How do I get that Pier 1 look on the cheap?
September 24, 2007 9:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on redecorating my apartment. Now, I'm a sucker for Bombay Company/Pier 1/World Market goods, but I'm saving my pennies for more important things. What are some inexpensive, do-it-yourself ways to give my apartment that "worldly," tastefully-exotic look?

I already shop eBay and thrift stores. I'm looking for any suggestions you may have if you've done something like this, decorating blogs/sites/books/etc you've read and found useful for such projects, and any other ideas... especially if you've got similar taste.

I've found a few blogs here and there, but most of the ones I've seen either require tools I couldn't use if I had them (damn it, Jim, I'm a web designer, not a carpenter) or the end results I see on these sites really do look as cheap as they are.

Things to note if it helps: I'm allowed to paint my walls here as well as nail things up, I can't put stuff over my windows if they can be seen outside the apartment, and I have drab, beige wall-to-wall carpeting. I'm pretty much set on basic furniture. It's strictly home decor tips I'm after, and I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.
posted by katillathehun to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Drive to San Diego and go to the Pier 1 liquidation factory store that's by the airport there. Amazing deals. AMAZING. (Did I say amazing?)
posted by The World Famous at 9:28 PM on September 24, 2007

Ooh! I didn't even know that was down there, World Market! I know where I'm going this weekend.
posted by katillathehun at 9:34 PM on September 24, 2007

Um... World Famous, I meant. Hey, guess where my brain is!
posted by katillathehun at 9:36 PM on September 24, 2007

Go to garage sales (yard sales, tag sales, estate sales, whatever they're called in your neck of the woods). They're often a treasure trove of neat "stuff" to create an eclectic decor.
posted by amyms at 9:45 PM on September 24, 2007

You can call the Pier 1 Imports Clearance Store in San Diego ahead of time to see what they just got in in terms of shipments, as well as what's on super discount (I once got a great headboard and footboard set there for $5 for the footboard and $15 for the headboard).

It's been a while, but if I remember correctly, they get weekly shipments in mid-week, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Here's the info:

Pier 1 Imports: Clearance Store
1735 Hancock St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 291-9920
posted by The World Famous at 9:52 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]

Assuming that Bombay Company/Pier 1/World Market are ethno-chic furniture & home accessory places, you might like to get yourself down to any ethnic enclaves near where you live and browse the grocery stores that cater specifically to those communities. You should be able to find all kinds of knicknacks ranging from the super-kitsch to more 'traditional' crockery, religious statuettes, fabrics (for tablecloths, throws, etc) and so on. These places often pass under whiteys' radars, and can be very reasonably priced & individualistically 'authentic', as opposed to the generic instant-antique stuff flogged by the major importers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:30 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

(That was from an Australian context. No idea how that translates to the US, but think Chinatown for large reproduction wall scrolls & surprisingly cheap ornamental crockery, Indian grocery stores for colourful saris & other fabrics to be draped wherever, Buddhist statuettes from Chinese or South-East Asian stores, Arab / North African grocers for more crockery, or things like inlaid chess or backgammon sets, that sort of thing. Not a whole lot of African or Latin American presence here at the cheap end of the market, but the US might be different)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:38 PM on September 24, 2007

Go to fabric stores, especially specialty ones that have silks and whatnot, dive into their scrap bins of leftover yardage=cheap, pretty fabric. Buy beautiful and bright mismatch stuff that you love. Cover tables, make curtains, throws, shelf covers, placemats, pillows, dividers, etc.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:52 PM on September 24, 2007

I was going to suggest doing what UbuRoivas suggested - check out the various "Little _______" neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles - the one that immediately comes to mind for me is Little India, given your reference to "Bombay Company/Pier 1/World Market goods." I'm not sure how the prices compare, but I'm sure you'll be able to hunt down some bargains if you look (and I dare say you'll have a lot more fun doing it).

Little Armenia
Little Ethiopia
Little Osaka
Little Tokyo
Olvera Street (Mexican shops)
Tehrangeles (Little Persia)
Thai Town

There are a lot more...
posted by splendid animal at 12:35 AM on September 25, 2007

"... What are some inexpensive, do-it-yourself ways to give my apartment that "worldly," tastefully-exotic look? ..."

Under decorate. Don't be afraid to be a leading proponent of sparsity in decor. It's tres chic.

The reason Pier 1 stores look like they do is because they're stuffed floor to ceiling with stuff. That "stuff" will need regular dusting if you pay for it, even at bargain rates, and bring it home. And frankly, most of it looks like material cranked out for the volume export trade, rather than something you'd actually find if you'd strolled through exotic bazaars yourself, on your last jaunt through Myanmar. You might enjoy the things you live with more, if you look into their actual sources of production, and patronize artisans and fair trade cooperatives.

Instead of decorating so much, put your money in quality paint (professionally applied, if you're not a decent painter), some terrific area rugs to make your drab floors hospitable, what good art you can afford, and quality lighting. Leave room to breathe and move, enjoy the daily luxury of a place that is simple to clean, and treat yourself to a few good vases and fresh flowers for them frequently.
posted by paulsc at 4:56 AM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, that settles it. You guys are awesome. Not a bad suggestion in the lot. Thanks, y'all.
posted by katillathehun at 8:57 AM on September 25, 2007

Keep an eye on Bombay Company news. They've just filed for bankruptcy. If they liquidate, their merchandice may become very affordable (either through their outlets or through liquidators).
posted by Doohickie at 9:09 AM on September 25, 2007

And they are now liquidating all Bombay Company stock in stores in the U.S. They will only continue as a brand name in Canada.
posted by Doohickie at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2007

« Older CP lost my passport app, and stole my vacation and...   |   Maybe she's born with it Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.