Look for long-lasting staples at second-hand stores
Rather than buying cheap, disposable furniture that you’ll be ready to replace the next time you move, get “the best quality you can afford,” says Pflug. That means thinking long term, and maybe buying fewer pieces.
“Don’t be afraid to buy large pieces,” adds Pflug, who admits her dining table is probably too big for the space, but says it’s “the most used surface in our house.”
And chances are, your current apartment is not your forever home. Spending more on pieces that will go with you -- and fit well in a larger space -- is a far better use of funds than a dining table you have to buy (and assemble) six times.
Stores across the city, like Pippin (which specializes in vintage jewelry but now has a home shop on West 17th) and Furnish Green (a Manhattan showroom that brings in around 15 new antique items every week) can help you find high-quality second-hand furniture like a legitimate Danish modern teak storage shelf for less than $250.
Over in Greenpoint, RePOP sells mid-century modern furniture (authentic Herman Miller chairs for $225) amongst vintage ice buckets, DANSK candlestick holders, and mounted pheasants.
For antiques more than 100 years old -- and plenty of well-loved vintage items -- head to Chelsea Flea Market, where more than 135 vendors sell items to help you decorate your home. Admission costs only $1, and you might find great furniture from purveyors like Black, Inc., which sells sets of twin wood night tables for $250 total.
Housing Works storefronts are also scattered across the city and donate proceeds from your thrifty finds to help eliminate homelessness and AIDS in New York. In addition to designer clothes, shoppers can find secondhand home goods and decor here, and everything from sculptures to shelving units can also be found in online auctions.