New PoP Feature: Decorating and Design Questions

Photo by PoPville flickr user JosephLeonardo

Following is a new guest column by Jessica Bonness of JGB Interiors. Jennifer will answer PoP reader questions about decorating and design. If you have a question send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com and write ‘design question’ in the title.

“Dear PoP,

Following up on your posting about Design Within Reach, I’m wondering if your readers know of good places to buy furniture without breaking the bank. I’ve recently bought a new house, and I’m trying to find a dining room set, sofa, etc., but not looking to shell out $3,000+ for a sofa while still looking to get some quality furniture.”

Jessica responds:

I’ll share a couple of things you need to know about buying sofas, the most important of which is this: you don’t need a $5,000 couch any more than you need a $50 cheeseburger. Sure, there are huge differences in the craftsmanship of a $250 loveseat and a $17,000 Italian sectional. And yes, the loveseat will probably start to creak and get torn up by your girlfriend’s cat while the expensive sofa will last 100 years. The thing is, you probably don’t even want a sofa to last that long. Luckily there are tons of pieces in the $800 – $2,000 range that are durable, great looking, and available right here in DC.

I always advocate mixing pieces from several stores and price ranges, and think it’s great to have some Ikea bookcases mixed in with a Mitchell Gold couch, thrift store coffee table, lamps from your mom’s house, and $600 painting you fell in love with on vacation.

Continues after the jump.

Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy
A Room and Board sofa, Crate and Barrel table, and some Ikea stools and bookcases make for an interesting space with great color and textures.

If you’re looking to outfit most of your new home with “quality furniture” I’d head over to 14th Street NW and take a stroll between P and U Streets. You’ll find a bunch of great stores with sofas well under $2,000, and you’ll probably have some spare change to decorate the rest of your house. Reincarnations (1401 14th Street NW), Miss Pixie’s (1626 14th Street NW), Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (1526 14th Street NW), Room and Board (1840 14th Street NW) and Vastu (1829 14th Street NW) are all worth browsing, and if you’re willing to hunt through their stock or look at floor models their prices might surprise you. Most of these places have great sales (especially Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and you just missed the big one in July!) and they all have a lot of choices that are priced on par with a standard like Crate and Barrel.

Photo Credit:
A sampling of some interesting finds from Vastu, via their website.

Also keep in mind that we do live in a pretty big city, and if you find something you want to purchase from a major retailer it’s always a good idea to search for it on Craigslist first. I’ve known too many people who bought Ikea shelves for $40 that they could have had for $15 if they’d only been willing to drive to Gaithersburg.

Good luck finding that perfect sofa, and remember to always read the online reviews and measure your floor plan and you door openings twice before you pull the trigger: there’s nothing worse than getting stuck with a gorgeous piece of furniture that can’t fit up your stairs.

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