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LAS VEGAS DESIGN CENTER

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Union Park

495 S. Grand Central Pkwy

Las Vegas, NV 89106

702-599-3093

website

Tue-Sat 10am-6pm

Home Furnishings/Decor

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

More than three dozen showrooms full of designer furnishings and home decor.

Where is it?

In the Union Park area of Downtown Las Vegas, near the Las Vegas Premium Outlets North.

What do they sell?

If it can be counted as interior design, they probably sell it from furniture to lighting to accessories to rugs and much more.

What are the prices like?

This ain't no flea market. Most of the furnishings are custom pieces from high-end retailers and priced accordingly.

What should I be sure to check out?

The showrooms from H Studio and Rene Cazares, both of which offer fun and funky designs.

Why should I shop here?

Because you need to redo your living and are looking for inspiration.

What else do I need to know?

Only a portion of the big buildings are open to the public. Check with the information desk upon arrival to get a map.

What's the bottom line?

Even if you can't afford anything, this is a cool place to window shop.

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FULL REVIEW

Anyone who has been to Vegas has probably seen the World Market Center buildings. They are kind of hard to miss. The three massive structures at the intersection of I-15 and I-95 near Downtown Las Vegas poke up out of the otherwise low-rise surroundings like giant, whimsically designed toy blocks.

What most people don't know is what their purpose is and even fewer know that at least a portion of it is open to the public.

The World Market Center offers up more than 5 million square feet of exhibition space for home design and decor companies to showcase their wares. A twice-annual show, open only to people in the interior design and adjacent trades, brings together more than 1,200 furniture, lighting, decorative accessory, rug, and textile manufacturers all eager to get their latest in front of the people who will put them in other people's homes.

The Las Vegas Design Center is a subset of the World Market Center with more than three dozen permanent showrooms that are open to anyone with an interest in browsing. It's like a big mall that specializes in home furnishings for people with discerning tastes.

There a plenty of recognizable brand names including Ethan Allen, Calvin Klein Home, Robert Allen/Beacon Hill, and Kathy Ireland Home but the bulk of the showrooms are from companies that will most likely only be known to those in the interior design trade. Pretty much everything you can imagine is available including living room, dining room, and bedroom furnishings; outdoor/patio furnishings; lighting; accessories; art; rugs; drapes; and a lot more.

Showrooms that I saw that stood out were H Studio/Haziza, offering dramatic and fun contemporary furnishings and decor and Plume, which has a wide variety of funky luxury accessories, many of which are collected from the overstock and out of season selections from other showrooms.

I also loved the wild furniture and accessories at Rene Cazares, full of animal prints and deliriously gaudy bric-a-brac that looked like Liberace was having a garage sale. I don't know that I'd want to put any of it in my home, but it certainly made me smile.

The one thing that most of the items in the various showrooms have in common is that almost none of it is cheap. This is not the kind of furniture that you'll find at JC Penney or Sears but rather at Bloomingdale's or Nordstrom's. Although there are some bargains to be had if you look hard enough for them the cheapest thing I saw in my random check of prices was a lamp for $400. That nice leather sofa at one of the showrooms? $8,000. The 8-seat dining room set at another? Let's just say you could get yourself a new Ford Fiesta for roughly the same cost.

The thing to know, though, is that very little of what is offered here is cash and carry, which is probably a good thing since that $8,000 leather sofa isn't going to fit in the overhead bin on the plane home. The vast majority of it are showroom examples of furnishings that will be custom built to your specifications and then shipped to your home. So instead of strapping the sofa to the roof of your rental car, you can choose the type and color of leather, the wood on the armrests, and specify alternate sizing so it will fit perfectly in front the flat screen TV in your man cave.

So most Vegas visitors will never actually buy something at the Las Vegas Design Center but that shouldn't stop you from going. Not only is a unique window-shopping experience (you might not be able to afford the leather sofa but you will drool over it) but the buildings themselves are beautiful architecturally speaking and worth a gander just for that.

Note that the Las Vegas Design Center is very close to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets North so you could make a whole shopping day out of it.

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