For the Kitchen & Dining Room
1002 Pine Street; 215-351-9260
Best for Kitschy kitchenware.
Old and new items mingle at this jam-packed Antiques Row store, making it the perfect place to find affordable knickknacks that put the icing on a cool kitchen. Goods range from delicate embroidered hand towels and placemats to vintage kitchen equipment like juicers and mixers, European food signs, ’60s Dansk sunshine-yellow nesting bowls, and Pucci-inspired French Bull printed plastic dishes and cups. Insider tip Make your way to the back of the crowded store for the amazing collection of retro teapots with matching cups and saucers, perfect for using or just showing off.
315 Arch Street, 215-922-2104, and three other area locations; danedecor.com
Best for Scandinavian designer kitchen and dining sets.
If you can’t find that avant-garde kitchen or dining room table you’ve been dreaming of here, well, you may just be too picky! We especially love the expandable ones, which fold and unfold to accommodate however many guests you’re hosting. And Dane’s selection is so extensive — and stylish — that in one stop you could get all the major pieces you need to furnish an office, bedroom, living room, kitchen, and then some. Insider tip Worried whether your investment will weather the years, the kids, the use? Don’t fret — Dane Decor offers a 25-year warranty on all non-clearance items.
Liz Kinder Ceramics
126 Market Street, 215-925-2235; lizkinder.com
Best for Handmade ceramic dining ware.
Maybe you already knew that Philly-based Liz Kinder makes gorgeous handcrafted ceramic plates, bowls, serving pieces, vases and more. But did you know that her lines are sold in retail locations and galleries in 32 different states, including Alaska? We love her earthy Black Mountain collection, which Kinder describes as “dark and mysterious.” And check out her newest creations — stunning ceramic-base lamps with colorful synthetic rice-paper shades. Insider tip Call ahead and make an appointment. Liz just had a baby boy, and store hours are, understandably, sporadic.
1017 Race Street; 215-625-8883
Best for: Kitchen accents and cheap housewarming gifts.
Chinese restaurant supplies are sturdy, versatile and inexpensive, and the back aisle of this Race Street grocery store has a great selection of them: pots and pans, colanders, massive woks, rice cookers, funky lunch boxes, and bamboo steamers that easily double as quirky jewelry boxes or mail holders. Insider tip: Chung May stocks an incredible array of ceramics: big bowls in earthy colors with vines and flowers etched on them, small pastel bowls with smiling kittens on them, yellow bowls painted with red roosters, nutty brown bowls with purple insides. When grouped together, they make charming gift sets that looks expensive — at about $3 per bowl.
FOR THE BEDROOM:
Uhuru Furniture and Collectables
1220 Spruce Street, 215-546-9616; apedf.org
Best for: Cheap, cheap, cheap furniture.
Don’t visit this used furniture depot if you’re looking for something specific, because goods fly in and out several times daily. Uhuru relies totally on donations and receives so many that stock is usually spilling out onto Spruce Street. Inside, dressers, desks, armoires and tables are piled high on top of each other — some are better than others, but all are cheap and perfect for a redo if you’ve got a creative gene. On a recent trip, we spied a pair of matching red metal ’50s kitchen chairs, Oriental rugs, Art Deco floor lamps, and an early-20th-century sewing table. Insider tip: Furniture and delivery (even same-day) here are so cheap, it might be worth getting pieces refinished by a professional.
122 East Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, 610-902-0208; shopgenes.com
Best for: Hip baby furnishings and accessories.
If Genes weren’t already the go-to place for hip babies and baby mamas, the new downstairs furniture area would seal the deal. Whatever the newest, coolest celeb-craze baby gear — Netto Collection cribs and changing tables, Dwell bedding, Candeloo nightlights, the Bon Jovi Rock Star Baby stroller — you’ll find it at Genes. Plus, they stock great decorating items, like Jeeto canvas prints, and WallCandy peel-and-stick wall art in stripes, dots, butterflies and more. Insider tip: Bring a photo of your darling and turn it into chic art with Genes’ canvas wall-art service. Pick your colors and canvas size, and in just a few weeks you’ll have a hip hand-painted keepsake.
Second Mile Center
214 South 45th Street; 215-662-1663
Best for: Funky old furniture you’re willing to put some DIY energy in.
