Pawing through cardboard boxes in search of cheap and dusty treasures used to be a pretty easy outdoor pastime in New York, before real-estate fever put the neighborhood flea markets on the endangered list. Now, thrift stores and indoor collectives are the new flea markets, and it takes expertise to know where to dig. A team of eclectically inclined design experts gave us their most fruitful resources for good home décor. Some are surprising (Urban Outfitters?), and others are more investment than opportunity, but all provide the pleasure of the scavenger hunt. And they’re almost all indoors.
Beyond the Bosporus
79 Sullivan St., nr. Spring St.; 212-219-8257
Go here for: Turkish kilims, rug restoration and cleaning.
What’s there right now: Decorators particularly like the inexpensive pillows that Rosemari Basbagi (wife of owner Ismail Basbagi) makes from kilims and Congolese embroidered raffias. They start at $30.
City Opera Thrift Shop
222 E. 23rd St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-684-5344
Go here for: Furniture donations of decent quality. You probably won’t find a mid-century Danish treasure here, but the selection is solid, if old-fashioned, and includes sofas, tables, and dressers. The window displays, created by students from the School of Visual Arts across the street, are as sophisticated as anything you’ll see in midtown.
What’s there right now: Lillian Shore sculptures from $250, a leather lounge chair with ottoman by Ekornes for $550.
Green Village Used Furniture and Clothes
276 Starr St., nr. St. Nicholas Ave., Bushwick; 718-456-8844
Go here for: A full day. The 10,000 square feet of miscellaneous junk draw seasoned thrifters and prop stylists.
What’s there right now: Turn-of-the-past-century oak cabinets for $300, fifties-era wardrobe closets from $95 to $125, unusual desks for $65 to $70, various leather trunks from the thirties, a mid-century mahogany bedroom set for $495.
A Repeat Performance
156 First Ave., nr. 10th St.; 212-529-0832
Go here for: Mid-century furniture, Hoosier cabinets, lighting fixtures, and antique oddities like cameras and telephones.
What’s there right now: A Heywood-Wakefield sideboard for $600, a pair of string Eames chairs for $80, a modern maple desk and chair for $300.
The Vintage Thrift Shop
286 Third Ave., nr. 22nd St.; 212-871-0777
Go here for: A steady supply of mid-century and contemporary furniture that usually requires at least a little rehabbing, and a large selection of clothing neatly hung (no digging necessary). It’s run by a Jewish organization, so it’s closed on Saturdays.
What’s there right now: A seventies chrome-and-glass étagère for $175, several sixties solid-cherry bookshelves for $150 each, and, at the top of the scale, a Jens Risom sofa for $2,900.
628 Broadway, nr. Bleecker St. 212-475-0009
Go here for: Decorative touches like rugs and throw pillows. Yes, it’s a chain store, but the design sensibility is Pop mixed with retro, the flow of new merchandise is constant, and the prices are rock-bottom; items start at $28.