It’s no surprise that designers look to big box stores, like Anthropologie and West Elm, and discount home decor websites like Wayfair to find cheap pieces to make up for all the custom furniture they’ve got. still use. But that’s not the whole story. In fact, designers have very vague interpretations of what is affordable, especially when you compare, say, a Jean-Michel Frank chair and one made in a warehouse in Vietnam. The truth is, affordable is a relative term: no one could argue that a $ 2,000 sofa isn’t a bargain compared to its one-time price of $ 6,000, especially when it comes to a genealogical record that you will keep with you for the rest of your life.
Elizabeth Pyne of McMillen Inc. agrees. “Shopping at Décor NY is so much fun because I believe the price I’m paying is right,” she says, recounting a recent discovery: an Edward Wormley console table with an original tag. “Before showing it to our customer, I called a merchant friend to get his opinion on the part and its price. He told me that two years ago that same console table sold three times what Décor NY was asking for. It was a real blow for us and for our client.
When you look at it this way, a whole new world of design possibilities opens up. Here, five designers share their secret sources of unique furniture at a cheap (real and sometimes relative) price.
“I’m big on the local auction circuit. there is a site called Live auctioneers that aggregates sales by subject or distance from you, and that’s amazing. I’m an auction freak, always looking for something great.
“Anytime my husband Ken and I return to Wisconsin to visit family he MUST stop by Antiques Bequest at Fox Point to see what’s new. He usually drags not only me but my mom and my sister with him. We call it our antique lucky charm because it always finds the best stuff.
“Chairish is a great option for finding slightly used high end furniture at discounted prices. Another must-see is Naive, although we also often use CB2, West Elm, Anthropologie and others for some parts.
Chloe Redmond Warner
“Chairish, Craigslist and the Alameda Flea Market are my top picks for affordable items. My favorite products are mirrors, which I find more beautiful with a little patina, and lamps, which can be easily restored by a lamp specialist. I also like the Little Paris store in LA. It’s the type of antique store that was once in every city, but now too scarce, full of inventory and rough diamonds everywhere.
“NYC Decor is our secret source for fabulous Manhattan furniture finds. Not only is the selection great (think Fortuny upholstered sofas, Roman Thomas storage furniture, and vintage modern chairs), the longer an item sits on the floor, the smaller it gets. It’s an amazing place to find amazing quality furniture, lighting and rugs that are always on sale.
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