Among the discarded Ikea goods, you’ll find mirrored dressers, velvet sofas and mismatched chairs, labeled with bizarrely endearing staff-scrawled notes like, “Won’t I look nice in your living room?” and “I have stripes!” Insider tip: Don’t miss Second Mile Center II next door for kitschy tchotchkes like knitted vases.
1512 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown; 215-233-1000
Best for: Fabric and design advice.
“We can do anything fabric-related for the home,” says Designer’s Nest owner Beth Robertson, who grew up in the textile business. And the proof is in this Flourtown shop — which showcases headboards, bedding, window treatments and more downstairs (including lines from Dwell, Area and other big names), and fabrics by the yard upstairs. With three super-friendly and totally unpretentious interior designers on staff, it’s the perfect place for the clueless decorating-newbie in need of serious design advice. Come by during store hours (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday) or call to make a one-on-one appointment. Insider tip: Designer’s Nest offers affordable and comprehensive onetime design consultations: Designers will come to your home for two hours and make suggestions for up to three rooms, for an unbeatable $100.
FOR ART & ACCESSORIES:
1860 Weavertown Road, Douglassville, 610-689-9541; merritts.com
Best for: Quality (and quantities of) hard-to-find antiques and bargain reproductions.
If you’re making the hour-plus drive from Center City to Merritt’s, you may find yourself along a stretch of Route 422, second-guessing the trek. But once you arrive at the sprawling 66-year-old warehouse, you’ll realize that you’ve come to the antiques store that trumps all others. With so much to see, it’s a store that encourages creativity. While we were there, one shopper bought huge old steel chocolate-Easter-bunny molds; he planned to string lights through them and then hang them from the ceiling. As he so eloquently put it, “It’s the kind of place where you can find crazy crap to do fun stuff with.” Insider tip: The Merritt’s website offers live customer service; you can instant-message with a knowledgeable store rep to find exactly what you’re looking for.
1034 Pine Street, 215-206-8547; linuboutique.com
Best for: Unusual, sophisticated linens.
This airy, hippie-chic space on Antiques Row is dedicated to the art of linen, and to showing off how versatile that fabric actually is. The collection consists of hand-woven drapes and organically made placemats, tablecloths and napkins, mostly in neutral shades with subtle patterns. Cop a feel of the soft, super-absorbent linen towels in plaid, and you’ll never go back to cotton again. Insider tip: Anything can be custom-ordered in a load of vibrant colors.
114 South 19th Street, 215-751-0331; ruka.com
Best for: Asian accessories.
Ruka’s got the entire continent covered, from imported Japanese square rice-paper lamps to early 20th-century silk embroidery mirror covers from Uzbekistan to skinny six-drawer towers from India. There’s also a great selection of authentic and Asian-inspired (read: knockoff) table items, like square ceramic plates and teapot and sake sets. Insider tip: Check price tags before hitting the register — they can range from $20 up to several hundred bucks.
107 South 13th Street, 215-922-1415; openhouseliving.com
Best for: Chic touches.
Sure, this urban oasis has sleek white leather chairs and pricey mod armoires, but the best products are the cool items that go on that armoire and under that chair. Fresh interchangeable floor squares from Interfaceflor, graphic pillows from Thomas Paul, statement-making lamps from Lights Up, and stemless glasses from Reidel are sophisticated but functional details. Even the Acca Kappa soaps are attractive. Insider tip: The website is a great place to scope the vibe, but goods move so fast here that you won’t find the seasonal, up-to-date stuff that makes the trip worthwhile by browsing online.
Best for: Quirky collectibles.
Out of a garage in Fishtown, Lara Long runs a chock-full-of-vintage website offering tons of handpicked, lighthearted goods to outfit any home. The site is organized in easy-to-navigate sections like “ashtrays,” “exotic touristy stuff” and even “owls.” Her style is consistent, so trust that any mixing and matching done will work well, or use her organized sections to hone in on a specific same-genre look. Pick up earth-tone flower bowls for the kitchen or plates printed with campy state slogans, or give kids a pop-culture history lesson with Muppets or Strawberry Shortcake lunch boxes. Insider tip: Use the “updated section” box on the homepage to find out what’s new.
