Best Home Decorations 2014 | Life of Riley | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

One of these days, we're going to show up at Life of Riley — Deep Ellum's fantastic interior design spot — with a suitcase and just live there. And not because it's so close to Pecan Lodge. Well, not entirely because of that. Mostly, we just want to stay in the homey, gleefully curated space surrounded by old-school maps on the walls and the store's signature scent — a zesty mix of frankincense, myrrh, Indonesian teak and spice available in the form of locally poured candles. Owners Billy Milner and Jerod Dame have stocked the Main Street spot with quirky trinkets, timeless furniture and lush decor that would live out a lifetime in our homes. On a recent visit, we spotted houndstooth upholstered chairs out of a mid-century dream, glass lamps with vintage contours we're still salivating over and an antique wooden toy train that we had to restrain ourselves from taking for a spin. Bottom line: We want it all.

Five full-time experienced framers on staff handle framing jobs from $25 to $2,000, mostly in the $50 to $150 range, with most jobs completed within three days, a maximum of seven days for the most challenging work. Their ample staff allows Art Frame Expo to specialize in emergency rush jobs. In several visits they have always been open to whatever modification the customer wanted done, including some to get the work done cheaper. In one case they agreed to salvage an old frame that a lot of frame shops wouldn't have messed with. Obviously getting it framed by professionals costs more than doing it yourself, but at least the difference is plain to see when you get it done here.

This gigantic thrift-store-slash-antique-mall is excellent for perusing wares of all kinds, but the furniture selection is unparalleled. The styles of furniture range from traditional to contemporary, but you'll have the best luck if your style is more mid-century. There are dozens of couches, tables, chairs and knickknacks that will make your space feel exactly like the set of Mad Men. Each booth is run by an individual vendor, which occasionally means that you can do a little haggling.

Best Place to Find Weird Vintage Goodness


There could be no name more apt for this Lakewood shop than Curiosities. Those among us who find design inspiration in the quirky and utterly weird will certainly come across something to love in this well-curated collection. As you shop, you'll find buckets of random goodies like old coins, political campaign buttons and a seriously good selection of vintage jewelry. Stay alert, though — the occasional stuffed animal may scare the bejeezus out of you while you're sifting through one of the stacks of old postcards.

Best Place to Feel Nostalgic about Your Childhood


Geeks who grew up in the '70s or '80s will be in nostalgia heaven as soon as they walk through the doors to B4. The front of the store looks like a Toys "R" Us that has been time-warped back to 1986. Among the Star Wars figurines, metal Ninja Turtle lunchboxes and random old toys (Stretch Armstrong, anyone?), the back of the store is sort of like a music museum, full of reasonably priced vinyl and weird old music memorabilia. The selection is impressively large, and you'll also be able to find the next up-and-coming trend in vintage analog music: cassette tapes.

This is the kind of thrift shop where serious thrifters do their shopping. The clothing racks, surprisingly filled with lots of brand new, brand-name items, are perfect for building wardrobe basics on a budget. Genesis Benefit Thrift store also has a deceptively good collection of books, and a nice selection of charming decorations for that dose of kitschy character your apartment desperately needs. Best of all, the few bucks you will be plunking down go to benefit victims of domestic violence. Win-win.

Pandemonium! may very well be the only place you'll ever need to buy an outfit for that tacky Halloween or "throwback Thursday" party your friends are planning. Located on Lower Greenville, the best (and worst) fashions of the '60s, '70s and '80s are crammed into every nook and cranny of this tiny little shop, meaning that it's easy to find the bell-bottoms or paisley shirt to complete your look. Occasionally you can also find a hidden gem that looks perfect with all those clothes you buy at Urban Outfitters and ModCloth. Sure, it's a little too kitschy sometimes, but couldn't we all use a little more twee in our lives?

Best Place to Find an Outfit to Go with Your Fedora

Thrift World

The duds here aren't always high-end, but the clothing racks at Thrift World sometimes yield delicious designer finds. If brand names don't concern you, though, you could easily assemble your entire yuppie-bohemian wardrobe here from the rows of early-'90s flashback fashion that seems to be so popular with that crowd. A true thrift store, Thrift World is extremely reasonably priced, and it isn't uncommon to find an item that never saw a bit of wear before landing on their shelves. You may have to do some digging here, but it will certainly be worth it.

No, this isn't a vintage store, regardless of what the name might imply. Rather, this Henderson Avenue gift shop (which has a second location in the Bishop Arts District) is stocked full of books, prints, apparel, art and even snacks. It's the perfect spot to grab a unique, handmade card or piece of jewelry. Want to give something a bit more personal? We Are 1976 offers workshops in which you can learn how to knit, make a terrarium and even carve your own stamps.

If an acid trip could be recreated as a retail shop, it would be Voodoo Chile. It's technically billed as a "vintage store," but this place functions much more like an art gallery for its eccentric owner who claims that his name is actually Jimi Hendrix. Weird is an understatement for many of the items on these crammed shelves, like doll heads spinning on turntables, bizarre specimens in bell jars and old horror memorabilia. There's also a surprisingly solid collection of well-loved vinyl that you can buy on the cheap and a dizzying array of bedazzled "tobacco pipes." Wink wink.

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