Generally, one comes to Austin for the festivals, the summertime revelry and the perpetual summer weather. However, once you’ve checked all the tourist boxes, it’s time to branch out and discover some of the cultural gems that make this city such a magnet. One place to start is the design stores. Whether you’re looking for a memento to take home or you’ve decided that you’re moving here and need to furnish your apartment, here are the best design stores to inspire you on your home beautification journey.
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APT F | Courtesy of APT F
Run by an interior designer whose love of rugs outgrew her own home, APT F is the number one destination for those looking for floor coverings. From Persian to Moroccan, each rug is hand selected before it is shipped in, inspected and verified. You can find everything from violet floor runners to a more classic geometric pattern in a neutral pallet. Keep your eye on her Instagram to get the right price for your dream rug.
The first place to direct anyone hunting for vintage rarities and thrifty finds is North Loop Boulevard. Lined with countless thrift stores and second-hand shops, plus a few eateries and cocktail bars, the street is a one-stop shop for the bargain shopper. Room Service is one of the best, a 3,500-square-foot space in an old pharmacy, packed with everything from furniture, jewelry, home décor, artwork, books and more. Established in 1981, the store recently celebrated over 35 years as a favorite central Austin establishment. Be sure to follow their Instagram, where they post the latest finds; if you see something you like, call the store to reserve an item for up to two hours.
Walking into Jonathan Adler is like taking a shower in the colors of happiness. If you enjoy décor that is slightly out of the ordinary and requires consideration, this is the store for you. With quirky salt and pepper shakers that look almost as if they want to be a decoration on the end tables next to wildly pattered sofas, this store is sure to give your home the personality it was missing. The pricey playfulness (think decorative objects resembling pharmaceuticals and reversible Peruvian rugs) at Jonathan Adler is worth every penny. Adler’s background as a ceramicist is apparent in items like sleek sofas, museum-worthy floor lamps and banana-shaped vases.
If you prefer timeless pieces that weather trends, Back Home should be your first destination. This French-style living décor is inspired by the owner’s frequent trips to Paris and Provence where she brings back hand-picked, curated pieces that have their own story and are one of a kind.
A boutique in every sense of the word, this shop offers a well-curated selection of choices. Whether you wander in here for inspiration from the upper echelons of design or you’re looking for a tasteful housewarming gift, everything at Prize exudes elegance and will help you make inspired choices.
Urbanspace takes modern interiors to the next level and is an essential stop for anyone who dreams of clean lines and Scandi designs. Because they only carry top-end designers, each piece in the showroom screams with personality, and if you’re really into one-of-a-kind, the shop is the exclusive local carrier of Swedish contemporary designs from Asplund.
Small and locally cultivated, this shop is a gem waiting to be discovered. However, because of the nature of craftsmanship, most pieces are made in tiny quantities, and therefore the shop’s selection is continually rotating. Don’t worry though; if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, the shop’s designers will create you the custom piece of your dreams.
If you loved Ikea in college, Blu Dot is like walking into the adult-upgraded version. There are only four Blu Dot showrooms in the U.S., and Austin is lucky to be the recipient of one of them. The sleekly designed modern furniture is the epitome of the crossroads of beauty and functionality. Once you walk in, you’ll have to admit that clean lines never looked so good.
There is something for everyone at this consignment shop. If you’re interested in a 19th-century sofa that is begging to be refurbished into a masterpiece, or you just need an affordable set of china, take a moment to wander around the maze of home decorations that cover this warehouse floor.