Monday, March 22, 2010

Q&A: A lifelong commitment (to your furniture)

Dear Jackie,

I need a little relationship advice. I feel that I've outgrown my relationship with... my furniture. Oh, we got along great when we were still in college, but now I feel so much more mature now, you know? Meanwhile, Secondhand Sofa has totally let himself go, and BILLY Bookcase just can't meet my needs anymore. I think we're going to have to break up. Any advice for a grown-up gal looking for a committed relationship with her furniture?

Ready to Settle Down, But Not To Settle


You're not the only one who's "just not that into" their furnishings anymore! We all reach those milestones: first real job and real paycheck, dumping the loser college boyfriend, living on our own, tackling our first home repair solo, and of course upgrading to Grown-Up Furniture.

As you know, there ain't nothin' wrong with a little IKEA or secondhand pieces. But sooner or later you need to evaluate what you've got. A mahogany side table that once belonged to your grandmother is a "secondhand" item that you'll keep for the rest of your life. A couch that your neighbor gave you as he was moving out, complete with cigarette burns in the cushions and an aroma of wet dog, is something you chuck as soon as you're able.

Guuurl, you're too good for that hot mess.

Once you're on the rebound from your old furniture, don't just hook up with the first hot coffee table that you walk by. You have to consider where your priorities are, and how much you're looking to invest -- literally. Remember, you're looking for something that'll last "'till death do you part," so choose wisely!

For most people, their money is best spent on arguably the biggest and most important piece of furniture in their home: the sofa. Sofas are heavy, both in terms of weight and their cost. It'll be difficult to replace once your crush has faded, so don't look for a Bad Boy couch here -- stick to a Nice Guy. Pick a solid, well-constructed piece using quality materials. Yes, it'll be expensive, but yes, it'll be worth it. Also go for a simple color and material and a classic shape; even if your style is funky and trendy, you can still go that way with your other, less expensive pieces. You can always dress up your couch with a slipcover, throw pillows, or reupholstering if you're looking to add a little spice to your love(seat) life.

Hello, lover...

And I see you've brought a friend...

Once you've settled down with your settee, you can build the rest of your collection around it. End tables, bookcases, coffee tables, side chairs -- it's up to you. But go slow! Save up your money and take your time. You'll know when it feels right...

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