If you’ve ever perused an interior design or style magazine, you’ve probably noticed that there is a world of designer furniture and decor that most mainstream consumers have never heard of. It’s a world where a simple patio chair can cost more than the patio, a couch can easily cost more than most spend on groceries in a year, and where one yard of fabric can break the piggy bank.
It’s a world well out of reach for most of us.
But where there’s is a will, there’s a way. It may take a little leg work but if you are up to the challenge, there’s several ways to score designer decor on a dime.
Go to the trade. Designers, stagers and sales associates often get huge discounts, and they also have access to deals on floor samples and damaged goods. If you know anyone in the industry, it won’t hurt to ask.
Go on a drive. Exclusive designer freebies can often be found curbside. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Tour the more affluent neighborhoods and keep your eyes open. A good time to scout for discarded decor and furnishings is the day before your city’s curbside pick-up.
Go to the classifieds. Craigslist or freecycle are great places to check for designer decor. Your town may also have a penny paper that offers free classifieds, though I’ve often found that people who can afford high-end pieces rarely bother with such things. Still, it may be worth a look.
Go secondhand. Be on the lookout for designer furnishings at consignment stores, flea markets, estate sales and donation centers. Visit your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, and don’t forget to ask how often they stock their floors.
- Be careful to steam clean or even knock on the door to ask the condition of your secondhand prize. You’ll want to know if that cool curbside couch is harboring a nasty secret.
- Offer to volunteer in receiving or pick-up at one of the secondhand stores you frequent, or ask consignment stores if they keep a “will call” list of people who are seeking specific items.
- With the recent shift in the economy, bartering is back in. If you have your eye on a specific prize, offer the seller a trade. Be creative, and make sure you offer an even (or better) trade of services or goods.
- If you just can’t find any good sources for high-end designer furnishings that fit within your budget, don’t give up. It is possible to decorate a space that looks and feels more expensive than it is by using one-of-a-kind or handmade items.