Dear PoPville – Where to shop for small, DC-sized furtiture?


Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

Dear PoPville,

I recently moved in to a tiny rowhouse and need to buy some new furnishings to fill it up. The stores I visit all seem to have furniture sized for the VA and MD McMansions – huge sofas, dining sets, etc. I am looking to go a step above IKEA and Target furniture, but am also not quite in the price range of Mitchell Gold, etc. Any ideas? I’m willing to travel to suburban Maryland or Virginia to shop, as I know that expands my options!

We looked at some Ikea alternatives here but does anyone know of spots the cater to small apartments/row houses?

60 Comment

  • Jennifer Convertables on Wisconsin actually makes sofas and sofabeds specifically for small spaces or to fit through small doorways/stairwells. They will also assemble for you once they deliver.

    • FYI – A “for lease” sign is up on Jennifer Convertables on Wisconsin. So, it’s days may be numbered.

      • When I was looking at sofabeds, I went there and was very disappointed with the quality. I bit the bullet and bought from Mitchell Gold.

    • I found Jennifer Converts to be a HUGE scam – especially saying I wasn’t home when they “allegedly” came by to deliver (I was home) and then tacking on extra delivery charges – shorter story – google JC and scam/fraud/complain etc. – numerous consumer lawsuits.

      I do miss the old used furniture places displaced from U Street – they were awesome. Good luck!

  • I’m a fan of nice used stuff myself, and I really like krrb.com. It’s a classy, well-designed classifieds site affiliated with apartment therapy. Lots of unique pecies, and many sellers will deliver.

  • There is a shop called Creative Classics in Alexandria on King street that caters to small rowhouse residents. Everything they have is either small, or comes apart in clever ways to fit in narrow doors and staircases that thwart other furniture.

    Their prices are what you’d expect for higher-end new furniture, but at least you’ll know you can get it up your stairs.

    http://www.creativeclassics.com/

    • +1 for Creative Classics. The sofa-beds have no bars and are really comfortable, plus they open into a much smaller “footprint.”

    • I also bought from Creative Classics and was very impressed. Loved it even more that I could get it delivered and since they are in VA, I was considered out of state and paid no sales tax.

  • There is a shop called Creative Classics in Alexandria on King street that caters to small rowhouse residents. Everything they have is either small, or comes apart in clever ways to fit in narrow doors and staircases that thwart other furniture.

    Their prices are what you’d expect for higher-end new furniture, but at least you’ll know you can get it up your stairs.

    http://www.creativeclassics.com/

  • You might find something in your price range at Room & Board. Most of their sofas are available in multiple sizes.

    • +1. CB2 is crate and barrel’s city-oriented sibling. There is a great website and a store in Georgetown.

    • I can’t say enough about CB2! Great things for small spaces.

    • We got our most amazing beautiful my favorite piece of furniture ever apartment couch at Crate and Barrel. It was a smaller version of some regular couch.

      • I live in a studio and got a “chair and a half” from Crate & Barrel. Takes up less room than a love seat, even, but its still possible to curl up on it to read or watch TV. It’s been great for my small space.

      • +1 for CB (the original store). I find CB2 to be too modern for my taste– it’s like an expensive Ikea.

  • Terrapin Trader in College Park.

    http://www.purchase.umd.edu/ttrader/

  • My boyfriend and I recently moved into a 600 sq. ft one bedroom and were also looking for apartment-size furniture. We went the IKEA route for a table and chairs but we got our sofa at Macy’s and really like it. It has very sleek lines and friends who come over always complement it. From what I recall, Macy’s had a few ‘apartment size’ couches so it may be worth a look. We got ours during Labor Day sale and opened a Macy’s credit card which got us another $100 off. I think at the end of the day the couch ended up costing $650 or so including delivery! My only complaint is that sometimes I wish we had gone for a less sleek but more “comfy” couch. My mom has the kind that you “sink” into and never want to move and sometimes I miss it. But still, check out Macy’s. :)

  • miss pixies – got a sofa for my 400 sq ft place…fits perfectly & it’s awesome

  • Also try looking at urban outfitters. I’ve never owned any of their furniture but some of it has great reviews and is geared towards smaller spaces. Like guy for example:

    http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=17762386&parentid=A_FURN_FURNITURE

    It even converts into a sleeper!

