I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’d never been to a HomeGoods until this weekend—they were always too far away, and I didn’t think the schlep would be worth my time. I was pleasantly surprised by the selection at the new 600 N. Michigan Ave. location. Rustic nesting tables that may have been made for Restoration Hardware, according to New York interior designer Elaine Griffin (an ambassador for the company, who was on hand for the opening—and is a riot, by the way) were only $150. Tons of beautiful lamps and mirrors were less than $100. And we saw plenty of brand-name look-alikes (almost-Thomas Paul pillows, almost-Jonathan Adler lamps, etc.) for half the price they’d be elsewhere. Griffin had a great tip—for furniture, check to see where the piece was made. If it was manufactured in North Carolina, for example, chances are the quality is pretty good. That said, if you want a pair of chairs, you may have to drive to every HomeGoods in Illinois to find a mate for the one you saw on Michigan Avenue. The company’s buyers purchase minimum quantities and pepper their stores with the finds. Oddly, the same rule applies to HomeGoods as does to antique shops: if you love it, buy it, because you may never see it again… at that price.