Strange things happen to a person when they have to spend over a year at home. For me, the enforced homebody life (predictably) made me want to travel even more than I usually do. But paradoxically, it also caused me to focus more on my own house: how it looks, how it feels, and how it functions. It made me want to make some serious changes, but it also just made me want new stuff. So when Connecticut opened up and everyone ventured out in public again, my renewed interest in home décor combined with my excitement about getting out in the world and, in lieu of travel, I went shopping.
Specifically, I went shopping for small but semi-indulgent home upgrades, the kind that don’t cost a lot but make your space feel a little more luxurious. I found them at seven stores, two of which opened recently, and all but one of which I’d never been to before. If you’re looking for some little luxuries for your home, or just want some décor inspiration, these are good places to start.
(And by the way, if you want to know about more local home stores, check out my previous post about where I shopped for my house.)
The Nutmeg Home (165 Main Street, Wethersfield.) This little shop in Old Wethersfield opened in November 2020, but it looks like it’s been here all along. It’s light, bright, and full of pretty neutral accents for home and garden. I was torn between a ceramic jug, some striped throw blankets, an assortment of galvanized metal vessels, and a handful of wooden ladders, including this one, which ultimately came home with me.
The Safari Collective (57 Bank Street, New Milford.) It’s no surprise this place is so cute: it’s in New Milford! Stocked with feminine little indulgences for home and body, it’s a little trendy – but in a tasteful way. I was torn between a tiny earthenware pitcher, a cool reusable water bottle, and this candle, which smells so deliciously coffee-like that I couldn’t leave it behind.
August & March Home (130 Main Street, Putnam.) The vibe here is neutral and a bit garden-inspired: picture decor items that would look best in a home full of leafy green plants. I was torn between a white woven cloth basket, some patterned throw blankets and textured pillows, and a collection of white cups and vases, one of which I ended up grabbing.
Atherton & Co. (14 Holmes Street, Mystic.) Nothing can really be called a “hidden gem” in downtown Mystic, but this small store almost qualifies; unobtrusively situated just around the corner from busy Main Street, you could walk past without guessing how sweet it is inside. I was torn between a set of cute pencils, some wooden utensils and other appealing kitchen accents, and this nautical tea towel, which I had to have.
The Beehive (79 Sanford Street, Fairfield.) It’s worth braving downtown Fairfield traffic to reach this collection of tempting home goods. Larger items like pillows, baskets, and rugs are displayed alongside smaller touches like candles and bowls. I was torn between a beachy fleece blanket, some wooden serving boards, and these fancy matches – which I’d seen in other upscale Fairfield County shops for a lot more money.
Saybrook Home (2 Main Street, Old Saybrook.) I’d always known that this sprawling store – really a cluster of stores, including a restaurant – was a shoreline fixture. But I’d never been inside, because I assumed it was stuffy, preppy, and full of upholstery. In fact, there’s a surprising variety of home goods for every room, in a range of styles, laid out beautifully in the large space. I was torn between a wooden whale-shaped plate, a sweet picture book and nature posters in the children’s section, and the lovely sea-themed hanging decoration I ended up choosing.
Homeward Collective (685 Boston Post Road, Madison) The newest shop in this list, Homeward Collective opened in downtown Madison in June 2021. The small, welcoming space is lined with straw bags, pottery and dish towels in natural colors, candles, coffee table books, and other small decor items. I was torn between a beautiful white and blue mug, some tiny glazed dishes, and this little trinket – which I bought, because nothing refreshes your idea of home like a brand new key chain.
As is the norm for small Connecticut businesses, most of the above shops are open for only part of the week, and their hours vary by day. Always check with individual stores before you visit!