Class Report

Deck Out Your Apartment Without Stepping Foot in IKEA

Teacher: Holley Simmons, dining editor for the Washington Post Express (far left)
Location: Blind Dog Cafe, Simon Vintage, and GoodWood
Date: Sept. 14, 2015

Take-home message: Whether you’re looking to stock a new apartment or want to change up your current living decor, consider options other than big box stores. You might have to dig a bit more, but the payoff is sweet when you master the art of haggling and secure something that’s uniquely you.

Surprise! According to Holley, D.C. has a lot of well-traveled people, which makes for interesting furniture finds.

Pro tips: Unless a store specifically calls out “no haggling,” then haggle away! The prices aren’t set in stone at a lot of furniture shops and estate sales, and it is worth attempting to lower the price if you’re considering an item.

Holley was great about explaining red flags you should watch out for when on the hunt. Does the furniture item have a stain? You might want to ignore it, unless you’re up for re-upholstering. Cookware, rugs, and intimates are also best avoided.

Learn more: D.C. has a ton of great vintage shops. We went to Simon Vintage and GoodWood. Find the nearest vintage shop near you and check it out. It’s worth watching “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS, for inspiration. And most everyone has a friend with great style. Ask to tag along with him or her next time they go furniture shopping.

Matty Greene is a native Austinite and passionate film producer/photographer. When she’s not making online videos for work — be it producing a video about manufacturing the American flag or filming fourth graders installing solar panels on their classroom roof — you can find her playing ukulele, working on 3D printing, or taking a Knowledge Commons DC class.