Help me decorate! *ahem* Help me find stuff!


I guess I don’t really need help decorating. I style things for myself and not others, and I know what I like and what I don’t like. In a few weeks I am going to have to redo my living room as I see fit (roommates moving out, taking their furniture). I don’t want to spend a lot of money. In fact, I want to spend as little money as possible on this, I’m losing roommates so I’m going to be poor for a while.

What I want: **

I am going to need a couch or two (maybe a couch and a loveseat), maybe a chair, dining room set (table + chairs) and possibly a new coffee table and a folding card table. I’m not opposed to used in theory, but in practice people just don’t buy the kind of stuff I like nor do they sell it if they do. I’m also not opposed to bookshelves or various vases and other surface objects. Prints on the walls, various other art.

What I like:

slightly flamboyant lisp Frank Lloyd Wright meets De Stijl with a touch of Jackson Pollock. Black, white, chrome, indigo, burgundy. Nothing kitsch or cluttery, nothing victorian or edwardian. Lots of clean flat empy surfaces, negative space, smooth curves, simple but random features. No hints of Ikea-pragmatism, in fact preferrably no hints of Ikea. Black leather, glass, metal, ceramics. Preferrably no wood, vinyl or plastic or only as accents.

Ok I’m straight, I swear, I just have… weird tastes and I care about what things look like to me. I don’t obsess but I seriously dislike cluttered designs and floral prints and would rather live in a steel container than something like this

What I need:

I have no clue where to find this stuff without breaking the bank. Stuff like this seems to be impossible to find used. I don’t know, either my tastes are weird or people hold on to stuff like this. New, I don’t even know where to look. Furniture stores usually have only a few pieces here and there that fit my fairly loose standards, and I don’t want to spend $3K on a sofa. Online I’ve only found one place that seems to have even remotely reasonable prices ( and they seem kind of shady and have a limited selection. Besides, although I can browse online I’d prefer to see things in person before buying. Art prints, vases, and other miscelany seem pretty expensive and sparse.

So, I guess what I’m asking is where do I look and what am I missing(you can say taste, if you really want)?

I know I can count on dopers,


But that’s basically what IKEA is and the reason it’s so popular. It’s almost impossible to find decently priced modern furniture. The cheaper stores all have very traditional, overstuffed, or overstuffed furniture. The modern stores specialize in high end furniture. IKEA is pretty much it.

Man if you like FLW you want to build your own built-in stuff. Every time I watch these redecorating shows on HGTV they’re whippin’ out the mdf and plywood, the foam cushions, fabric, staple gun and spraypaint.

Check out shows on like “Decorating Cents” and “Design on a Dime”…among others.

Well, since you’re in San Jose, you’ll probably have to take it in the heine, cost-wise. I, too, had a specific look I was going for and I went to a semi-custom joint and picked out the basic design I wanted, chose my fabric, and they whipped it up for me in no time. And it wasn’t all that expensive. I think I paid like $1500-ish for a couch and chair in the Chicago area.

I’m always in a quandry about accessories. I’m in the process of doing that right now and I’m very indecisive at the moment, so can’t help you there. Maybe an estate sale?

I really do but I don’t know anything about metal or glasswork and I plain just don’t like regular wood. Plus, I rent.

Home Decorators Collection has an amazing variety of styles and selection of furniture, lamps, rugs, window dressings, framed art, stained glass, silk plants, bathroom accessories, vanities, chairs, barstools, doodads, gewgaws, and whatchamacallits in just about any style, color, shape, form, or fashion. And the prices are very reasonable.

In fact, the selection is so good, it’s hard to make up your mind what to buy.

Happy hunting!

Ditto. I’ve purchased a number of items from them. They stand behind the stuff, too. The only bummer (for me, anyway) is having to do assembly. I hate that, but some people don’t mind.

Seconding tremorviolet re IKEA. I got pine furniture there; friends of mine got all-plastic; others got all-metal-and-glass. My ultrapicky SIL was amazed when they went there for baby stuff (she decided to “go IKEA” because she intends to replace everything pretty soon) and found a wonderful sofa: it cost about 1/3 of what comparable ones in regular stores cost, it had storage space (the others don’t) and it’s actually - Oh My Gawd - useful for sitting!

I don’t know why, but in the last 10 years or so, the immense majority of sofas you see in stores are useful only for doing the sofa scene. What, do I look like I’m decorating a nightclub?

What you’re describing sounds about 10-15 years old to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, you might be able to do all or most of your decorating for absolutely free - if you don’t mind used items.

Amazing concept. I just joined a week ago, and gave away my old dining room table, recieved four pairs of jeans and two pair of capris and today I’m getting an ultra-cushy, once-expensive baby stroller (gently used.) and later today I’m getting rid of about a zillion little baby toys she no longer plays with. All absolutely free. People freecycle even new or never used items that didn’t work out. I’ve seen office redecorators offering 21 matching 2 drawer file cabinets, moms offering 80 clean and de-labeled baby food jars for arts and crafts, bookshelves, couches, cell phones, computers. And little things, too - half a bottle of shampoo, assorted baby toys, silk scarves or empty moving boxes.

I heart freecycle with the passion of a new convert.

Once you join, you can post “Wanted” requests, just like what you posted here. Who knows, someone in your town might read your request and have exactly what you’re looking for.

I was going to say Ikea too, even given what you mentioned. They’re all about clean lines and less frilly stuff.

And depending on your dining table, you may not need a card table. Mine has the middle leaf that folds up into itself and reduces to 48x48; some mean games of Scrabble have been had there.

I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but cb2 is Crate & Barrel’s newer, less expensive line of mostly modern stuff. I don’t see any leather in their seating collection, just neutral-colored upholstered furniture with clean lines.

I’ve looked through the entire IKEA catalog. Dining tables are neat but I need a glass or unpainted metal surface, and they don’t seem to have any like that. Couches/chairs all have the same basic problem - straight lines and leather don’t mix.
I guess I want more of this
and a lot less of this.

I really like this dining table but it’s almost $3000 and would look really odd on tan carpet.

Thanks! Some of the smaller items look really good.

I guess I just realized an important design principle for me - if it’s not a surface meant to hold things it probably shouldn’t have straight lines or non-organic angles.

You could buy a folding kitchen table/chairs for cheap and then use it as a spare down the road when you have parties. I’ve got something similar only with a white top. The chairs fit into the center section and it all folds up into a compact unit.

Guess I should have clicked on your ideal table. Wasn’t even close in concept.

hehe, don’t look at the labels… the kind of table you want is not under “dining”, it’s a mix and match, take a glass (or flat metal) surface + legs

You might want to look at acrylic/lucite tables like the ones from Muniz. They have flat serving areas obviously but do fun and funky things with the legs, bases and chairs.

Oh, and it depends, as far the carpet. You can always tie it in with your tableware and linens and make it look deliberate. Or get a more organic or modern area rug for <$100.