19 Professional Designers Share What They Buy at Discount and Big Box Stores

Yes, these high-end designers shop at Target, Costco, and IKEA

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A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with designer Billy Cotton when he confessed that for nearly every home he styled, he headed to a certain destination for a specific chair. No, not a high-end design center or vintage emporium—the store in question was Target, and the object of his obsession, a certain white director's chair. Of course, that prompted a lively discussion about the best things to be had from discount stores, and made me wonder what else designers head to Target (and Amazon, IKEA, and Bed Bath & beyond) for. So, we reached out to a few and got answers. Click through for their selections—and be wowed by the gems a good design eye can find just about anywhere.

Counter-Height Director's Chair - White Frame
target.com
$62.99

Dab white paint over the nail-heads, Bolly Cotton advises, and these chairs look "like they could be at Round Hill," the uber-luxe Jamaican resort.  

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Bamboo Expandable Cutlery Tray
TruBamboo bedbathandbeyond.com
$29.99

"Whenever I install a kitchen, I always go to Bed Bath & Beyond to get their bamboo drawer dividers," says Charleston designer Elizabeth Stuart. "Not only do they work well in kitchens, but they’re also great for bathroom drawers for makeup, etc." After all, she says, "life feels better when it’s organized and clean looking."

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RENS Sheepskin
IKEA ikea.com
$29.99

Designer Janie Molster is obsessed with these sheepskins from IKEA. "They're great for layering on outdoor chairs for cool evenings by the fire, also great for cozying-up indoor spaces," the designer says. And she should know—she uses them in her own home: "I bought these for a special dinner party and they never left my dining room!" 

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Beachcomber Round Handled Baskets
potterybarn.com
$149.00

"We buy these baskets from Pottery Barn like every week," confesses Montreal-based Richard Oullette of Les Ensembliers. "They are the perfect natural accent elements to throw in any project for any type of use. We always need them!" Some suggested uses from Richard: "Wood, toys, mudroom, under console, shelving accent, anywhere and for anything."

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Scott Goodwin
HomeGoods: Crystal

"HomeGoods is my go-to for cut crystal stemware and glasses," says designer Nicole Fuller. "They have such a variety of different styles: fabulous wine glasses, Champagne flutes, highball, lowball, whiskey glasses that look incredibly beautiful, have a really nice weight to them, and look and feel like a high end Baccarat/Lalique without the hefty price tag." Cheers to that!

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Multicolor Kilim Panja Floor Cushion
worldmarket.com
$89.99

"When I need to add a bohemian touch to a project, I shop the artisan section at World Market," shares Charlotte designer Catherine M. Austin. "Their floor pillows, poufs, carved tables, and hand made objects look like they came straight from the souks without having to hop on a plane. I use these items in playrooms and second homes when the budget needs to be stretched!"

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Vapor Acrylic Chair
cb cb2.com
$599.00

"I love mixing in practical pieces from retailers on our projects, especially areas that are get a lot of wear and tear," says designer Marika Meyer. "One of our go-to pieces is the CB2 Vapor Chair. It is made of acrylic and is therefore wipeable, and parents love that for use with little ones."

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lex drawer unit
Ikea ikea.com
$89.00

Another Ikea find, this one from designer Laura Muller, who swears by the Alex drawer units. "I am consistently renovating high-level home and corporate office spaces, as well as bedroom suites, that incorporate a study or full-blown work space.  The Alex cabinet is one of our most specified home office/study items.  In fact, I even have it in my own office!" But, the designer has one big tip for ensuring lower-priced items work: "Remember, it’s ALL about the install," she says. "Make sure to spend a little extra on having your Ikea pieces installed by someone who has plenty of experience," and they'll last longer. 

