Friday, April 24, 2009

A quick tip on a couple of nice--and inexpensive--home decor sources

We all like to have a nice living space, one that reflects who we are and makes us feel relaxed and happy. But most of us don't have the budget to hire an interior designer, so we put together what we can, the best we can. And we try not to spend a king's ransom in the process.

There are so many ways to find decorating ideas we like--Pottery Barn and other home furnishings catalogs, home magazines like Dwell and Metropolitcan Home. But taking those ideas and translating them into something usable and affordable is the real challenge. IKEA is always a great place to browse, and so are Target and eBay. As I've mentioned before, eBay is a marvelous place to hunt for home decor items (as well as fashion, jewelry, shoes and accessories), and I've accumulated a list of favorite sellers over the years. It's time to share a couple more with you.

If you like Asian themes or accents, then check out the offerings of Chinese Traditional and Fun Alliance. Both began as eBay sellers, but have gone on to have stand-alone online stores. I've purchased extensively from both of them over the years, and have a pretty nice collection of original Chinese watercolors and calligraphy paintings from them. Their prices are astonishingly good, and the sheer volume of paintings and scrolls that Chinese Traditional offers may just overwhelm you. The scroll I've pictured here is from their site. Oh, and shipping is included on all of their pieces--so a good deal just got a whole lot better.

Fun Alliance, hosted by Kam Leung, offers a slightly different selection of items, and you'll find things like yixing teapots, textiles and bamboo sculptures in addition to original paintings and scrolls. And, Kam's a funny guy. He writes travelogues from his ongoing adventures and posts them on his site--along with gorgeous photographs--so you may get distracted for awhile reading all about Kam's trips. Two of my favorite pieces came from his eBay sales several years ago--a watercolor of two horses, and an especially stunning watercolor of plum blossoms. Kam has a great eye for art (he re-sells pieces he buys and sometimes commissions from local artists), so you can be confident in the quality of the pieces he sells.

I think you'll have fun browsing those two stores, and if Asian art isn't your thing, just wait a bit. I'll be back soon with more out-of-the-way stores with great finds.

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