Some other tips for Home Decor Stores: 

1) Try to hit a HomeGoods on a weekday night instead of the weekend. On Saturdays most HG stores are packed and the good stuff that was delivered during the week has already been taken. It also helps with concentration if you don't have to worry about moving your cart out of the way and having multiple people looking at items in the same aisle. 

2) Check with your local HG of when their deliveries come in. For my HG it's on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It helps to go at night on those days to see new items that have been put out before the weekend crowds. 

3) MOST IMPORTANT: If you see something you like and you are not sure, BUY IT and RETURN IT LATER!! I can't tell you how many times early on, I saw an item, went home to think about it- only to return the next day (sometimes the same day) and it was gone. I always follow this rule for myself. However, recently I sent a picture of an item to a client, and I was waiting for her response. I heard from her later on- went back 3 hours later, and the item was gone. 

4) Mark on your receipt at the bottom what items were bought on that receipt. It helps with returns later on. Most items are just categorized on receipts as "Home Decor" "Floor Decor" "Window Decor", and it can be difficult to figure out what is from which receipt. I write things like " Jake's curtain rods, "M" wall decor", etc, so returns are easier. I have a little plastic receipt holder so they're not all crunched up in my wallet or purse. 

5) Be aware of the return policy and date. After 30 days in most stores, you can only receive store credit (which is never a problem to me because I always find other stuff to spend it on : P). 


Thanks for stopping by and reading! If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to comment below or share with a friend. Happy Shopping! 

<3 Barbra


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