The Budget Decorator cont'd...
  Futon Warehouse
113 University Pl., at 13th St.; 212-473-4400.
The functional futon is not a luxurious furniture choice, but you're on a budget and luxury is not your top priority. Does it meet your needs? Does it cost less than your average sofa bed? Does it look good? If so, head to Futon Warehouse in the heart of NYU's domain, just outside of Union Square, for mattresses, frames, and mattress covers. Sizes range from full to king; cover patterns, from solid to leopard-skin. The store is less-than-glamorous and disorganized, but the deals make up for it, especially if you score something from the upstairs "Special Clearance" section.
We Found: Wooden frames starting at $89. Mattresses, starting at $69 for a full. A $179 special for a full size futon frame, mattress, and cover.
  New Generation Lighting
144 Bowery St.; 212-966-0328;
Of all the lighting stores on Bowery, New Generation stands out as the most organized and colorful of the bunch. Like an electronic candy shop, its vast selection of bright bulbs and fixtures are lined up within the airy, easy-to-browse store. Even better than the store design are the low prices on the basic lighting fixtures, essential for any apartment.
We Found: Basic floor lamps starting at $50. A "Burst" table lamp, with a colored bulb, for $79.99.
  Chair Factory Inc.
208 Bowery St., between Prince and Spring Sts.; 212-941-8700;
Don't pass the small storefront of Chair Factory Inc., a factory-direct chair dealership on Bowery, without peeking inside. Though Chair Factory caters mostly to restaurants and bars intererested in bulk purchases, but if pressed, most chairs are available to buy individually, in pairs, threes, or fours. The chairs run from basic wooden and metal options, to upholstered seats, to barstools and booths. The store is small, with chairs hung haphazardly along the narrow walls, but a wider selection is available through the online catalogue.
We Found: Basic wooden and metal chairs starting at $49 each. Wooden barstools starting at $99.

Straight From The Crate
For store locations visit
For bargain furniture that won't fall apart after a few months, visit one of Straight From the Crate's six, bright Manhattan locations. The no-nonsense chain carries solid, basics for every room of your apartment (or for every corner of your studio). Looking for good deals on bookcases, TV stands, shelving units, and even beds? Although not as cheap as Ikea, prices are more than reasonable—especially if you forgo the frills—and access is so much more convenient.
We Found: Black and beech television stands for $149. End tables with a cherry or beech top, $59. A coffee table with chrome legs, $129.


New York Central Framing Annex
102 Third Ave., between 12th and 13th Sts.; 212-420-6060.
A $5 poster or print can look like a work of art with the right frame. Unfortunately, having a poster professionally framed is expensive—so check out the deals on glass, Plexiglas frames, and dry mounting at New York Central Framing Annex. Though the glass and Plexiglas frames are somewhat bare bones, your poster will still look clean and professional (especially if you dry mount it), and the prices are unbeatable.
We Found: 18x20 glass frames with clips included, $13. 18x20 Plexiglas frames (labor included), $24. Dry mounting, plus an 18x20 Plexiglas frame, $33.

(Page 2of 2)
  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.