A Pottery Barn Commentary

img1m Once, a new friend came over and remarked to me upon seeing my house for the first time,

"Ooh, I like your house! Because it doesn't look like it came right out of a Pottery Barn catalog like most of my friends' houses do!"

I shrugged the comment off as what must have been a compliment, but then sometime later came back to it, and almost felt a little disappointed at the declaration. Hey, I thought, I own a few things from Pottery Barn. Like those cute little laughing stuffed animals that were given as a gift to my daughter and a set of napkin rings that were on clearance. But it's true, unlike many of my generation, that's about all that comes from Pottery Barn in my house.

It's funny, because at times, I've felt like I should have more of their elegant yet modern pieces of decor... I've been a little green-eyed with envy at the sight of those overly plush bath towels of theirs that a few of my friends have... I think, gosh, we should have registered there when we got married... and like many others I've drooled over their signature items like that red leather chair that everyone else loves, too.

But then, the more I think about it, I'm fine with taking her comment as a compliment, which is how I think she really meant it. I love having an eclectic collection of hand-me down furniture and decor along with what's either handmade, craigslisted, or bought at Ikea or the mom & pop furniture store where Moondoggie worked in college, because that pretty much describes our household, and it reflects the kind of lifestyle we live, too.

Don't get me wrong, I love leafing through the recent issue of Pottery Barn, and while I've tried to swear off catalog-browsing (for lack of time, and the decision to not bombard myself with more things I can't --and don't want to-- afford), Pottery Barn catalogs are fabulous resources for IDEAS. I've torn out many a page with an idea that I'd someday like to incorporate into that dream-built-from-scratch-home that I've fantasized about. I even tore out a picture for Moondoggie to build me a bench/coffee table just like one from PB (and he did an awesome job- too bad I can't find a photo of it right now!). In addition to their actual products which provide great ideas themselves, they have an amazing way of staging a room which can be very inspiring.

I don't expect to be able to afford anything out of a PB catalog anytime soon-- I just can't justify spending over a thousand dollars on that amazing craft table I'd like, so for now I'm content to use their catalogs as the inspiration that they are. And I'll continue to see my unique, eclectic home decor as a good thing.

If you're a big fan but just can't stomach the prices, here are a few ways to get around spending top-dollar for PB-like home fashions:

  • Get a part-time job at Pottery Barn or a related store (like a couple of my friends have smartly done), and then enjoy that employee discount!
  • Tear out pictures of furniture pieces you like and have a talented husband or a local carpenter make you an equivalent for much less.
  • Shop Craigslist & Ebay! My friend just bought a brand-new PB Kids nursery bedding set for way below retail price.
  • Take ideas from catalogs, but ultimately, decorate your house the way you like it, not the way you think it should look. Your home should reflect your family's personalities, not be a cookie-cutter impression of a catalog page.