Pottery Barn: Decorating friend or foe?

Who can resist the glossy catalogues full of photographs of perfectly attired rooms that arrive in the mail about once a month from Pottery Barn? I certainly can't stop myself from poring over the pages, despite my self-professed love for all things vintage and thrifted. There's just something about those handsomely styled rooms that draw me in.

I'm not interested in replicating the rooms, but I love the inspired assemblages of furniture and accessories. You can imagine my glee then when a Pottery Barn outlet store opened near my house last year.

Rows upon rows of merchandise beckoned. I heeded the call right away, excitedly scooping up merchandise, particularly in the back "clearance" room, where non-returnable items were typically marked down 75 percent.



The Pottery Barn outlet store is like a giant warehouse, with just a few snippets of the everyday living vignettes that have made them popular.

I'm particularly grateful for the kids' and teen items since there are so few brick-and-mortar options for these type of products.
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But. recently, the rows upon rows of the same merchandise has left me a little despondent. With about 200 Pottery Barn stores throughout the United States and Canada (and 10 U.S. outlet stores), does this mean countless other people are sporting the same comforter, table, sofa or whatever's in stock at the moment?
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There's certainly a lot to be said for the variety of options offered by a store like Pottery Barn. Recently, I was looking for a specific shade of pink for two pillowcases to update the bedding on my two-year-old's toddler bed (recently converted from a crib) and found exactly what I was looking for at the outlet.
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To be sure, it can be comforting to have a store like Pottery Barn, where its talented designers anticipate or perfect a trend. And certainly those well-designed catalogues play a big role in stoking our interest in the store.
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Pottery Barn isn't exactly cheap, unless you're lucky or patient enough to snatch up what you want on sale, but the store does offer convenience, variety, and designs to fit most styles.
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For example, those of us with a hankering for quality rugs at somewhat affordable prices can find them at Pottery Barn. The outlet prices are even better, but the outlet rugs are non-returnable so you have to be sure about your purchase.
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Table and kitchen linens are available in an ever-evolving array of colors and designs.



And, I really can't say enough of about the kids' offerings. As the parent of two little ones, I've shopped everywhere from Target to exclusive online boutiques and I constantly find myself returning to Pottery Barn Kids for its variety, quality and sales.
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This is why the outlet store continues to attract my attention even though I've become more immune to its charms. As an inveterate bargain-shopper, I find msyelf constantly drawn to the Pottery Barn outlet not just for the expected lower prices but also for another bonus: all the brands owned by Williams-Sonoma, Inc. under one roof. This includes: Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, Pottery Barn Bed + Bath, Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home and West Elm.
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Let's face it. You're not likely to find these prices even at Target.

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I've yet to buy anything from the Williams-Sonoma Home line, mostly because of astonishingly high prices, even at the outlet.

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Of course, I must mention the trade-offs. Most of the furniture is still not cheap, though it is far less expensive than catalog prices and a major attraction for most shoppers is not having to pay high shipping prices. If you're buying a sofa at the outlet, you must be willing to take the same sofa where countless husbands/significant others have sat while waiting for their loved ones to shop.
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Shopping at the outlet also gives me the opportunity to see all the damaged merchandise and defects in workmanship, which is not always a pretty sight. I've seen many items that seemed better destined for a dump or the workshop of a very handy carpenter.
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You must also be willing to shop in a warehouse atmosphere. Though mostly friendly, outlet staff are often harried and checkout times can be quite lengthy.

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My fondness for Pottery Barn is a little embarassing since I do often pride myself on finding unique items for my home. I decide it's time for a little inventory check. I look around my house and count off to myself all the Pottery Barn items we own. Most are accessories (pillows, organizational items) scattered throughout the house, while five pieces of furniture form the backdrop for my home office.
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I don't know how most people would fare during such an inventory, but I suppose I didn't do too bad considering I've regularly trolled the halls of the Pottery Barn outlet since it first opened.

I remember then that I enthusiastically gushed to a Pottery Barn outlet employee about how overjoyed I was to find so many bargains. "How do you do it?" I asked, "How do stop yourself from buying up the store?" He looked at me quizzically, then responded quietly, "Well, there's always the mortgage to think about."
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Oh, that.


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Thank goodness for that.
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4 comments:

Margaret said...

Thanks for all the info, but where exactly is the PB outlet? Address? Thanks you, Margaret

Minnie said...

Hi Margaret, You may have missed a a link I included to the 10 outlet stores in the United States. The web page takes you directly to a list of the addresses/phone numbers of the stores. Here is the web address: http://www.potterybarn.com/customer-service/outlets-store-list.html

Thank you for stopping by!

vanessa @ silly eagle books said...

Hi Minnie--I too, am in love with the pottery barn outlet!! I found a great deal on Juliet's headboard that I couldn't beat even with a much uglier one at Wal-mart, so that was amazing.

I also picked up several items of baby clothing for Lucia this summer--$1.99 a piece! That's almost goodwill prices! :)

Kelly Ann said...

Thank you for all the photos!

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