If Target was feeling a little dull and dowdy a year ago, it's not anymore.
The hippest big-box chain has come roaring back with a collection of new merchandise collections, the hottest of which is Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Hearth and Hand line of home goods.
Shoppers envious of their makeovers on HGTV's Fixer Upper show can now try to work the couple's magic on their own fixer-uppers.
However, you might want to be careful: Due to something called "the Target effect," which occurs when you buy much more than you intended, it's easy to overspend on Chip and Joanna's sensible country-themed furnishings. (And the curtains across the aisle. And, what the heck, a $34 jar shaped like a pineapple . You'll find a use for it, right?)
We went shopping with fashion and shopping blogger Megan Fenno to help sort the must-haves from the maybe-laters.
Great looks at a good price
Fenno said the Hearth and Hand accessories are flying off the shelves because they are a killer combination: Fashionable and reasonably priced. The cheapest items in the line, such as napkins and place-card holders, clock in at about $3 each. The most expensive, which include large standing lamps and a metal chandelier, top out at under $200. Most of the rest sit in the $20-$40 range.
"They are well made, quality trend pieces that you can mix and match," she said. "That is perfect for a lot of people on a budget."
Not sure how to mix them? No problem.
Fenno said Target is ideal for people who have a terrible time mixing and matching home items -- we've all been there, right? -- and often end up with great home accessories that look horrible together in the same room.
"The whole collection works together, and is very cohesive," Fenno said. In other words, it's really tough to mess up a room if you stay in the right lane.
Some of the products give customers some extra help by showing suggested layouts on the back of the box, such as partnering a glass and metal candle box with a picture frame. Some items also come in sets.
"I would start with a small room and just focus on that," Fenno advised amateur home decorators. "Kind of get an idea down. (Ask yourself,) do you want a wreath, candleholders?"
Refinery29 recently listed its favorite products under $50 in Chip and Joanna's current fall line, such as a wreath, serving tray, and pumpkin pie serving platter.
How to find a sale
As affordable as the items are, Fenno said they typically sell for full price because Target doesn't need to mark them down to move inventory.
She advised penny-pinchers to check Target's Cartwheel app, which often has one or two Chip and Joanna items on sale.
You should be nice to your store's associates no matter what, but Fenno said being a good customer can also have perks: If you ask politely, they may tell you when the sales will start.
Although Target is stocked with fall merchandise now, it will begin getting holiday decorations in September. That means in with the new and on sale with the old.
Not for everyone
One caution: Target's Magnolia line is not for everyone. If you want urban chic, look at some of Target's other new collections. This is more of a farmhouse look: Brass, plaid, light-colored wood and lots of cozy forest green.
As always, know what you're looking for and don't waste your money.
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