  • Pottery Barn has a “Small spaces” category on their website under Furniture > Room Ideas

  • Krrb.com for classy used stuff

  • I’ve had some good luck at Random Harvest. I don’t live in a row, house, but a small cape cod and have had the same sizing problem.

  • It might sounds odd, but look at ubran outfitters. I’ve never owned any of their furniture but some of it looks perfect for small spaces and has great reviews, like this guy:

    http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=17762386&parentid=A_FURN_FURNITURE

    It even converts into a sleeper!

  • Creative Classics in Old Town specializes in furniture for small spaces.

    • Hardwood Artisans sells similar items and offers better value.

      • I disagree. I’ve been to both and have found CC’s prices to be more reasonable. And I like the style furniture better at CC – more contemporary and danish influenced than HA, which I think skews more mission.

  • saf

    Upholstered furniture: That was why I loved Reincarnations SOOOOOO much. I miss them. And I need a new chair.

    Anyhow, Skynear has good stuff, although nowhere near as much as they used to. http://skyneardesigns.com/index.html

    Maybe Apartment Zero? Homebody (on Barracks Row)?

    Dining sets – go antique. My dining room set belonged to my grandparents, and it is perfect. The house is only about 20 years older than the set. You can often find older dining room sets for a good price. I have a table with one leaf, six chairs, a china cabinet, and a buffet. There are a lot of good antique/junque/junk places between here and Gettysburg.

  • Restoration Hardware introduced a small size line last year in response to customer demand for apartment size stuff–it is on their website tabbed under “BigStyleSmallSpaces” http://www.restorationhardware.com/content/promo.jsp?id=263035&cm_sp=global_top_nav_store-_-small_spaces-_-NA

  • did ruff & ready close?

  • pick up an issue of dwell… plenty of advertisers in there for small space furniture.

  • Urban Essentials (in the old Reincarnations spot at Rhode Island/14th). They will work with you to find something to fit you space. Don’t be put off by the high prices you might see on the floor; give them a budget and let them work something out.

    • austindc

      Second Urban Essentials. We got a beautiful couch there that fits perfectly in our little living room. They also sometimes have really good sales, so keep an eye out.

      I also would add Etsy as an option for good space-saving furniture. I got a very unique stand for our TV from Etsy, and it is only 11″ deep. I couldn’t find anything like that in furniture stores.

      I guess I should also mention that Ikea has been very helpful for little doodads that make living in a small space work.

  • i second CB2, Room & Board, Crate & Barrel. Also try Container Store for some great ideas on organizing and using space well. We’ve done all of our closets with their Elfa stuff.

  • Check out the estate sales listed in the Post–classifieds/merchandise/estate sales. They can be hit and miss, but you can find some amazing deals on cool vintage stuff that’s already sized for DC houses.

  • World Market is my go-to place. They have a location in Friendship Heights and another at Pentagon City Row (among many others). Good quality, reasonable prices, and most of the furniture in my city-sized apartment is from there and fits in perfectly.

  • There are great values on the One Kings Lane web site–they have new sales each day and often have pieces that will work for a smaller row home.

  • West Elm is another great option for apartment-sized furniture.

  • Desi Living Innovations is where we bought our sofa and loveseat — everything is modern and comfortable, with lots of options suitable for smaller spaces, and you can customize the fabrics. We got a sofa, loveseat, and (free) faux(but-you-wouln’t-know) leather ottoman from their Rockville location for like $1200-$1500, and we love it — they have held up great.

  • Hardwood Artisans (Shirlington & Rockville Pike by MicroCenter) has better quality than West Elm, Pottery Barn, or Crate & Barrel. Pricewise, they’re more reasonable than C&B or PB, but a bit more than West Elm. They will custom size pieces and even come out and measure. They are a real pleasure to work with.

