The problem with shopping at Ikea — besides the couples counseling you’ll need and the literal stereotype of yuppie adulthood you’ll be snapping together like so much Grundtal pieces — is that your apartment ends up looking exactly the same as everyone else’s in Brooklyn. This is an understandable trade off for low-cost, accessible, one-stop shopping that comes with a side of cheap meatballs. The same could be said of shopping at Target or any other assemble-at-home furniture seller, the ones you find scattered around the city or huddled in gangs at the opposite ends of vast oceans of parking lots in the suburbs. The one-stop shopping angle is enticing: you buy a piece of furniture, that matches other furniture, and goes with that accent wall, and, after a few frustrating grunts and screaming at the instruction manual, you screw together a bedroom set that looks like a lot of other bedroom sets, bing bang boom.
To avoid this trap of sameness, maybe instead you can turn to the internet to try to order things, but then there’s the searching, and the pretending not to search when your boss walks by your desk, and the waiting, and the hoping to be home at the exact right moment to catch the UPS guy, who makes his rounds with ninja assassin levels of sneakiness. You can try Craigslist, but then there’s the fear of bed bugs or being sex murdered over a futon, which seems like a hassle.
The alternative is the hunter-gatherer model, where you end up walking from stoop sale to flea market to junk store hoping to stumble upon the ideal desk or the One True Rug to really tie the room together. Of course, this means it can take weeks or months to assemble a full apartment of furniture. And since most of us don’t have cars, going from spot to spot and shlepping a huge piece of assembled furniture home can seem as daunting. So if you don’t shop for furniture at Ikea in Brooklyn, where do you go?
I moved into a new place in January with barely any items that qualify as “furniture” (eating dinner off stacked storage boxes doesn’t count I suppose). The gf and I have been trying to get stuff online, but the appeal of finding one or two good furniture shops to just get it all over with in a weekend is becoming more appealing by the day.
So far I’ve tried our luck with a little knick knack store down the street on Washington and Prospect Place in Prospect Heights that sells antiques (which does not, it seems, have an internet presence), where we found a kitchen prep side table; the other day we searched the nearby Trailer Park store in Park Slope, which had a great collection of patchwork vintage furniture, lighting and decor with a reclaimed farmhouse vibe, but it didn’t quite match what we were looking for. I’ve found myself desperately missing the funky collection up for sale at Film Biz Recycling, which closed for good in June.
So let’s hear from you, furniture shoppers of Brooklyn: Where do you buy affordable furniture these days? Leave your suggestions in the comments; best one wins a date with the gender ambiguous character from the Ikea manual.