You might know the word “consignment” from conversations with your effortlessly stylish friend — the one who has that fabulous Kelly bag but can still pay her rent on her equally fabulous apartment. Consignment shops, which sell the pre-loved designer scores of the well-heeled, make it all possible to look like a million for a hundred. And, while these stores are no big secret anymore for the fashion-obsessed, many don’t realize that similar paradises exist for furniture and home goods. If you have that Domino eye but not necessarily the expense account, you’re going to want to read very closely. And, did we mention that going the consignment route could put cash in your pocket? Seriously, what have you been waiting for?
Like a gorgeous cashmere sweater, your space needs high-quality pieces to have that pulled-together look. So, you shop — and find out that “high quality” means “really expensive.” On the consignment market, however, designers (and those who are lucky enough to have designers) offer up those same well-made pieces for way less than the original retail price. This isn’t Craigslist, either. Any consigned furnishing has to be in fantastic condition and from a recognized designer or retailer. In other words, you won’t find a saggy IKEA futon.
Consign For Cash
You can save big by shopping, but you can also make money, too. If you have a fantastic chair that doesn’t quite work in your space, you can become a consignor. In this arrangement, the consignment shop agrees to sell the piece for a set amount of time. (This varies by store.) It almost goes without saying that the furnishing or accessory has to be clean and in as great of shape as possible. Some minor imperfections are okay, but, for the most part, it has to be something that someone would want to actually buy. If your stuff sells, you get a cut of the selling price.
Couches can be some of the best buys on the consignment market: It’s a big piece that sets the scene for your living space and is something you’ll use daily. Prices are on par with lower-quality retail prices, so you’re getting way more for your money by going with consignment.
Lighting can also be an incredible buy, since you can often find standout fixtures that no one else will have. And, unlike combing high-end flea markets, you can trust that the chandeliers, floor, and table lamps will actually work.
January is when we’re all turning a new leaf, and perhaps tackling some long-awaited projects. Whether you want to finally replace that futon you’ve had since college or want to get rid of a few stylish things — all while making some cash to go towards taming that credit card bill — now is the time to do it. If you’re in the former camp, you’ll be able to find plenty of furnishings from a new influx of consigners eager to make their resolutions happen. If you’re in the latter, you’ll find plenty of hungry buyers looking to give your finds a happy new life.
If you happen to be purging your closet (or need to replace those boots that have seen way too many winters), we're huge fans of Vaunte. It’s an online fashion consignment boutique dedicated to top-tier designers, featuring clothing and accessories from the closets of the stylish and, well, the even more stylish.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at some of our designer's top picks. Even if you're a colorphobe, the bright green chairs really pop against an all-white dining room scheme.
Eileen Desk By Terence Conran, $850 (estimated retail price $1,750); White Truffault Lamp By Kenneth Wingard, $355 (estimated retail price $850); Karim Rashid Green Chairs, $820 (estimated retail price $1,345).