How do I purchase designer furniture and fabrics if I am not a designer? This is probably one of the most often asked questions consumers have about purchasing products for their home. And why not? After all, they are bombarded on TV, online and in magazines with photos of beautifully styled rooms chock full of luscious accessories, exquisite fabrics and unique furniture pieces. These items are not the typical pieces they see in their furniture, fabric and home decor stores. And while stores like TJ Maxx, Target and HomeGoods (consumer favorites these days)provide plenty of inspiration and affordable pieces, it is rarely top quality, designer goods that will add a sophisticated and unique touch to your home. So where do you go for those top quality, designer goods?
Fortunately for consumers and decorators alike there are plenty of sources available:
- To begin with, many manufacturers have become wise to the desires of today’s sophisticated and informed homeowner who has developed a taste for the finer things in life, and will offer their products to those not involved in the design profession. Keep in mind that you will most likely, not be receiving a “to the trade” price but your ultimate goal of owning a specific piece will be realized, without a designer mark-up! So call the manufacturer or check out their website to see if it is possible to purchase directly from them.
- There are several designers out there who specialize in procuring “to the trade” items for their clients, often at a discount. For example, check out Jamie Herzlinger. She has an extensive list of manufacturers to help you locate a specific item. There are also plenty of designers who have their own on-line shops that offer designer products and competitive pricing through their site. One of my favorites is Stacey Curran’s South Shore Decorating.
- Sources like LA Design Concepts work exclusively for consumers, locating products, quoting a reduced price and can even arrange for delivery. They have an amazing website with a gallery of gorgeous photos to view.
- Most large cities have a design “mart” that features showrooms of all the top name and trade only manufacturers. Traditionally, these marts are not open to the public, but that has changed over the years. Many local marts now open their doors to the general public and will even provide design assistance on-site while others may have specific hours and/or days of the week when the general public is granted access.
- Contact your designer/decorator (that would be me). They may arrange to order an item for you without adding their own mark-up. Keep in mind, however, that they do not work for free and will most likely charge you their hourly rate or whatever payment arrangements you have with them. This makes it possible for you to purchase the item you have been longing for, often at a reduced rate, and your designer may have other options or ideas for you at the same time.
If you know of other reliable sources please share them with all of us.