Interior Decorating
November 5, 2004 10:25 AM   Subscribe

My friend and I are actually purchasing a house. Good for me. The house itself is English Tudor from around 1900. We have no furniture except what we've retained from our childhood (think oak Americana). We've both have no idea what we're doing interior decorating wise. We've agreed that we like modern styling such as that featured in MocoLoco. The only furniture stores in our area feature suburban blah (think Nebraska Furniture Mart). Any suggestions on places that we can shop online and have them ship us furniture? More! MORE INSIDE!

The only place I've found and liked is WestElm. I think our favorite sort of design is what was featured in Eyes Wide Shut. Perhaps maybe European contemp. more than just stark minimilism. I think anyone reading this far has an idea of what the look we're trying to go for is. We're at a total loss as what to do. We don't want to just go to Restoration Hardware because its the only thing we have, and wouldn't mind saving and spending on new furniture as we need it. That said, we can't afford $2000 on a chair or we'd never furnish the house.

Any ideas anyone? It is hard to be cool when you're in a red state.
posted by geoff. to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
WestElm is good cheap stuff and about the only other option is IKEA, which has really brought their prices down lately.

Other than that, you'll find plenty of modern furniture offerings online but they're all hella expensive.
posted by mathowie at 10:31 AM on November 5, 2004

how about:

they have great used stuff from denmark :)
posted by specialk420 at 10:41 AM on November 5, 2004

Design Within Reach has lots of modern classics-- it will probably break your budget, but you might be able to find one or two cool things that will really work well with some of the cheaper stuff like West Elm, which Matt mentions.

Room And Board is also pretty pricey, but not as expensive.

Chiasso has a mix of various items which are modern and contemporary, with a mix of prices.

Also, Ebay can be a great place to find stuff like Eames chairs and other modern classics for a little less.
posted by cell divide at 10:44 AM on November 5, 2004

ah, ikea. fond memories.

another option, depending on where you are, is getting someone to make stuff. the expensive way is finding someone with the same taste as you, that helps you with the design. the more affordable way is to find someone who will follow a plan exactly, and tell them what to do. we've done both, with excellent results, but i suspect only the latter would be affordable in the usa.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:03 PM on November 5, 2004

You mention Nebraska Furniture Mart, and (living in NE) I'm not aware of any out-of-state outlets, so I'm going to assume you're living in NE. Even if you're not, you might find this information helpful.

I'd recommend shopping antique. Particularly in the Mid-West, antiques can be found just about everywhere for cheaper than their modern equivalent. For example, I purchased a bedroom set from a dealer in Beatrice, NE that comprised a head/footboard & rails (a bed), an oversized vanity (with mirror), and a tall-boy (tall chest of drawers). This set was circa 1880, all mahogany. How much? $500.

You try and find something like that in today's modern furniture store that's made of solid mahogany AND actually has some intrinsic resell-value for under a grand. Good luck.

The nice thing about antiques that don't cost a bundle is 1) You'll actually USE them without being afraid of damaging them, 2) They lend a sophisticated air to any empty space, and 3) They can easily be mixed-and-matched with other pieces without clashing.

Pick a generic style you like, and mix-n-match. If you like "cozy", go with 1870s-1910s American (your typical "antique", usually made of oak or mahogany, function over minimal frills). If you like "cool", go with 1920s-1930s Deco (beautiful lines, inlaid woods). If you like "modern", go for 1800s-1830s Shaker (big, heavy, solid, no frills, usually oak).

Antique furniture has already stood the test of time. The same cannot be said for the craptacular glue-board shlock that comes out of Ikea and their ilk.

Oh, one more thing. This should be obvious, but just in case: PAINT YOUR FRIGGIN' WALLS. Don't be afraid of color.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:10 PM on November 5, 2004

Civil_Disobedient is right: flea markets and antique stores are your friends. If you're into mid-century modern (rather than the 1870s-1930s stuff C_D is talking about) you'll still find plenty of stuff that looks what they're currently featuring at places like DWR.

The trick is to arrive at the flea market before they open. At least, that's how it works here on the east coast: the best deals are made out of the back of the seller's truck. Don't be afraid of being ripped off by fakes, either: if it's solid and it works and you like the look of it, and it doesn't cost more than what you're seeing new in a catalog, then it's worth it to just buy it and be done with it.
posted by bcwinters at 12:32 PM on November 5, 2004

I've looked into buying furniture online before and always been stopped by the scary shipping costs.
posted by normy at 12:55 PM on November 5, 2004

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