How to Save On…
Shop the "as is" section. If you don’t mind taking home an item with a barely-there scratch or a piece that’s already assembled (is that a bad thing?), this area—found in Ikea stores and some mom-and-pop furniture shops—is your holy grail. You’ll typically save up to 70 percent.
Buy paintings and prints from emerging artists. Ugallery.com showcases works by art students from colleges nationwide. Art is searchable by medium, genre, and price (don’t miss the “under $100” section). Best of all, the site allows you to try out a piece for a week to see how it looks in your home with no penalty and free return shipping.
Get deals on antiques online. A recent search on shopgoodwill.com turned up a vintage desk lamp for $6 and an old-fashioned sewing machine for $16. Also visit icollector.com for bargains on everything from Persian rugs to pottery.
Go with custom furniture. A local carpenter may charge less to build a no-frills piece, like a bookcase without moldings, than what you would pay for a similar item in a chain store, says New York City–based designer Elaine Griffin. Paint it yourself to save more.