Sourcing & Planning

Behind The Daily Dupe

October 13, 2021

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Once upon a time, I fell in love with a coffee table. Money was a little tight, but we saved up the $1,085 to buy it because once I saw it — no other coffee table would do. It was my first furniture splurge, and I was so nervous and excited. When I arrived, it was even better in person! I styled and restyled it. I photographed it from every angle. I was so happy!

I was even happier when a member of our audience shared a dupe — it was the exact dimensions, weight, material for under $300! I couldn’t wait to share this lucky find with everyone! Would I have bought the budget version if I had seen it first? In this case — no. I was emotional about that coffee table. It meant a lot for me to save up for it and to buy it and to bring it into my home and to love it. But sometimes, the difference between getting what we want and settling for what we can afford* is too steep. That’s when a dupe is a gift from heaven!

*”Afford” is subjective. We all value different things at different dollar amounts. While I can’t imagine spend $500 on a bag; others can’t imagine spending $500 on a rug. To each their own!

See more of our reading room and find sources here!

After discovering that first dupe, I started having a lot of fun finding them. We published really cool “look for less” blog posts and had a ball researching them. Last fall, we started posting “The Daily Dupe” every day on Instagram. We show two look-alike products in Instagram Stories, and our followers guess which is the dupe. Then we reveal the prices of both. Some look-alikes are so good, it’s genuinely difficult to guess the OG! I thrill in hearing from followers who clicked through and bought the dupe, so happy to have found a budget option of a favorite rug or chair or coffee table. I’m never surprised when I get a DM from someone in love with the “original” version, like I was with my coffee table. We get excited together!

I still can’t get over how good this dupe is, and so many of our followers thought so, too!

Finding Inspiration in a Dupe

The whole point of finding dupes is to keep people from hitting roadblocks because of budget. When you fall in love with [insert your favorite home find here], and it feels outside of your wallet’s reach, your options are to (1) save up or (2) find a dupe. Let’s also practice thinking, “Okay now that I know what I like, how can I achieve this with the budget I have?”

Actually recently I was really wanting to find a dupe of the Jenni Kayne Shearling-Lined Mule because I can’t get myself to spend $400 on a pair of shoes. I found a great dupe from Madewell, but there’s actually a great dupe of the dupe at Target and I think that’s the whole point of it. Knowing what you like, and finding an option that makes sense for you. It’s all about finding achievable style and achievable design.

Finding the Dupes

When it comes to finding the dupes, we wrote a whole blog post about it here. Pinterest is the ace in the hole when it comes to finding good dupes, and it’s not a secret. It’s an image search, and anybody can do it. We actually popped the new chandelier hanging in our bedroom into Pinterest because, again, this is about finding options for all the budgets, and this is what Pinterest found! Incredible.


This Eames chair dupe is a controversial example. We actually own the dupe and it’s an incredible dupe, but we received some backlash when we shared this. The original Eames Lounge chair and ottoman were designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company in 1956. They are important pieces of furniture, pop culture, and modern art. To own or to aspire to own the real Eames chair is exciting and special! But is a furniture knockoff more controversial than a fashion knockoff? Maybe? There’s a bigger discussion here about intellectual property–but, Daniel Kanter wrote a lovely, funny piece about the Real vs. Fake Eames Chair, and it’s a must-read.

Overall, we just hope that The Daily Dupe is fun and eye-opening to see the options out there. There are times when it’s not worth spending your money on a dupe because the quality isn’t great. With any purchase, there’s a gamble and the dupe isn’t always going to be comparable quality.

It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes you might want to DIY the dupe yourself. Cass at @cassmakeshome is DIY-ing an outdoor sofa that was more money than she wanted to spend, and I am in full-support! It’s one-of-a-kind and handmade: priceless.

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What do you think?

  1. Jeannine520 says:

    I have mixed feelings about dupes. I’m not one who likes to change out the furniture in my house regularly, when I buy a couch I intend to have it forever so I can justify the high price of the original and buy it. Problem is, is that some people can’t afford it and won’t be able to anywhere in the near future or maybe even ever and they should have options beyond the thrift stores and craigslist. I don’t know what the answer is but if one cares enough to read design blogs they obviously know the value of having nice surroundings for their families to live in and therefore deserve the opportunities to make it happen, whatever their budget is.