1850 River Road, Lambertville, 609-397-0811; gnmarket.com
Best for: Antiques.
Thankfully for us, the long outdoor tables and indoor permanent booths selling anything and everything are open year-round. Inside, find rooms of Asian antiques, fun stalls with old pinball machines and board games, used kitchen wares, rare collector’s items like crescent-shaped bone plates (from the late 1800s), Philly-related stuff like old postcards, prints and paintings, a ’60s room, and tons of retro pop-culture items, like ’70s McDonald’s glasses and Pillsbury Doughboy dolls. And almost every vendor sells tons of cheap used books.
Insider tip: Go early, because on slow days, vendors break down well before the posted 4 p.m. closing time.
63 Bridge Street, Lambertville; 609-397-2121
Best for: Styling your Shore house.
The weathered, breezy beach style of this well-organized half-old, half-new store is the perfect way to add some flair to a seaside home. Start with the beautiful large shells, or anchor clutter with ceramic starfish. Other doodads like weathered frames and ceramic letters will add some much-needed updating to that Stone Harbor condo. Insider tip: If the tag reads “No 63,” the item is new.
51 Bridge Street, Lambertville, 609-397-6660; areaandco.com
Best for: Girlie pieces.
Splurge on Abyss towels ($59 apiece), Thymes body products, super-comfy slip-covered love seats and matching chairs, Tracy Glover hand-blown glass lamps, Plynyl rugs by Chilewich, and Juliska pottery in Martha Stewart-like washed pastels. Insider tip: Take advantage of the tons of fabric options to make custom bedding and cover couches with matching or print-mixing pillows.
T.E. Motorworks, Inc.
3235 Amber Street, #6, 215-426-1447; te-motorworks.com.
Best for: Custom metalwork pieces.
This Port Richmond metalworking shop boasts “engineered function in an aesthetically pleasing design.” Translation? You dream it, and owner Vin Marshall flips down his welding mask and makes it happen. And by “it,” we mean extensive, custom-designed metalwork pieces (i.e., lighting, loft staircases, yard gates) from scratch for homes and businesses, architects and designers. Insider tip: Check out some of T.E. Motorworks’s finished products — like the sign outside and the eye-catching wine-bottle chandelier inside new Vintage Wine Bar and Bistro (129 South 13th Street).
3016 East Thompson Street, 215-634-3474; re-store-online.com
Best for: Chic architectural salvage.
On a quiet street in Port Richmond, a bright and peaceful little store has the perfect weathered glass door, baby blue or peach bathroom pedestal sink, barn shutters, painted windows, vent covers and banisters to give any room a look like you didn’t try too hard.
Insider tip: Call ahead before the trek to see if they have what you want.
Bucks County Dry Goods
5 Klines Court, Lambertville; 609-397-1288
Best for: Mid-century modern furniture.
Take another look as you zoom past the front furniture options to the back clothing racks, because the owners here have a talent for picking out well-conditioned mid-century modern pieces — with a little ’70s thrown in. Shapely cocktail tables work with the simple chairs, and new and old accessories like clear-border frames and kitschy PA and NJ embroidered pillows personalize the look. Insider tip: Don’t be shy — tell the owners what you’re looking for: It might be lingering in the back, or they can search for it while doing their own hunting.
The Classic Lighting Emporium, Inc.
62 North 2nd Street, 215-625-9552; classic-lighting.com.
Best for: Antique and hard-to-find lighting fixtures.
Try not to break anything as you shimmy through aisles and duck your head under Classic Lighting’s floor-to-ceiling collection of candelabras, chandeliers, sconces, table lamps and more. With “over 1 million pieces in stock,” CLE claims to house the country’s largest selection of antique lighting options and parts. Insider tip: Classic Lighting also does lighting repairs and can match parts, bulbs and shades, so bring that rickety heirloom from Aunt Ethel, and the experts here will rewire, repair and rejuvenate it.
Crane Arts Building, 1400 North American Street, #314, 215-235-3405; inliquid.com
Best for: Art.
