How the Experts Shop at HomeGoods
Secrets to make your next shopping trip even more productive.
For most of us, shopping at HomeGoods is an excursion to look forward to—there’s nothing like strolling through the aisles and discovering surprising finds at budget-friendly prices. On one trip, you might just purchase what you went there for (whether it’s a cooking gadget or new towels). On another trip, you’ll find yourself getting things on your list and then some—like that storage ottoman that would work just perfectly at the foot of your bed or that accent table that will look right at home beside your favorite armchair. That’s the beauty of HomeGoods’s ever-changing inventory: You never know what you’re going to come across.
With that in mind, we asked four experts to share their HomeGoods shopping tricks with us, so the next time you head to the store you’ll find even more hidden treasures and deals.
You could spend hours overthinking whether you should get the area rug or not—but interior designer Mike Harrison says you should jump on your first instinct. Plus, chances are it won’t be there when you go back a few days later. Sure, you shouldn’t splurge on anything you know you won’t be able to use at all, but if you feel strongly about a piece, go for it. “If you are drawn to a specific piece, it’s for a reason,” he says. “Since you know that, unlike other retailers, you can’t sleep on it and order it tomorrow, HomeGoods hones in on your instincts and makes all of us designers.”
Unless you aren’t in a rush, try hitting up every aisle on your visit. “Although sometimes I do go to HomeGoods with a specific item in mind, I always try to shop the whole store because I never know where I’m going to find something that I didn't know I needed,” event planner Marcy Blum says.
But if you don’t have time to take a lap through the whole store, there are two departments the experts say you shouldn’t miss. The rug section is one. “The rugs at HomeGoods are excellent, and I always tell my friends to check them out,” Amy Wells, set decorator of Clueless, Mad Men, and Big Little Lies, says. Plus, it’s perfect if you don’t want to deal with shipping time, she adds. And don’t overlook the lighting aisle, either.
“I tend to go to the store at night before closing,” Harrison says. “I avoid the crowds, take my time, and get inspired by the selection. It’s how I unwind.” Early weekday mornings are also a good time to get some shopping in without the long checkout lines. “I think HomeGoods stores seem to restock most often on weekday evenings, so I prefer shopping as early as I can manage on weekdays to get the newest items before the thundering herds come in,” Blum says. And while it’s tempting to become a regular at the closest one to you (where the whole staff knows your name), you might want to check out other locations from time to time, Wells suggests. Every store’s inventory is a little bit different, so you never know what you’re going to find.
Some items can serve dual purposes or be used to solve that annoying problem in your house. “Sometimes you just need to look at textures and shapes and throw out all of the intended rules for certain pieces,” Harrison says. “Many times I will go to the storage and organization areas of the store and grab a large, woven storage basket and repurpose the piece as a planter for a house plant.” Take some risks and go for the décor that you wouldn’t normally purchase—this is one store where you can try out the latest trends without feeling guilty if you don’t like the piece in a year or two because you didn’t spend a fortune on it.
Sometimes all of the diverse options can get a little overwhelming. “In order to maximize the benefits of a store that doesn't have one specific design style, I have found that knowing the proportions and dimensions of what you’re looking for ahead of time is the key to success,” Harrison says. “If I’m searching for a side table that needs to be a certain size, I tend to uncover some of my best HomeGoods finds by focusing on size first.” You’ll be more open to trying out new styles or going for pieces that normally don’t catch you eye.
Blum says the store gives her ideas for entertaining. “For example, Tabletop items in vibrant, unexpected colors have made me rethink the colors of a party, or I've found a trove of small pottery pieces that worked perfectly as place card holders that I wasn’t originally planning for,” she says.
There’s strength in numbers—even when it comes to shopping. Friends can help you make the tough decisions and give honest advice. They can also help you divide and conquer if you need to purchase a lot of items—especially if it’s something simple that doesn’t need a design decision (like towels or kitchen tools). “When shopping for a project, I go in with two of my buyers and everyone gets a cart and we start a wagon train,” Wells says. “We go through, fill a cart, line up at the cashier, and then we go for another round.”