As a design lover, Anthropologie is hands down one of the the best places to window shop, browse and discover. There’s something inspirational and beautiful to see in every corner at of the store, and half the time, it’s not even merchandise but Anthropologie’s expert propping, styling and display pieces. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m in an Anthropologie, I get a “I never want to leave this place” feeling.
So after years of serious fangirling, I finally got the chance to talk to Kelly Cameron, a department manager at the fashion and home goods retailer. I asked her for the keys to the Anthro kingdom—that is, tips on how get their magical and alluring look at home. Lucky for you, I’m a sharer, so here are seven tips for basically turning your house into an Anthropologie store.
A signature scent is a must, even for your home
Yes, scent is a big part of the shopping experience at Anthropologie. “We always have a candle burning near the door right when you first walk in,” says Cameron. “Usually it’s Volcano, a very welcoming universal scent that sort of draws you in.”
If you shop in the store, you definitely know Volcano, Capri Blue’s iconic sugary citrus smell. Anthro conveniently stocks Volcano candles, diffusers, room spray, scented drawer liners and even hand lotion if you want to go for that scent at home. And as an aside, a little birdie at the NY Now trade show told me rollerball perfume is on the way (!!!!). So soon you’ll be able to smell like Anthropologie, too!
Figure out what piece you want as your room “narrator”
As they do in the Anthro catalogue and in store vignettes (as shown above from their Westport, Connecticut, outpost), Cameron recommends picking one special thing—a chair, a painting, or a rug, for example—and designing around that item, so it becomes your focal point. Maybe the “narrator” inspires your wall color or color palette for accessories and furnishings elsewhere in the room. But in order to tell a cohesive story in your interior, it’s important to have a special piece or two that pop, so other items recede, and you’re left with a well-balanced room.
Style fluidity is your friend
“I would say there are two different styles at Anthropologie: the more boho look that’s geared toward textiles and pattern play and then the kind of chateau-meets-English town home, more traditional vibe,” says Cameron. “The beauty is you can mix and play with both, just as we do in store.”
What does that mean exactly for your home? Contemporary, clean lined furniture, for example, could be accessorized with a classic Liberty print pillow. Or you can throw a big English club chair or roll arm Chesterfield sofa on an abstract modern rug, and call it a day. Trust, the Anthro magic is in the mix.
Found pieces add soul
Even though Anthropologie sells new furniture, their vintage game is strong, particularly in their store displays. That’s because visual merchandisers there know the importance of each store looking and feeling unique to customers. And the best way to do that, whether in a retail or residential space, is by peppering in one-of-a-kind, vintage finds with tons of character.
Before talking to Cameron, I had no idea that there’s a global buyer at Anthro who’s responsible for searching the world over for these often large-scale, super unique cabinets, tables, mirrors and more that you see in the displays at the store. Talk about a dream job! No two stores have the same found items. And you’re not going to find these kind of fixtures really in any other retail chain. Often, these found pieces are even for sale, so you could score serious Anthro vibes by buying one. Keep in mind though, they’re pretty pricey due to their size and rarity. So get thee to a flea market and look for something similar to add personality to your place.
Rearrange regularly to reinvigorate your home
When Anthropologie employees want a new look in the store, it doesn’t always mean bringing in new shelves, tables or chairs. Often, as Cameron points out, the staff will rearrange their found displays, surfaces and cabinets to give the store a facelift.
“Sometimes you’ll have cabinet hardware in a big hutch with drawers, and then a few months later, it’s beauty products in there,” says Cameron. So don’t be afraid to move things around your home. Switch the lamps in your bedroom for the ones in your living room. Or take artwork from your desk and swap it with something in your gallery wall.
See the beauty in everyday materials
One of Cameron’s all-time favorite decorative displays was a bunch of flowers made out of bread ties and cupcake liners. How cute would that kind of thing look in vase on a coffee table or even used to create a garland to hang over a little girl’s headboard?
The point here is that hardware store materials and everyday items (like cardboard, large swaths of fabric or even wine corks) can be DIYed into something special. Case in point: these cool painted stick decorative hangings I found mingling with the mannequins at my local Anthro. I can just see someone crafty using paint stirrers in a similar way to make a cool, colorful pendant shade lighting fixture. Someone get on that (and then send us photos)!
It’s all in the details
Little touches matter. “Things like switching out your hardware really make such a difference,” says Cameron. So do fresh fresh flowers in a funky vase and pretty entertaining pieces for your dinner parties. These are the kind of extras that Anthro really excels in, so buy any of these pieces, and you’ll be that much closer to living in an Anthropologie world.
And as Cameron points out, the store carries tons of small items like these, from dishes and dinnerware to cheeseboards and glasses (just check out their expanded Newport Beach store above!), so you don’t have to be a millionaire to shop at Anthro either.