Run. Get tickets now, because if you miss the October 5th auction, you’ll have to wait another year for a chance to get amazing deals on adventurous products. Genevieve Coutroubis (bone-chilling black-and-white photos), John Karpinski (quirky comics) and Clay Studio (the coolest pottery) are just three of the 150-plus local artists and businesses that gather to sell off their goods. The result is a decent price on artsy products, with 50 to 100 percent of the proceeds going to charity. Don’t fill that blank wall with a pastel of Boathouse Row; instead, see how many comments you get on that trippy, colorful Rachel Citrino oil. Insider tip: Log on to inliquid.com to scope out the goods before bidding, or buy a ticket ($50 in advance, $60 at the door) for the Champagne Preview reception and see them up close.
60 North 3rd Street, 215-627-8688; themixedcompany.com.
Best for: Funky, one-of-a-kind accents.
You probably wouldn’t furnish your whole place from this tiny boutique, but you could find that one piece you’ll fall in love with. It might be an antique European side table, a hand-painted tile from the wall, a garden statue, or original art from a nationally recognized artist like Schaller or Stango. Our favorite? The repainted vintage garden chairs in green and purple. Insider tip: Check back often. Owner Bernadette Lawler takes lots of trips overseas to bring back fresh wares.
Renninger’s Antiques & Farmers Market
740 Noble Street, Kutztown, 610-683-6848; renningers.com
Best for: Oddball conversation pieces.
Think of it as eBay come to life: Located out in the cornfields of Berks County, Renninger’s is a sprawling Saturday antiques/food/flower market, with strollable aisles indoors and out. Those into Olde Americana will find themselves in heaven — think washing boards dating back to the early 1900s and vintage Coca-Cola ads. But don’t be lulled into too much of a happy haze: The sellers manning the booths may have the thickest Pennsylvania Dutch accents you’ve ever heard, but they know their stuff and are tough when it comes to bargaining and bartering. On a recent trip, we scored two vintage Fiestaware vases ($40 each), an armload of zinnias ($2), and a 1970s painting of a girl with big sad eyes ($3). Insider tip: Get there early — like, 8 a.m. early — for the best deals.
Inside & Outside
164 East Lancaster Avenue, Wayne; 610-971-1070
Best for: Stylish, reasonably priced accessories.
Inside & Outside is a great place to score designer pieces at not-quite-so-ridiculous prices, with something for every room — like Roost lamps, Jonathan Adler accents, and a huge selection of dining ware and serving pieces. It’s also the best place to find custom-engraved or monogrammed everything — from glassware to poker chips to doormats. Insider tip: Don’t miss the sale items in the back room, where everything is half-price.
FOR THE LIVING ROOM:
159 North 3rd Street, 215-627-0299; modemoderne.com.
Best for: High-end mid-century modern designer furniture and antiques.
Yes, Mode Moderne has tables and sideboards and big vintage pieces, but what we love are the finishing-touch items — Vitra George Nelson reissue wall clocks, Modernica lamps, Herman Miller chairs — making for a supremely well-edited, no-nonsense collection. Insider tip: When you find that piece you can’t live or leave without, chat with owners Mike Wilson and Michael Glatfelter, who can tell you things you don’t know about the period and designer behind your pick (so you can act brilliant when you repeat their lesson to envious friends).
804 North 2nd Street, 215-925-4005; pad-home.com
Best for: Fun antiques mixed with modern accessories.
Northern Liberties shop P.A.D. is the place where old furniture and new accessories live blissfully, beautifully, in harmony. Come for the antique finds — end tables, rocking chairs, and headboards petite enough to fit in even the tiniest apartments — and stay for the modern dining pieces, quirky wall art, work from local artists, and chats with super-friendly and approachable co-owners Christy Lee and Peter D’Orsaneo. Insider tip: Christy and Peter do their best to accommodate shoppers by opening the store during closed hours if they’re in the area and available. Just give them a ring to schedule private shopping time.
Bryn Mawr Thrift Shop
801 County Line Road, Bryn Mawr; 610-525-4888
Best for: Well-kept hand-me-downs for cheap.
Any yard-sale addict will tell you the key to quality finds is location, location, location. So it’s no surprise that Main Line-fed Bryn Mawr Thrift Shop is a hotbed of sweet deals. Think barely used mahogany desks, well-maintained antiques, and scads of sturdy chairs and end tables. We especially love the bric-a-brac basement floor, where you can find whole sets of plates and wineglasses, plus plenty of quirky conversation pieces. Insider Tip: While you browse, be sure to turn over the item tickets; if the backing matches one of the two designated discount colors of the week, your pick is half price.
