The Budget Decorator
So, you've rented a studio and want to make the most of the 400 square feet you now call home. You need lamps, rugs, sheets, dishes, and bookcases. Here are ten places to take your checklist when you want the best for a lot less.

  Urban Outfitters
Various locations; 800-282-2200;
The ubiquitous Urban Outfitters isn't just for NYU students looking to get through college in style. Sure, there's asymmetric '80s gear in various stages of deconstructed ruche, not to mention beaded curtains and other kitsch that should stay in the dorm room. But there are plenty of affordable decorative items in the "just funky enough" category, including airy, exotic tab curtains and soft chenille rugs in an assortment of piles and sizes.
We Found: Tab window panels in pink-willow patterns or sparkly purple and sheer pink shades (one for $34; two for $45); soft 5x7 chenille rugs in spring green and chartreuse ($68; $49 sale); bright geometric-block 5x7 synthetic rug ($100).
  Pearl River Mart
477 Broadway, between Grand and Broome Sts.; 212-431-4770;
Let's face it: Bargain hunting can be depressing. Not so at Pearl River Mart, where Chinese pipa music, potted plants, and a wall of water provide soothing counterpoints to the riot of colorful wares. You'll find rows and rows of Japanese and Chinese ceramic dishes in organic textures and shades; a swirled bowl in aqua and teal evokes a roiling ocean tide. None of it is dirt-cheap, but considering the craftsmanship, it's still a deal. Bargain hunters should proceed to the lower level, where tea sets and bowls, some starting below a buck, are marked 20 percent off. Note: Not everything is safe for the microwave and dishwasher so check labels before buying.
We Found: Porcelain bowls, with a delicate apple motif, perfect for cereal or lattes ($4.50 each, plus 20 percent off); carved wooden salad bowls ($12.50); smooth, square plates in black or white ($6.95 each); elegantly boxed colorful and crackled sushi sets including tea service for two ($38.50).
  National Wholesale Liquidators
632 Broadway, between Houston and Bleecker Sts; 212-979-2400;
Cleaner and better stocked than the Odd Job at Union Square or Port Authority, National Wholesale Liquidators has three floors full of discounted and discontinued items, from Revlon makeup and Hanes underwear (top floor) to DVD players and Chuck E. Cheese freeze pops (main floor) to housewares for the kitchen and bath (bottom floor). There, among aisles and aisles of vinyl-coated goods are steals for the savvy shopper. After all, you're not in the market for a designer plunger, right?
We Found: Whimsical aquatic-themed soap dispenser ($3.99); three-bin laundry organizer with machine-washable mesh bags ($9.99); large dryer rack ($8.99); tropical-fish shower curtain ($10.97); chrome over-the-door towel rack ($10.97); chrome tub-and-shower corner caddy, ($18.97); sleek bathroom scale ($7.99); roller mop ($6.69); toilet plunger ($2.97).
  Bowery Kitchen Supplies
Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave.; 212-376-4982;
In the bowels of the Chelsea Market, hidden behind a Moroccan furniture dealer, you'll find Bowery Kitchen Supplies, which features wire rack upon wire rack of dusty kitchen goods, much of it professional grade. It is lots of fun to browse (that $64.95 porcelain-enameled cast-iron oven sure looks pretty…), but with items starting in the penny range, impulse purchases don't have to hurt your bottom line. Note: If you don't quickly spy whatever it is you're looking for, ask. Otherwise you could be here a while.
We Found: Flatware ($.25/piece); cocktail shaker ($4.50); large red-wine goblet ($3.95); demitasse cup and saucer ($2); mortar and pestle ($6.50); salad spinner ($20); pro-grade wok ($42); bamboo wok brush ($4); manual deli-meat slicer ($95); fish poacher ($30); plastic BBQ sauce dispenser with basting brush ($1).
  Century 21
22 Cortlandt St., between Church St. and Broadway; 212-227-9092;
Much of the lower level of this designer discount department store is dedicated to "Linens and Domestics," so the odds of a fabulous find are high. There are two sizable sections crammed with fluffy down comforters in all manner of fills, soft sheets made from silk to sateen, and enough embroidered duvets, shams, and neck rolls to sleep like a sultan. Not to mention less glamorous accoutrements like mattress pads and covers. An adjacent area tackles towels and bath accessories, including armloads of giant fluffy bath sheets to fit just about every color scheme.
We Found: 200-thread-count Calvin Klein sheets in neutral shades like plum and khaki ($6.97-$17.97); 500-thread-count sheet sets ($77.97-$99.97); Melange silk coverlets in chocolate, copper, and cream ($119.97-$179.97); Egyptian cotton bath sheets ($7.49); plus more from labels like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Wamsutta, Charisma, and Nautica.
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  The Checklist  
Cover Floors and Windows  
Get Colorful Dishes  
Bathe In a Sea of Bargains  
Stock Your Kitchen Like a Pro  
Line Bed with Luxurious Linens  
Add a Futon to the Mix  
Let There Be (Colored) Light  
Take A Seat  
Fill with Furniture Basics  

Hot Home Sales
ABC Carpet & Home
The winter clearance sale is not to be missed if you’re in the market for top-quality linens, lamps, furniture, and more. This time of year, you can usually find them for up to 75 percent off. 888 Broadway, 212-473-3000, January.

Broadway Panhandler
The lovably chaotic downtown pots-and-pans store takes about half off when it puts some of its top-end lines on sale. A lot of chefs shop here. You should, too. 477 Broome St. , 212-966-3434, February and April.

Triple Pier Antiques Show
There are deals and there’s some serious dealing to contend with at this massive annual furniture market. Bargain hard! March.

The ultra-hip swear by the contemporary home furnishings. The sale brings loads of glasses, plates, and trays for that last minute barbeque. 14 Wooster St., 917-237-0123, September and April.

Reproductions of iconic styles from Le Corbusier and new contemporary designs are up to 70 percent off. Those that love Frank Lloyd Wright and Philippe Starck put this one high on the priority list. 155 E. 56th St., 212-245-2121, October.

Cellar at Macy's
The block-long department store sets the standard for kitchen tools and gizmos, high-end and low. At the semi-annual sales, prices are unbeatable (choppers, grinders, and knife sharpeners go for as little as $19 each). The return policy: whatever, whenever. And store-brand pots and pans (called Tools of the Trade) are well made and almost always on sale. 151 W. 34th St., 212-695-4400, November and May.
More Furniture Deals
One Day in DUMBO
Shopping under the bridge, plus picks for a cheap lunch and drinks.

Redecorating List
Stores that carry everything from classic pullout couches and funky lampshades to colorful linens and vintage-looking décor.