Shopping at a surplus warehouse


My client and I visited a hotel surplus warehouse out in the valley (far out in the valley) this morning to shop for furniture for her new home office. These warehouses can be intimidating places to shop. Unlike stores like West Elm and CB2, in which beautiful vignettes are presented with matching furniture and accessories, these warehouses dump everything together in an overwhelming array of styles. It takes a discerning eye to spot the right pieces and to put together a room with each item pulled from different parts of the enormous space. But we did it! We found the perfect combination of a desk, desk chair, and a small armchair, all new for under $500 (!!).



So a few tips for those willing to brave the traffic into the valley (wherever your “valley” may be) in order to find some amazing deals:

  • Go during the off hours. We went at 9 am, when the store opened, on a weekday. Much easier to survey the landscape when it’s empty of gaggles of other shoppers.
  • Know in advance exactly what pieces in what kind of style and palettes of color you are seeking. With the abundance of items and styles, it’s too easy to become overwhelmed with choices. You have to be able to shut out all the stuff that’s out of your style range.
  • Be okay with used items. Although we bought all new pieces this time, in the past, I’ve picked up lamps, night tables, etc., that cost a fraction of retail price. Some of these things are from high class hotels like the Four Seasons and look just fine with a little wear and tear.
  • Ask for discounts. Although the tagged prices are already far below what you’d find at West Elm, you can often get even better deals if you ask nicely.
  • Arrange the transportation beforehand. Many of these warehouses have minimal customer service. If you aren’t planning on buying many large pieces, take the family SUV or ask a friend with a truck for help.
  • Take a friend or designer, whose taste you trust, along with you. They might spot something you don’t see or give you a hand in moving the pieces around so that you can create your own vignette.

I hope these tips help you become a warehouse warrior and save you some serious cash! Happy shopping!


Mina Yang

Mina Yang is a certified feng shui and design consultant and coach (as well as the mother of two energetic kids). She helps people transform their space (and life!) through her designs and online course on feng shui-inspired design.

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