    Columbia Oak which is in Columbia also is a good place to shop and they’re cheaper than Hardwood Artisans, but do custome work.

    Also note that furniture sales coincide with second string holidays like President’s Day, Veteran’s Day, etc. and makes use of those for your furniture shopping.

    Prioritize stuff you want for a long time (beds, a good sofa) vs. stuff for a guest room, things that get lost of wear (a breakfast table, a work table), etc.

    Sofas are tough because you can get real junk at great expense.

  • Pricey but fabulous: Ligne Roset on Wisconsin Ave. has lots of furniture that works well in smaller spaces.

  • I’ve always had luck at Millennium and GoodWood on U St. Both are reasonably priced & carry unique pieces.

  • Vintage stuff is “naturally” smaller – sized. Modern Mobler, Millenium Decorative Arts are two good places in town. There’s a few places in Baltimore, in Hampden, that have a good selection of mid-century stuff. Estate sales are great places to find good furniture.

  • Crate & Barrel along upper Massachusetts Avenue, No’Fwest. At the Old Line State frontier.

  • There’s also the new Hunted House on H St NE. They sell Mad Men type vintage pieces which are usually sized right for a smaller space. Pluz their new space is really cool.

  • There is a place in Bethesda called Urban Loft (just off Wisconsin on Cordell) and they have some great stuff for small spaces. It’s not a huge showroom, but you can also look through their vendor catalogs and they’ll order something for you. Very reasonable prices and some good sales.

  • Definitely CB2. Pottery Barn is great….if you live in the mid-west and are semi-retired. Room & Board is also great. If you’re gonna live in the city, might as well furnish your place hip and mod.

  • I bought my sofa for my 400 sq ft condo from Vastu on 14th Street. They completely custom-make their sofas and chairs. At the most basic level you can increase or decrease the overall length by six inches and only pay for what you specify.

    Getting further into it, you have options over fabric, leg/base, configuration (if you’re doing a sectional) firmness of cushions, # of cushions, seam/welting, etc. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but their designers are happy to walk through the process and help you design something that works for your home.

    Definitely on the higher end of the price range, but well worth it for trickier spaces. I even think their sofas are guaranteed for as long as you own them. (You may want to double check that)

  • Checkout the furniture at Macy’s downtown. The pieces at the front of the future section are sized for apartment living. The Clare line is classic and comfortable and no “take-the-door-off-its-hinges” drama. Good Luck!

  • If you are willing to drive, check out Warehouse Showrooms in Alexandria. http://www.warehouseshowrooms.com It is in an unattractive industrial park, but they have been in business for 30 years and I bought some things there years ago. I got a sleeper sofa for less than anything else at the time, and even got to order it and choose my own fabric. Bought a mattress set on impulse at the same time. Judging from the other people there, I got the sense that a lot of interior designers/decorators/stagers go there to order stuff. They don’t have a huge amount of stuff on display, but they can order almost anything. Best to talk to a sales person and tell them what you’re looking for, and they will bring out catalogs and fabric samples. A friend got some custom wood pieces there, liked it, and told me about the store. Another place to try, don’t laugh, is JC Penney. I got some living room pieces there years ago, and it was the exact*same*thing for 1/3 less than Macy’s. JCP is also a good source for window treatments.

  • I live in a 500 square foot 1-bedroom apartment with open floor plan. Most of my furniture is from CB2, IKEA, Room & Board, Crate and Barrel and West Elm.

    There are also a few furniture stores in the city that may cater to you — if you like midcentury modern furniture (which usually caters to smaller spaces) you can try Millenium Decorative Arts on U Street or Hunted House on H St NE.

  • austindc

    A really go resource for living in small spaces is the Borrowers series by Mary Norton. I learned that thimbles make great cups, and a spool of thread is a very functional dinner table. I know the ratios don’t really make sense in what I just said since you could only get one or two thimbles on the end of a spool, but I don’t even care. Once you get the smell out, a sardine tin can function as a full sized bed, but watch the edges because they are razor sharp.

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