    The Eames chair is a tricky one and I’m loathe to declare any of these things a black and white issue. Dupes of the Eames chair have been available for as long as I’ve been alive. If one doesn’t want to add to the design stealing, 30 year old dupes can be found on craigslist every day of the week here in the S.F. bay area. I have a real one but to be honest the reason for having it instead of a dupe wasn’t because I was worried about intellectual property.

  2. Nicola says:

    I think dupes have a place because not everyone can afford the real thing and no one should be excluded from good design. But I can always pick the dupe – it’s like having a real artwork versus a poster of the same artwork. If you can afford the real thing – and can get hold of it ( because the real thing is often in limited supply) I doubt you would be content with a dupe. Where I become uncomfortable with dupes is (a) when they are poor quality and (b) when they are regarded by the consumer to be cheap enough to be disposable. Unless it is going to treasured like the original it’s bad for the planet.

    • Jeannine520 says:

      I think you’ve really touched on something regarding contentment. I can feel contentment with much less than I *can* have and afford in some areas and absolutely *not* in some other areas. You’re comment sparked a lot of thought. We all have our limits and ideas of value and I think it doesn’t have much to do with budget or price of the items. Interesting.

    • Jo says:

      Love this perspective. A great point.

  3. Emily Neuberger says:

    I feel like my comment has not been let through moderation on purpose.

  4. Michelle says:

    This is why I love – if I fall in love with something I always check there first to see if there’s an identical cousin I could fall for, too!

  5. Ashley says:

    I have been DESPERATELY trying to find a dupe for this wall scone: It would look amazing in my bedroom but $800 a pop is far too much for me. If anyone knows of a dupe plz let me know!!

  6. Emily Neuberger says:

    Oh man I have such mixed feelings. I used to not mind a good dupe but the more I learn the more I care. I get it, we can’t all afford the real thing, but I just can’t get behind perpetuating the copying of someone else’s work. Probably more so than the average person, because my fiancé works with companies to license mid century furniture designer’s work for reproduction, to ensure that if they are being reproduced that they do so with the designer/family being fairly compensated. To you it might just be a cheaper chair you can afford, but to that designer it is lost income and lost intellectual property. They aren’t just created by some company conglomerate, but often by individual people.

    • Alison says:

      Such a good point of view. I never looked at it this way and will definitely keep in mind going forward!

    • Leigh says:

      This is the part I can’t get over either. As someone who works in the art industry, I cannot stand it when I see people sell huge prints of an artist or especially a photographer’s work on Etsy for $50, when the real print is $20,000. I feel very firm that if you cannot afford it, you should move on to something else instead of buying something akin to stealing an artist’s work. While daily dupe is something that seems fun and harmless, it’s actually a very influential Instagramsr with a substantial say in the industry approving and encouraging this theft of intellectual property from sometimes hard working individuals and other times craftsmen who dedicate their life to making those incredible pieces that are actually worth paying the fair price for. As someone who also sells her own ideas and designs through partnerships and things like presets, I’m kind of confused she would encourage the copying of creative design.

    • Dawn says:

      I have similar thoughts, all while knowing I have dupes in my own home. Unwittingly. That $1000 coffee table Julia highlights is probably also a dupe, at a midrange price. There was probably an original that cost $10,000 or more.

      And that’s what I mean by unwittingly. If I see furniture I like and proceed to purchase, I’m not researching to see if it’s a copycat. And unless it’s extremely high end, it’s probably a copycat of something from somewhere. Where to draw the line is difficult. I do like that stores like Target et al are working with actual designers to have lines that are affordable and have the blessing of the designers themselves. That’s a start.

  7. Tanya says:

    I love dupes. I would love if you shared some good ones occasionally on your blog. I don’t use social media so can’t see your Instagram posts.

  8. Brittany says:

    Thanks for sharing! I love a good dupe. I’d love to hear your thoughts on dupes for artwork, especially since you’re an art lover and you appreciate original pieces. I also wonder why some areas (e.g. furniture) seem more “acceptable” to dupe than other areas (e.g. artwork). Is it all art at the end of the day, regardless of its form?

  9. Sarah says:

    This was a fun read. I love finding new to me websites, and have been reading Daniel Kanter’s site this morning, from your link. I would love to see a few other design related sites that you enjoy!

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