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Stairway White 96
cb cb2.com
$399.00

"We have a slight obsession with the CB2 Stairway bookcases," confesses Danielle Fennoy of Revamp. "They're wall mounted shelves with integral bookends so they're not just cute, they're functional—double plus for this designer. It helps that they come in a white, black and wood finish, two heights, a desk version, and now a version with storage on the bottom. I'll be devastated if they discontinue this line. At $399 for the tall version it's not the cheapest bookshelf out there, but I think they're a good value for good design."

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Following The Pack
Minted minted.com
$21.00

Even great art doesn't have to come with a huge price tag—just ask designer Sandra Funk, who names Minted among her sources for art and accessories (their fine art prints start at just $20!). "I love mixing high-low pieces in my designs, the same way I pair vintage and modern finds," says the designer. "The mix is where the soul, grit, and age comes in."

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Down and Feather Throw Pillow Inserts
LunarTex amazon.com
$18.99

"For all my bedding basics, like mattress pads and feather/down pillow inserts, I go to Amazon, which has the best deals and variety on sizes and comfort level," says designer Kesha Franklin of Halden Interiors. 

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Cast Metal Brass Frame - Threshold™
Threshold target.com
$8.54

Another item to add to your Target list? Picture frames. They're one of the things designer Sally Williams of Colorful Concepts Interior Design always scores a deal on. Some other suggestions from Williams? " Ikea for faux eucalyptus stems and twigs and HomeGoods for throw pillows in a pinch. They have a huge selection and many come with great down-blend fills that are worth the price even without the covers!"

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Alseda Stool
Ikea ikea.com
$29.99

This woven stool gets a nod of approval from Linda Hayslett of LH Designs. " I love mixing high-end items with things I find from Ikea, Target, and Home Goods," she says.  These Ikea stools are great indoors and outdoors and easy to move around. They're great for kids, using as seating, or as a decorative item where you could display a plant."

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Kraus KHU100-30 Kitchen Sink, 30 Inch, Stainless Steel
Kraus amazon.com
$242.90

"One of the best deals I found recently while doing a kitchen design came from Amazon," shares Maryline Damour, founder of the Kingston Design Connection and design firm Damour Drake. "For under $300.00, I found a Frigidaire 30-inch sink with all the trimmings!" Shown is a similar model with the same depth—a key feature, says the designer: "It's 10" deep so you can hide countless dirty dishes when entertaining."

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Quad Sheepskin Rug
costco.com
$109.99

Hello, Costco! Designer Emma O'Donnell of Coolabah Designs swings by everyone's favorite bulk store for "this particular large gray sheepskin rug that I love to use." 

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Shadow Circle Wall Mirror 19.5
cb cb2.com
$99.95

"My go-to for modern and edgy mirrors at super affordable prices has been West Elm and CB2 for over 10 years," shares designer Erin Shakoor. "We sometimes hang multiples of inexpensive mirrors to cover large areas of a wall and create a luxe look. Boom!"

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Courtesy HomeGoods
HomeGoods: Hurricanes

And another point for team HomeGoods—and its glassware selection! "I am a weirdo for HomeGoods and while I sometimes marvel at home much stuff they have that I would never buy, I almost always find amazing hurricanes there for clients," says Bella Mancini. "It’s definitely a go to for me when finishing a Hamptons project."

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Kings Brand Furniture Twin Size Steel Day Bed (Daybed) Frame with Pop Up Trundle & Mattresses
Kings Brand Furniture amazon.com
$799.99
$599.99 (25% off)

"I have to admit, I am an Amazon.com fangirl," confesses Keita Turner. Besides install-day necessities, Turner has purchased this minimal trundle for some of her projects from the site. She explains, "It's great for small spaces and guest bedrooms!" 

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Samla Box with lid
Ikea ikea.com
$2.99

Any good designer knows storage is key. New Jersey-based Beth Diana Smith relies on a trusty Swedish retailer for affordable ones. "I use Ikea for storage for pantries, kitchen drawers, and bathroom storage," she says. "Their clear storage containers look great!" Another tip from Smith? "HomeGoods for knobs when I am trying to jazz up a piece of existing furniture." 

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