118 North 3rd Street, 215-922-2002; minima.us
Best for: Contemporary designer seating (and other designer pieces).
Minima stocks the real versions of those designer pieces you thought you could only find in New York, like Tulip lounge chairs by Pierre Paulin or Caboche suspension lamps by Patricia Urquiola for Foscarini — the ones that other stores are imitating. And the Old City showroom is certainly minimalist chic, which seems to make each piece a little more precious and a little less overwhelming. Insider tip: For $150 an hour, a Minima designer will come to your home and suggest a few pieces to remake or reinforce your look. The fee is then credited toward purchases.
2206 South Columbus Boulevard, 215-551-4532; 400 Alan Wood Road, Conshohocken, 610-834-1520; ikea.com
Best for: Bargain furniture with a designer look.
Ikea’s no hidden secret — but it is the kind of mainstream guilty pleasure that never lets us down. No, the wares aren’t vintage or one-of-a-kind, but when you’re on a budget and need something that looks hipper than that flowery old couch Mom has been offering you for the past five years, you’ll find something newer — and infinitely cooler — here. Request the brand-new 2007 catalog at ikea.com, or browse the online version. Insider tip: Plan your space and pick some favorite pieces by downloading Ikea’s Home Planner, a computer program that lets you select and place virtual furniture to create a 3D room layout.
Architectural Antiques Exchange
715 North 2nd Street, 215-922-3669; architecturalantiques.com
Best for: Big, dramatic vintage pieces.
This 30,000-square-foot Northern Liberties warehouse holds three floors of “architectural” antiques — think less knickknacks and more huge doors, mirrors, stained-glass windows, mantels, etc. The collection here dates from the late 1700s all the way through the 1930s, with special emphasis on beautiful and rare Victorian and Gothic pieces. With so much to see, you could spend a whole afternoon here just for the sake of that creaky-stairs, hunting-through-Grandma’s-attic feeling. Insider Tip: Bring the truck. Most of the items here are as large and unwieldy as they are old and fabulous.
The People’s Store
28 North Union Street, Lambertville; 609-397-9808
Best for: Couches, dining room tables, chests and dressers in excellent condition.
An impeccably edited and neatly organized array of antique furniture, jewelry, clothes and collectibles fills the three stories of the People’s Store. Make sure to explore beyond the entry-level floor: Upstairs, you’ll find original framed drawings, paintings, photos, and maps; downstairs, don’t miss the book collection, with its changing assortment of hardcover Hardy Boys and kitschy ’60s cookbooks. Insider tip: As signs around the store advise, be sure to bring help when you come to pick up large pieces; the People’s Store doesn’t deliver.
323 Race Street, 215-922-6041; brugeshome.com.
Best for: High-end, unique pieces with an organic look.
Maybe it’s the pretty blue walls, the sweet-smelling bath rocks, and the tables and lamps that incorporate natural driftwood — or maybe it’s just owner and Dallas transplant Ed Gray’s not-from-around-here friendliness. Something about just-opened Bruges makes it feel like an oasis in the middle of Old City. The furniture and accessories are arranged so neatly and naturally, you’ll feel less like you’re in a shop and more like you’ve been invited into Gray’s home and might just stay awhile. Insider tip: Ask about the custom-made mirrors framed in wide strips of tin from the roof of the old Civic Center.
928 Pine Street, 215-925-3305; ethnicsfurniture.com
Best for: Affordable wood furniture.
We loved its former home in a warehouse on Bainbridge, but while Ethnics’ new space (it’s now owned by a former employee) lacks the overwhelming clutter of its old one, it still carries the same durable, well-priced mahogany Indonesian kitchen tables, stools, bookshelves and wine racks — the perfect way to add tropical touches to any home. Painted-then-antiquated furniture in colors like light yellow and red are standouts. Enjoy the eclectic sprinkling of accessories, like tall, cylindrical woven baskets and adorned throw pillows. Insider tip: Shipments come sporadically and infrequently, so sign up for the mailing list online or at the store to be in the know. The next one is due around November.
