Designers Share 8 Things You Should Buy at Discount Stores—and 2 You Shouldn’t

Because not all deals are good deals.

<p>Shzumo/Getty Images</p>

Shzumo/Getty Images

Who doesn't love a great deal? Buying furniture and decor can be expensive, especially if you’re trying to furnish an entire room. So, you might want to check out discount stores like HomeGoods, T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, or At Home to save some cash. While these stores offer fantastic finds for certain items, it isn’t a smart idea to scour every aisle. Here are eight things you should consider buying at discount stores along with two to avoid, according to interior designers.

Related: 5 Tips for Getting Decorating Help on a Super Tight Budget


Interior designer Kate Dawson’s advice: Don’t sleep on those discount pillows. She explains, “HomeGoods and T.J.Maxx always have a large selection to choose from, and it changes pretty much every day! Why spend $300 on a pillow when you can find something beautiful at one of these stores for under $50? Especially since we live in a time when people like to switch things up every couple of years or sometimes even seasonally. In my opinion, buying expensive pillows is just not worth the investment.”

Small Decorative Accents

If you’re decorating on a budget, you know all of those little things that complete the space can quickly add up. Fortunately, it’s easy to find deals on small decorative accents at your local discount chain. “All of these little pieces add the finishing touches to a space. This is what really makes a room feel lived in and loved! With the right selection of decorative accessories, your room will look curated, expensive, and professionally designed, which is what everyone wants,” says Dawson.

Some of the designer's favorite items include picture frames, faux houseplants, scented candles, decorative trays, boxes, and bookends.

Related: The 36 Best Candles of 2024 for Every Scent Preference

Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books can also cost as much as coffee makers these days. So interior designer Valerie Darden of Brexton Cole Interiors loves to pick up coffee table books at discount stores. She says, “Stacking chic-looking thick books about fashion, design, and the arts on coffee tables, entryway tables, and nightstands are a go-to when I am trying to create not only height but also layers.”


Darden loves a good deal on a vase. “I recommend buying pretty vases at HomeGoods or T.J.Maxx. I have seen some lovely glass and Chinoiserie vases for less than $20.” She suggests leveling them up with real flowers, if possible.

Storage Baskets

“I love the storage basket selection at T.J.Maxx and HomeGoods,” says Darden. “The prices are fair and the baskets are very nice looking. I use the woven baskets in my own home to store throw blankets and my kids' extra toys. It is an easy clean up and woven baskets add texture and warmth to any room.”


Rugs can be expensive. So scoring a deal can be very helpful when designing on a budget. Darden suggests scouting out rugs. Just make sure to measure your space first because even the prettiest rug won't look right if it's the wrong size.

Related: The 13 Best Area Rugs for Every Style, Tested and Reviewed

Side and Accent Tables

Small furniture pieces like side or accent tables are a big yes, according to Darden. For pieces that don’t get a lot of wear and tear, there’s not too much to concern yourself with in terms of quality. So, if you find that perfect side table for your living room or nightstands for your guest room, carefully hoist those treasures into your cart.


While selection can be hit or miss, the bedding is always worth exploring. From simple sets of high thread count sheets to adorable options for kids (who may outgrow or get sick of certain styles), HomeGoods, in particular, has it all. These stores also tend to carry lots of bed-in-a-bag sets, which have coordinated sets of sheets, a comforter, and pillows, and can help finish up spaces like guest rooms.

What to Skip

Large Furniture Pieces

Small accent furniture is fair game but large pieces should be a hard no. If you need an expensive or large piece, like a sofa or sectional, you might be tempted to swoop in for the deal. But Dawson advises against this. “Invest your money in big pieces of furniture—don’t leave that up to these stores. You want to purchase the larger pieces from a reputable store with a good warranty program, just to be safe!”

Darden also agrees. “These items don’t have the best quality wood or upholstery and may have not passed a product inspection. Investment pieces need to stand the test of time and it is not worth the risk of buying a sofa with possible wobbly legs. While HomeGoods does have some cool hidden gems with high-quality brands for sale at times, it is not consistent.”

Faux Florals

Those vases with faux florals or fake arrangements aren’t worth a dime, according to Darden. “Many of the faux florals do not look real. Plastic can't replace the beauty of real flowers. Faux florals also accumulate lots of dust.”

Related: 8 Hacks That Make Fake Plants Look Surprisingly Real

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