This is the cheapest place to shop for homeware - and no, it's not IKEA

Looking for budget-friendly home decor? Here's where you should be shopping...

hallway with console table
(Image credit: @thebestslife)

There's nothing we love more than picking up a few new decor pieces in store before coming home and finding a way to style them in our homes. Vases, candles, crisp white bathroom towels - these little things make a huge difference. 

But, as we know, our decor addiction isn't cheap. A recent study analyzing the biggest home stores in the US showed Target to be the most affordable homeware brand overall.

living room

Living room with Target decor items

(Image credit: @whilefloriansleeps / Self Financial)

The study, conducted by Self Financial, worked out how much it would cost to decorate individual rooms of the home while shopping exclusively at each of the big-name stores. It looked at hundreds of products from Pottery Barn, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, All Modern and more.

For the study, each room of a typical home had a specific list of items which were compared across the different retailers to get an average cost. For example a queen bed frame for the bedroom, or a coffee table for the living room. 

On average, the cost of furnishing a home with the essential items is $7,503.66. The most expensive room in the house to decorate was the living room, which on average costs $3,284. 

home office from Pottery Barn

Home office with items bout from Pottery Barn

(Image credit: @grace_into_joy / Self Financial)

Meanwhile, the cheapest turned out to be the bathroom that on average costs $224.

Overall, Pottery Barn came out as being the most expensive, followed by Crate & Barrel and World Market. The second cheapest behind Target was IKEA, closely followed by Bed Bath & Beyond.

Although Target was the most affordable on balance, IKEA had the least expensive office goods, kitchen essentials, and living room products. 

bedroom with target decor

Bedroom with Target décor

(Image credit: @gresham_houz / Self Financial)

Lauren Bringle, a Financial Counselor at Self Financial, has shared some tips for buying items for your home on a tight budget. First and foremost, she recommends shopping second-hand.

'Facebook marketplace and sites like Craigslist are a gold mine for pre-loved furniture and homeware,' says Lauren. 'Just be sure to get lots of photos from the seller to see the quality of the items before purchasing.'

She also suggests we look out for items on sale or clearance at the end of the season. Post-season holiday decor is often a fraction of the original price.

exterior target store

(Image credit: Alamy)

An easy one to forget is affiliate discount codes. If shopping online, look out for those 10-15% discount codes that are often shared through customer referrals and influencers. So many brands offer 10% off for first-time buyers or for email signup.

Here are a few Target pieces we're loving right now:

11' Clear Bulb Indoor/Outdoor String Lights - Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia | $14.99 at TargetView Deal

Hairpin Writing Desk with Storage, $90 at TargetView Deal

Tulip Shaped Woven Basket | $25 at TargetView Deal

Faux Eucalyptus Arrangement - Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia | $19.99 at TargetView Deal

Just remember to unsubscribe from the email afterward or you might end up spending even more money by being lured in by marketing emails.

Quality will of course vary depending on where we shop and how much we spend. Some things like your sofa or best mattress you should always buy the highest quality you can afford, but there are some areas you can definitely save money on.

In those instances, it looks like Target might just be your best bet.

Millie Hurst

Millie joined Real Homes in January 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.