Earlier this week, I was part of a group of design and parenting bloggers flown out to Chicago by Kmart and plied with chocolate fondue, before meeting the talented and extremely passionate Kmart home design team who gave us a big sneak peak as to where they’re headed. Because I’m an ardent fan of companies that aim to make great design accessible and affordable for the masses (thus, my love for Target) I was intrigued–if admittedly skeptical.
While I think Kmart still has a core audience that loves its damask, I was particularly impressed by the Ty Pennington style collection. The Costa del Mar chair has great mid-century inspired lines and for $59 each (yes!) I’m thinking of making a switch myself. It comes upholstered in a hot red too, or as a leggy barstool. I’m also digging the colorful selection of bamboo towels, part of Kmart’s burgeoning effort to green up the place, and the funky serving platters in melamine and ceramic that look as good as anything in our favorite modern shops. It is truly not what I would have expected from them.
From a design standpoint, Kmart also nailed their new collection of bedding for college kids (remember those extra-long twin days?). My fave, the mod-like dot/stripe pattern, also come in a full/queen size, but would be killer as crib and toddler sheets. And yes, I dropped the hint.
While the website could use some help (I click on bedding from the campus link and get Tinkerbell sheets?) and we all know a few of the older stores need serious sprucing up, fingers crossed that Kmart is at the beginning a real rebranding path here. They’re certainly off to a smart start with the cool KmartDesign.com website and their exemplary support of one of my favorite orgs, Housing Works, through the Design on a Dime event earlier this year. To top it all off, they’re crazy committed to the quality and durability of all their products, which is going to be increasingly essential as we all strive to become less of a disposable society.
Going forward, my hope is that Kmart’s determined team is able to bring more of the fabulous inspiration boards I saw to life, and continue to democratize great design. Because all things being equal, the world would not suffer with just a few less Archie Bunker chairs out there. -Liz
Find theTy Pennington style collection, Back to Campus collection and more at Kmart, and check out some really fun behind-the-scene style hunting videos at KmartDesign.com