Guest Post: Karen from I Don’t Think Prada is the Answer They’re Looking For…

I’m on vacation this week and asked a few friends to fill in for me. Today’s guest is Karen from I Don’t Think Prada is the Answer They’re Looking For… I’m not sure where I first found her…but I do know that I loved the name of her blog (even if I didn’t immediatly recognize The OC quote). Karen is a “real” interior design professional and she always calls me on my uneducated criticisms of other real designers. Love that – thanks for keepin’ it real, Karen. Plus she’s funny and finds good stuff on YouTube, including clips for great shows I might have missed due to an already full television viewing schedule. I owe my love affair with Modern Family to Karen…don’t know what I’d do without her.

Welcome Karen!

Hello Wishing True readers! My name is Karen and I was thrilled when Kate asked me to fill in on Wishing True while she took a well-deserved break! I racked my brain for what would be a fun topic to discuss with her design-savvy readers — decided to stay away from any discussions of Twilight, the World Cup, or Beiber fever, hope you don’t mind — and really, it comes down to two topics: shopping (especially virtual shopping!) and design.

Have you ever noticed that designers or celebrities will have really great home accessories, like an antique vase or a collection of mercury glass, and they’ll casually mention they got it at a flea market in Paris, or they picked it up during an impromptu trip to Morocco? Who does things like this? I don’t know about you, but the flea markets near my house don’t have 19th century crystal chandeliers for $60. Some of us have to be resourceful in regions with more Costco’s than shops spelled like ‘shoppe’. And while my day job as an Interior Designer gives me access to wonderful high end accessories, my real life attempts to decorate my apartment (plus a friend or two!) has sharpened my shopping skills on a real life budget. So if you’re thinking about freshening up your home on a budget, here’s a list of places to check out first …

1) Home Goods (or Marshall’s or TJ Maxx)
Here’s the thing about Home Goods: you have to be in the mood to sift through alot of junk to find your treasure. But it’s worth it, and many designers and home stagers don’t want the secret to get out. In addition to accessories like vases or bookends, you can also find great linens, mirrors and lamps for less than department stores.

2) 20 x 200
Finding art for an ‘average’ person’s home can be depressing at times … like when that $99 Art Show rolls into your local convention center, shilling oil paintings of fruit baskets. Or those giant black and white posters of a random dock on a lake from Ikea. 20 x 200 is a nice alternative: it features art starting at $20! So whether your thing is kites, big yellow taxis, or a vintage-ish beach scene, they’ve got you covered without dipping into your savings.

3) Etsy
You can find anything under the sun in Etsy’s stores, and support small business, too! Talk about a win-win situation. My favorite Etsy shops include Katie Armour Home – a great place to score milk glass – and littlebrownpen, who’s got adorable photos of Paris.

4) West Elm, CB2 & Z Gallerie
Although it’s a bit of cliched HGTV advice, changing out throw pillows or adding an object to your bookcase really can make a big impact with a small amount of cash. Profiles are both current and classic (although this is also screaming for DIY if you’re crafty!) and this blue vase is the perfect summery accent!

Many thanks to Kate for inviting me to stop by! And if you have a favorite place to shop for inexpensive treasures, share them in the comments!

4 Responses to Guest Post: Karen from I Don’t Think Prada is the Answer They’re Looking For…
  1. Quindome
    July 8, 2010 | 1:34 pm

    Great tips! And the thing about more costco's than shoppe's is hysterical!

  2. You Are My Fave
    July 8, 2010 | 3:51 pm

    I'm terribly disappointed that you didn't talk about Bieber. But I do agree with the celebs who always have awesome things in their home and you kind of want to punch them in the face for having the money and time to just go to Paris for the weekend. It's kind of like when they're asked how they lose weight and they're like, "Breast feeding and chasing after my kids."

  3. MrsKinne
    July 8, 2010 | 6:02 pm

    I love all these tips!

    I'm going to add Target to the list for a couple reasons:

    1. Sometimes they do designer collaborations, and you can get "designer" looks for very little money.

    2. If I could legally marry a store, I would marry Target.

  4. Karen
    July 9, 2010 | 1:19 am

    Target is a great addition to this list! They also have some nice furniture online – much better selection than in stores.

    Melanie: Hysterical! Good call, the "I lose weight running after my kids" part!

    I hope that I never discourage anyone from giving 'uneducated' opinions about design! There's no such thing. So much of it is about taste. Kate, you've got a great eye :)

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