I am a huge fan of West Elm. Possibly it's due to the fact there aren't too many other options in DUMBO, but I really do like there stuff. It's a bit more contemporary and colorful than Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn (which is great about catalog returns at the store), and I think it's a bit less money as well. Our house is furnished with a mix of hand-me-downs from mom and dad, and new purchases we've made since our move to NYC in 2004 when we had our first grown-up apartment.
You know, the kind where things actually match and nothing in your living room was found in the alley and people like to sit on your couch. I remember my first college apartment and on the day we moved out, my parents came up to Boston from CT and helped me. I recall offering my dad a seat on our couch and he said "no thanks." Still makes me laugh!
Trust me, I am all about finding things and rehabbing them like on my favorite HGTV show Decorating Cents (I like House Hunters too), but I have no skills. I can't even use a drill. I am trying to find someone in my building to help us hang this mirror that needs anchors because I can't do it myself and my husband is not any better.
Anyway, we had two lamps in our living room - one from my mom and one from Home Goods. We just got a new one today from West Elm and it is so nice. Our kitty Lucy likes it as well.