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How to Shop Like an Interior Designer in Dallas

Plus, save the date for the best secret sales.
By D Home |
Nathan Schroder

Shop Like the Pros

For Home Forty Five Ten is the retail dwelling of our dreams. Rob Dailey curated top local design talent—including George Cameron Nash, Jan Showers, and Peacock Alley—to fill the 8,000-square-foot home boutique. You can shop lines that are normally reserved for to-the-trade showrooms, too, such as David Sutherland. We love the instant gratification—every item can be taken off the floor.

Design Experts Tell You How to Spend Your Budget


  • artwork

  • antique mantel

  • fabric

  • chandeliers

  • handmade tile

“Foundational pieces—a custom upholstered sofa or an outstanding dining table.”—Shelby Wagner


  • throws

  • pillows

  • kid spaces

  • drapery fabric

  • trendy decor

“These days, I use a matelassé coverlet instead of custom bedding because it can be easily cleaned, and it’s always the first thing to be replaced.”—Margaret Chambers

Shhh. These sales are our little secret.

These local to-the-trade showrooms and retail shops open their doors for yearly warehouse sales. Get on their mailing lists to find out about 2018 sale dates.

Lamp 101 with Jan Showers

Before you shop, gather your room details and dimensions. “My number-one rule is to figure out if you need ambient light or an opaque shade that only allows up-and-down lighting,” says designer Jan Showers. “Ambient shades include silk or linen. Opaque includes lacquered or metal shades.” Also, decide on a color scheme and measure the size of the table and commode, as well as ceiling height, to make sure the scale is right. It’s OK to mix and match styles—Showers loves the look—but always make sure the shades are similar in design and close to the same height.

To chop or not to chop?

We polled some of our Best Designers and asked if they prefer the untouched boxy shape to a pillow, or one with a slight inward curve—also known as a “chop.” It was a close call, but more designers opt for a quick karate whack to their pillows than not.

54% Yes | 46% No

Get discounted pillow inserts at Wherehouse Fabrics.

The Rug Primer with Fara Kayone of Abrash Rugs

Throw Down: Five Tips for Buying a Rug

Consider the source. “I always tell people: If you want to buy a good diamond, you don’t go to a store you don’t know,” says Fara Kayone of Abrash Rugs. Trusting your retailer usually means a better price and quality.

Watch your tone. Vegetable-dyed rugs, as opposed to chemically dyed, will develop a horizontal color gradience over time, which is a mark of high quality, according to Kayone. Machine-made rugs are often the same hue all over.

Ask how it was made. Similarly, a handspun rug will last longer than machine spun because the lanolin oil stays in the wool and helps it last for 200 to 300 years. “It’s like hair with conditioner versus no conditioner,” Kayone says.

Don’t keep score. Surprisingly, knot count is not the most important element to consider for decorative rugs. Even some low-quality rugs will still have a good knot count. “The quality should be in the wool and color and design,” she says.

Do your research. As with any investment piece, do your research. “I assume that anybody who walks in this store is smarter than me,” she says. She is always prepared to offer opinions, but the ultimate choice lies with you.

How to Shop for Upholstery

For 10 years, Ray Martin has been the third-generation owner of M&M Upholstery. Founded in 1957, the company upholsters pieces in all sorts of fabrics and leathers. Looking to have something custom made or refinished? For starters, he recommends not skimping on the fabric. Shops in the Design District like Kravet and Perennials are lines he often works with. He also recommends springing for that custom piece rather than buying a new piece you want to refinish anyway. “You’re not really saving a lot of money by taking something off the floor when you can have something custom fit your room and have a whole array of fabrics to choose from,” he says. “We’re seeing more color starting to come back.”

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