Flotsam + Jetsam
Showrooms in Old City and Fishtown. By appointment only; 215-351-9914
Best for: High-end pieces from local designers and artwork from local artists.
What “flotsam and jetsam” means? Found items washed ashore from a sunken ship. How Flotsam + Jetsam owner Meltem Birey makes the phrase hers? By showcasing a collection of antique, artistically crafted or repurposed items that are usable and soulful. An eclectic mix of furniture and art that’s arranged as it might be in your home — instead of on a typical showroom floor or bare white walls — helps Flotsam + Jetsam blur the line between hip art gallery and design-savvy furniture store. Insider tip: Flotsam + Jetsam offers free custom dimension service; staff will physically adjust pieces to help you transport them up that curvy staircase or through your just-a-little-too-skinny apartment door.
Antique Depot and the Blue Mountain Thrift Store
1251 East Main Street, Annville, 717-867-4400 and 866-414-2136, respectively; bluemountainthrift.com
Best for Secondhand post-modern furniture.
We dread the drive out to Lebanon County, if only for that inevitably miserable pocket of traffic by KOP, but we brave it simply because the coolest couple we know swears by the Antique Depot and the Blue Mountain Thrift Store behind it. There, they’ve found Herman Miller (and Herman Miller-like) chairs, original artwork, like-new rugs, and porch-perfect couches and tables, often at a tenth of the price eBay has them going for. Insider tip Pay attention to the tags at Blue Mountain; color-coded labels are used to signify different levels of discounts.
4700 Wissahickon Avenue, #101, 215-849-8030; materialculture.com
Best for: Wow-factor furniture to mix and match.
Leave lots of time for a trip to this tucked-away warehouse, where unique pieces of variously styled furniture hide in every corner. The space is divided by type; the first floor has stacks of painted trunks, antique cabinets, and Moroccan print floor pillows, throws and fabric that your teenage daughter would love. Upstairs holds even more treasures, like hand-crafted copper dining tables with a rustic finish, Victorian-looking chairs updated with bright blue and pink velvet cushions and metallic painted trim, and lots of streamlined sofas. Insider tip: For one-on-one attention, visit on a weekday.
KC Home at Kepple’s Carpet
1 North Springdale Road, 856-424-8686; kepplescarpet.com
Best for: Brand-name finds.
The Cherry Hill branch of this well-respected carpet emporium has a teensy-tiny corner filled with hugely stylish finds. Jonathan Adler pillows in browns and robin’s-egg blue, Cole River vases, Global Views woven chairs, and Dransfield and Ross pillows all make for a guaranteed find to go with the Angela Adams rugs. Insider tip: Ask for Marci — she’s the most in-the-know salesgirl ever.
17 South Main Street, Lambertville, 609-773-0777; mixgallery.com
Best for: Mid-century modern furniture.
In her modestly sized shop, owner Chery Lin stocks perfect-condition tables, couches and chairs — as well as a stunning array of vintage handbags from the mid-1900s. Insider tip: Check out the newly opened “annex” gallery around the corner at 37 North Union Street.
906 North 2nd Street; 215-238-1997
Best for: Vintage ’30s through ’70s dining sets, living room furniture and accessories.
You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time — or to the Brady Bunch house — when you enter this Northern Liberties shop. It’s a haven for collectors and dealers alike — as well as for the impromptu shopper — with its wide selection of vintage table sets, sectionals, lamps, coffee tables and more. Owner James Miller explains, “I do the shopping so you don’t have to!” Insider tip: The bad news: You spent your whole paycheck on that exquisite Art Deco sideboard. The good news: Vintage Modern offers free delivery anywhere in the city!
Best for: Wooden basics.
It may not be the best idea to find a roommate on this e-community site — or, for that matter, to pick up a couch that’s probably older than you are — but wooden tables and shelves are a safe bet. Although some work, like searching and pickup, is required, there are hot finds. Most sellers show photos with listed goods, so there should be no surprises. Check back often, because updates come by the minute. On a recent surf, we found a black Henredon credenza for $400 in West Chester, an ornate walnut king-size bed frame for $250 in Exton, and a bistro table with four matching chairs for $120 on Rittenhouse Square. Insider tip: Don’t settle — this site is actually a haggler’s dream.