The one and only thing I'm able to pass by.

By Katherine Owen
HomeGoods Shopping Carts
Credit: James Leynse/Getty Images

I come by it honestly—I love a home bargain. Whether a crusty old vintage chest that has been repeatedly passed over, or a standard sheet set for $35, I have a hard time not imagining how I can now, finally, redecorate once again based on this new find. So as you can imagine, to me, HomeGoods is a pretty good time.

There's a lot I do suggest seeking out there. Throw pillows. Fancy-but-bargain-priced soaps to fool your friends. Literally any and all of the odd little tech trinkets guarding the check-out line. But there is one thing I won't buy there. (No, it's not the clearance aisle snacks—I'm no snob, okay.) Art is where I just keep on moving along.

The art you will find at your local HomeGoods doesn't come with a backstory. It's not very personal, and it robs you of an opportunity to 1) decorate your home, 2) with something meaningful, while 3) supporting an independent artist. Triple-whammy! And, not only that, but frankly it often looks as mass-produced as it is, and that's just not helping anybody.

The frames? Excellent. Mirrors? Excellent. But just pass on over the art unless you'd like to recreate that feeling of walking into your 8th grade dance and seeing someone rocking the same A-line tulle number as you. Not great! Instead, do a little digging on some local Southern artists. We've got many, and they all have portfolios full of works that would be right at home on your wall. Then when someone asks what the story on a certain piece is, you have one to tell.

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So go ahead and add that to your bargain hunt best practices, like avoiding the store on Saturdays and Sundays, and shopping with an open mind. And of course—never leave something you want to come back for later. It'll just end in heartbreak.