The ABC's of Buying New Furniture

Guest post by Los Angeles interior designer, Star Michael.

The time has come for us to buy new furniture.  Couch cushions are a mess, the bed frame is falling apart, IKEA furniture is reaching its expiration date.  I ask my friend Star Michael, who happens to be a talented interior designer, for some tips on how to make this transition smooth.


Where's your favorite place (online or in LA) to shop for quality but affordable furniture?

Dekor LA - For midcentury modern and vintage finds as well as bitchin' reclaimed indoor swings. The owner Isabelle has a very good eye for the unique and tasteful and her shop feels warm and inviting  It's the perfect place to shop for that feeling of home.

West Elm - If you're on a budget, there's no sacrifice in style or quality here. I'm always happy when I leave a West Elm because it's the perfect place to find the items you can sprinkle into any room.  That might be a great pillow, a cool side table, a handsome floor lamp or a new set of bedding.  This place rocks, and the people who work there are cute happy hipsters.

ModCrib LA - The owners Michael and Ebee share a warehouse space that is full of everything you can imagine.  It leans heavily on the midcentury modern side.  Great Vintage finds here - often already refinished and reupholstered so you can buy and place easily.

Online - Both "Dot & Bo" and "Bryght" are great for modern furniture. "Ballard Designs" and "Wisteria" are great for traditional finds.

When do you recommend asking someone to custom-make something?

As a designer I make almost everything custom. But if you're doing it on your own, it's most helpful to go custom if you need to fit the furniture into an awkward space. Or if you discover something that is enormously expensive and want to have it made at a more affordable price.   Lastly, if you want to accent a room with a special fabric or pattern that you pick.

How do you get rid of old furniture?

When ridding old furniture, there are a few different options. You can try to sell it online on websites like Ebay or Chairish. You can donate it to a charity for tax credit, or you can leave it on the curb and schedule a "large item pickup" through your trash company. Their contact number would be found on the outside of your trash can.

Do you tip the furniture delivery people? If so, about how much?

If you're ordering furniture through a larger chain store like Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel, "in-home" or "white-glove" delivery costs are often built-in to your total in "surcharges," so it's not necessary to tip. However, if your furniture is coming via a dude with a delivery truck, tipping is necessary.  And the amount is at your discretion.