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We Asked 8 Interior Design Experts to Reveal Their Secret Sources

A confession: Until last month, I was a Yelp virgin. Somehow, despite being a bit of a remodel junkie, I’d avoided its crowdsourced hot takes for years, turning instead to Instagram or YouTube for inspiration and recommendations. But I’d just moved into a new, smaller space, and a pendant light got the better of me. After downsizing, I’d decided that “intention” was my buzzword. I purchased accordingly and with ease (fantasy-life pinning being one of my more time-consuming hobbies): a twin bed to save floor space, a round table instead of a traditional desk to keep my work arrangements flexible. I hung shelving units, assembled flat-packed furniture, and even painted the entire room — floor to ceiling — myself. But when it came time to install the light, I balked. What if I did it wrong? What if I set the place on fire?

The entire decorating process — pinning, shopping, and pining for solutions when I couldn’t do or find things myself — got me wondering how professional designers do it. What secret resources do they have access to? What are their can’t-miss styling objects? What apps do they use — and how? So we asked eight of our favorite experts for their interior design secrets and shopping tips: the products, hotspots, and why-didn’t-I-think-of-that fixes that make the process of furnishing a home so much smoother. Surprise, surprise —Yelp didn’t make the cut. (But Craigslist did!)

Keren Richter, The White Arrow

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Craigslist, Krrb, Chairish, Ebay, and Etsy are great and we certainly use them regularly, but the real key is to mine online auctions and aggregate websites. We like Search Tempest, a site that compiles results from all the Craigslist locations into one query, or online auction houses that are based in the country where the item originated. The key is always to go to the source! Once we’ve found something worth purchasing, shipping becomes the biggest obstacle, but luckily there are some great websites that facilitate inexpensive shipping—such as uShip—that allow movers to bid on transporting your items.

Elizabeth Roberts, Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design

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My personal favorite app is my Craigslist App called “cPro Craigslist.” I have saved searches like “organic,” “round dining table,” and “B&B Italia.” You can also search throughout the country, or only locally, or only in specific cities. You can “heart” favorite listings—I constantly visit my favorites. I have to say, there aren’t many clients who are open to us purchasing items for them on Craigslist, but we do purchase things for our office and for my new vacation home in Bellport all the time! And for the few clients who are open to the great savings and finds that I come across, they are incredibly grateful.

Mat Sanders, Consort

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My favorite tool is the Live Auctioneers app. You preview auctions, save items, receive alerts when the lot is up, and bid in real time. I found out about it when I attended an auction in person and noticed I kept getting outbid by a laptop in the corner. It kind of feels like a video game, and I do not recommend drinking while bidding, because it is oh-too-easy to spend money!

Sally Breer, Co-Mingle Design

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Probably my favorite secret is the percale duvet covers from The Company Store. I know, they don’t sound all that exciting, but they do them with free monogramming. (If it’s not free it’s like $10, so basically free). I think they want you to just monogram your initials or something boring like that but the secret is that you can monogram up to 11 characters. I’m a big fan of a white bed, so I have multiple white duvet covers but I have different sayings on each one done in an ivory font. Aside from being a subtle and unexpected surprise, seeing “BangBang” for a week is a good reminder to put clean sheets on the bed! Some of my duvet notes read: “BeCoolBaby” “SoItGoes” and “ToTheMoon.”

Sheena Murphy, Sheep + Stone Interiors

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Reform in Copenhagen just opened a location in Brooklyn, and they elevate IKEA kitchens with designs by Norm Architects + Henning Larsen; I go to Superfront in Sweden for cabinet hardware. For authentic, well-priced vintage Moroccan textiles, sourced by the sweetest couple: Larusi in London. The showroom is in a very hidden spot in Kentish Town. And A. Cheng in Park Slope for unique, one-of-kind ceramics made by the owner of the store. You have to go in person to see the full range.

Kelly Behun

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Gray Line Linen is a great resource for linen when you’re in a pinch. They have a good selection of upholstery and lighter-weight linens that are well priced. They’ve helped me avert a disaster on more than one occasion! Gray Line Linen, 260 W 39th St NYC, 212-391-4130.

Will Cooper, ASH NYC

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Can we say Europe? We just got back from shopping in Antwerp (Kloosterstraat has some great shops), Brussels (Rue Haute has our favorites) and Paris (Rue de Lille and Rue de Seine on the Left Bank.) Also, I do love the Marta Barware from CB2. Always a good staple and super cheap.

Laura Flam, Reunion Goods & Services

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Piggyback Letterpress groups together multiple letterpress orders to offset the cost of setting up the press. The only options are black on white paper, but the result is the highest quality letterpress print on a very beautiful paper that looks much more expensive than it was. We have used them for everything from Hotel Tivoli coasters featuring a Brice Marden drawing to our own business cards. We also source a huge amount of vintage items, and Krrb has become our staple for vintage shopping on a budget. It is not an auction site so there is less heartache than eBay and it is much easier to use for local sourcing as Krrb allows you to easily search within a certain radius. We just finished a restaurant called Bastion in Nashville that I am not sure how we would have furnished without Krrb and a van.