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Eye for the Find

Tips and tricks for spotting well-priced quality home ­finds

Some call it talent. I call it a rite of passage. When it comes to practical parenting, some parents focus on teaching their daughters to cook, sew, and bake challah. Me? I was taught from a young age how to spot quality pieces in unconventional places. A Rutgers University marketing expert says “deal proneness” is a trait passed down from parent to child. So, while many would think the thrill of a good find is a learned behavior, it’s actually part of our genetic makeup.

One of my favorite pastimes is browsing through higher-end retail shops, only to head straight to my local HomeGoods to find the exact same pieces for half price. Now I’m sharing my personal methods with you: How to find quality yet well-priced furniture pieces and decorative objects — high on impact, modest on budget.


> Visualize. Can I picture this in a high-end furniture store?

> Research. Google the item on sale, If you see the regular price is leagues above the ticketed item, you know you’ve found a winner.

> Become an educated consumer. Develop an eye for what’s current and desirable: shop around the higher-end stores so you train yourself to develop a sixth sense for what’s out there.

Recognize high-quality brands. This makes it easier to assess that they’re being sold for half price. On top of the fact that I genuinely loved the look, this mirror was a quick buy because I’d seen it featured in a popular home magazine — a spread that discussed top ten mirrors to look out for!

> Create WhatsApp or email groups with your fellow shopper friends to find the pair of throw pillows or the rest of a set that’s missing in your local brick-and-mortar and might be found in theirs. (I actually know a group like this that exists!)


> Buy an item that you see in excess. When there are so many, it’s less special than a singular find.

> Rely on HomeGoods-style stores for heavy-use items. I generally steer away from buying foundational pieces, like a couch that will get a lot of traffic, at bargain prices. Here’s where the principle of investing in staple pieces comes into play. Those barstools were a great find because they were the definition of child friendly, but really worked with my home aesthetic — win-win.

> Buy linen below 300-thread count. In my experience, it’s not soft and doesn’t wash well.

> Fear the commitment. A lot of discount stores have great return policies. Where applicable, take the item home and try it in your own space. Other shoppers will also recognize the value in similar items, so if you’re wondering about a piece, it’s better to take it home than to risk losing it — because trust me, someone else will grab it.

> Overthink it. The best part about not overspending on home decor is that you’re not married to it. If you ever feel like changing up a room one day, within reason, you’ve got it! Of course, there’s no real blueprint for navigating the maze of large home stores. The thrill of the score is in the knowledge that you’ve found something one-of-a-kind, with a price tag that allows you to go home feeling like a winner.

Shani Melohn is a Torontobased Speech and Language Pathologist who specializes in early intervention. When she’s not working or spending time with her four girls, she can be found scouring the aisles for her next great find.

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