Sourcing & Planning

When I Buy the “Dupe”!

February 15, 2022

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In the study mood board, I showed the desk that I plan to sit at when I work from home (check out this post if you didn’t catch the news), and it’s here! It’s from Restoration Hardware and it’s originally $2075, but on clearance for $1162. Before making a purchase like this, I always hunt to see if there’s a dupe for a less expensive price. I like a good deal! I found one from Wayfair for $460. They have the same one at Home Depot for $419, and they’re nearly identical to mine!

So which one did I decide to buy and why??

Rug | Desk | Chair | Lamp | Chandelier | Mural | Paint Color: SW Sheraton Sage

I think that dupes are a complicated thing because obviously someone originally designed something and it’s getting ripped off. I also acknowledge that few of the stores that I shop at are probably even the original design. Not Restoration Hardware, and definitely not Wayfair. Something I’ve learned in our search for dupes and similar furnishings is even if I do opt to buy the more expensive of the two, I can generally find an actual designer piece that’s 400x more expensive. It’s a real “Devil Wear’s Prada” predicament. Someone designs the original, and a similar design trickles into stores like Restoration Hardware and other mass produced places.

I do think it’s nice that people can purchase a design they love at different price points. When we share our “Daily Dupes” on Instagram, oftentimes it’s 50/50 of people buying the dupe vs. the original. Very intriguing!

Buying the Dupe Vs. Original

Here’s where my mind goes when I’m trying to decide between buying the dupe vs. the original. First, I look at dimensions! Sometimes they might look very similar, but always compare the measurements! In this case the Restoration Hardware desk was a few inches taller than the others, which is desired for my height! In this house, with taller ceilings and larger rooms, we have found that larger light fixtures are needed and generally more expensive, too.

Also, what room is this going to be in and how is it getting used? If it’s not getting much use then I might go for the dupe. A sofa or bed get a lot of use, and might not wear as well with time if they’re the cheaper option. I probably won’t work at this desk every day, but I do hope to have it for a very long time.

I always look at materials too! Is it made out of solid wood or particle board? Our current kitchen cabinets are Stoffer Cabinetry. They are so high-end and feature solid wood materials. We’ve done many an IKEA kitchen because it fit the budget, but have splurged on hardware. Substantial hardware can elevate the cabinet look, plus they get pulled on every single day. A tough job calls for higher quality finishes. Again the restoration hardware desk? Hand-crafted from solid oak.

It’s not lost on me to look at shipping dates during times like these as well. Ultimately I decided on the Restoration Hardware desk because it checked all my boxes, (and I love that it had drawers on both sides that can all lock!) but I’ve gone for the dupe many times, and I’m always on the hunt. Here’s some instances when I’ve bought the dupe, and times when I’ve bought the original. I take this case by case!

Great Dupes!

*The one we have.

1. *Brass Curtain Rod $34  |  2. Brass Curtain Rod $109

3. Upholstered Sofa $900  |  4. *Kipton Sofa $4299

5. *Wicker Side Table $119  |  6. Josephine Side Table $750

7.  Bronze Crystal Chandelier $191  |  8. *Clarissa Round Chandelier $1399

9. Tabitha Arc Mirror $499  |  10. *Arched Metal Floor Mirror $1529

11. Athena Velvet Headboard $139  |  12. *Clementine Platform Bed $1498

13. *Mid Century Lounge Chair $639  |  14. Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman $7495

15. *Marble Accent Table $162 | 16. Marble Side Table $1394

17. *Marble Bistro Table $199  |  18.  Marble Bistro Table $1395

19. Wellfleet Pendant $405  |  20. *Piatto Pendant $790

Shop Dupes


What do you think?

  1. Amy says:

    It’s a bit subjective, but I think originality of the design is an important consideration. The brass curtain rod or marble cube table are nice, but it’s easy to imagine multiple people coming up with that same design. But when it comes to the Eames lounge chair, I can’t imagine anyone else coming up with that exact concept for a chair. It’s so unique, which is why it’s iconic. For me personally, it feels wrong to buy a dupe of an iconic original design like the Eames lounge chair, but I would definitely buy a dupe of something less original.

  2. Barbara says:

    I have been saving for an Eames Chair. I am not sure why, I just decided that all knock-offs would look really knocked off. Feeling really good that you bought the knock-off because then I can get the couch I really really want and go with the dupe that I am not sure is the best use of $$$. Thanks for scouting out the good stuff.

  3. Louise P-G says:

    I think this is a really interesting conversation. I like your point about the fact that we often buy something and don’t even know if it’s the original.

    I work as an independent jeweller and copyright is a huge problem in our industry.

    Now that you have some original designs for products like rugs, do you feel any attachment to those designs Julia? If you start seeing exact replicas sold for less how are you going to feel?

  4. Love this! And those amazon gold curtain rods are great, I’ve ordered those myself!

  5. Anna says:

    I go for the original, or I find another option. I hate straight-up rip-offs of an original design — I just think, couldn’t you be more creative? Couldn’t you bring something (anything!) new to the table? All the Eames dupes make me sad. The worst thing for me is when something becomes so common that really original design becomes commoditized. I see a lot of Lampe Gras 214s popping up but people don’t understand the provenance and they all just think it’s from Amazon. Cry!

  6. Kim says:

    I bought a really similar desk from World Market a few years ago. I felt so fancy when I saw you picked almost the same! I will say 5 years later the drawers to my dupe are not working great so totally agree on the “heavily used” criteria.

  7. Janice says:

    Love this post so much! Mixing high end with dupes is the way to go! What happened to the pair of RL chairs you had purchased for this room?

    • I still have them! They are currently in our living room! Might move to the top of the stairs at some point. We just love collecting pieces that can move from space to space.

  8. Danna F says:

    I love your daily dupes and always impressed with how hard it is to get which is the dupe at times. Your mental thoughts were very insightful. We are building and I will need to look for less expensive items at times and this post is very helpful.
    Can you share how you go about looking for an item? I am sure there is a simple way to search for it in images or something.

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