If you're staying in more these days, you may be growing tired of that sofa or those draperies. By shopping at the right time of year, you can get great deals on high-end home goods. We've compiled a list of exceptional seasonal sales and deep-discount back-room bargains from selected retailers in town and within a few hours' drive.
Crate & Barrel (Short Pump Town Center, 364-0820)
Just about the time you've taken the ornaments off the tree, head up to the second floor to the close-out area for reductions that won't be on the Internet. Why? Because the merchandise includes floor samples, pieces with minor damage and returns. Reductions start at a mere 10 percent in late December but go up by 10 percent each week until the item reaches maximum discount sometime in mid-January. Sale repeats in June.
Chadwick Antiques (5805 Grove Ave., 285-3355)
Bored by bowl games on New Year's Day? Chadwick's owner, Pat Goldman, offers a bit of retail therapy with 40 percent off her entire inventory of elegant traditional furnishings, including silver, crystal, lamps and antiques. (Sale repeats on Memorial Day, Labor Day and July 4th.) Should you find yourself anticipating a refund come tax time, there's a four-day "gambler's sale," with items sequentially reduced by 10 percent more each day. The gamble: Will that item you coveted on Day 1 still be around on Day 4?
Printer's Alley (5478 W. Broad St., 285-4708)
Trims and remnants for as low as $1 a yard? You bet. Along with 50 to 80 percent off selected fabrics, lamps, rugs and other accessories. The sale begins in mid-March and continues for a week.
La Différence (125 S. 14th St., 648-6210)
Every April, the city's foremost international furnishing store holds its version of a garage sale, with great discounts on selected home and office furnishings and accessories at its onsite garage. The sale runs for four days, with the first of those days reserved for regular customers notified in advance by postcard or e-mail.
Chadwick Antiques (see January)
Owen Suter's Fine Furniture (4408 W. Broad St., 359-9569)
The line forms out the door at Suter's sample sale, held once in the spring and again the Friday after Thanksgiving. Depending on condition, the hand-crafted Colonial-reproduction furniture is reduced by 25 percent to 50 percent.
Chesapeake & Crescent (24 N. Main St., Kilmarnock, 888-435-8801)
Owner Paula Thomasson capitalizes on the seasonal crowds that flock to the "rivah" by running a semi-annual warehouse sale on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. What's featured are chic and casual furnishings, with a sprinkling of antiques, that reflect upscale Northern Neck living, discounted from 50 percent to below cost. Whatever remains at the end of the day is up for haggling. Best yet, the store offers free delivery to Richmond.
Plow & Hearth (49 Commerce Lane, off Route 29 near Ruckersville, 540-948-5412)
You can always save at least 30 percent at this retailer's outlet store in the rolling hills of Madison County. But spring and fall the tents go up and the prices go down (up to 70 percent) on catalog overstocks, discontinued and one-of-a-kind merchandise that includes deck and patio furniture; fireplace accessories; garden accents; holiday décor and more.
Williams & Sherrill (2003 Huguenot Road, 320-1730)
This haven for fabrics, wallpapers, and home furnishings holds 20 and 30 percent sales on a regular basis, but the door-busting event comes each May and November when owner Patrick Williams brings floor samples, furniture and accessories from his main store to his interior outlet a few doors down and reduces them up to 75 percent. The sale begins on Saturday and continues for more than a week.
Caspari (100 W. Main St., Charlottesville, 434-817-7881)
Known for high-end paper goods, china, and home accessories, Caspari holds its annual back-room sale beginning the last week in June and continuing through the first week of July. What you'll find is a great selection of discontinued designer paper plates (just in time for summer cookouts), napkins, stationery and a sprinkling of home accessories at ridiculously low prices.
Crate & Barrel (see January)
These Four Walls (1401 E. Cary St., 622-6201)
From drawer pulls to teak benches, this Shockoe Bottom retailer imports global furnishings from exotic ports of call. A warehouse sale, held the last weekend of June and again in the fall and spring, features overstocks, leftovers and scratch-and-dents at 50 percent to 80 percent off.
Libbie and Grove Sidewalk Sale (Libbie and Grove avenues, Richmond)
For lovers of the small boutiques along this walkable Richmond shopping neighborhood, you can't beat the discounts on merchandise that line the sidewalks in mid-July. The only thing more sizzling than the sale is the temperature.
Plow & Hearth (see May)
Chesapeake & Crescent (see May)
Yves Delorme (311 E. Main St., Charlottesville, 434-979-4111)
Put the turkey on ice and head out to Charlottesville the week of Thanksgiving. That's when this luxury French bedding and linen store holds its semi-annual outlet sale with 40 percent to 80 percent reductions. It's the time to purchase gorgeous linens for your holiday table. (The sale is repeated the last two weeks of April, but the discounts are not as substantial.)
Williams & Sherrill (see May)
Owen Suter's Fine Furniture (see May)
Green Front Furniture (North Main Street, Farmville, 434-392-5943)
With a dozen warehouses — totaling 12 football fields — chock full of traditional home furnishings of every description, Green Front has become a destination of its own for Central Virginia shoppers. Although prices are routinely well below retail on brand-name furnishings, carpets, antiques, accessories and patio pieces, further reductions are always a possibility.
The Interior Outlet (Huguenot Village Shopping Center, 320-6050)
Steps away from Williams & Sherrill — with its 4,000 bolts of fabric and variety of home furnishings — is The Interior Outlet, with 2,000 bolts and discounted furnishings. The difference? The outlet holds fabric prices at $10 to $15 a yard. In-stock wallpaper is also reduced as well as furniture and holiday items. Look for its spring and fall sidewalk sales for super bargains.
Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets (241 Fort Evans Road, N.E., Leesburg, 703-737-3071)
Get ready for the mother lode of big-box home furnishing outlet stores all at one location: Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma. Discounts range from 30 percent to 85 percent and are catch-as-catch-can. Most interesting is the inclusion of high-end furnishings from WS Home (Williams Sonoma Home) that can be found at the Pottery Barn outlet, which owns Williams-Sonoma.
JoPa Company (8711 W. Broad St., 747-9700)
Visit this high-quality outdoor furniture store's "side porch" for discounted leftover inventory.
Random Harvest Antiques & Home Furnishings (810 King St., Alexandria, 703-549-8820)
Random Harvest features a mix of furniture and one-of-a-kind antiques. Exclusively in Alexandria is an area for slightly damaged, greatly reduced merchandise that you won't find at the Georgetown or Bethesda locations.
Ruth & Ollie (3445 W. Cary St., 288-3360)
Looking for modern and transitional furnishings at a good price? Sign up online or at the store for "secret" notifications of floor-sample sales that can be had for up to 50 percent off.
Shades of Light (4924 W. Broad St., 288-6515) and The Decorating Outlet (11523 Midlothian Turnpike, 329-3695)
One of the largest retail lamp and lighting stores, Shades used to send all closeouts to The Decorating Outlet on the South Side. Now their regular retail store has discounts up to 75 percent off with reduced lampshades on the back wall.
Tips from the Trade
Sign up for a store's e-mail.
We know you already get tons of junk e-mail, but many stores feature exclusive sales for regular customers on their e-mail lists.
Do in-store shopping.
In-store shopping holds a number of advantages over virtual shopping. One, you save shipping costs. Two, you're privy to reduced, floor-sample merchandise and scratch and dents not found online. Three, which may be the most important reason of all: you keep the bricks-and-mortar store thriving, helping to employ people in local communities.