In my life before kids, I was much too cool for furniture. I had been a world traveler and wanted to live out of my backpack for the rest of my adult existence, even when I moved back to Oregon. Eventually I settled in enough to buy a great quality used futon for $100. It was functional, it was uncomfortable, and it was going to be temporary. That was exactly fourteen years ago.
Later my husband and I waited to buy furniture because our house was small. Then because our kids came along and slid half chewed bananas along the surface of everything we owned. Our futon is still solidly sitting in our living room and has survived nauseous children, early potty training, and dozens of guests who have graciously attempted sleep on its lumpy surface. (My co-blogger and co-author Rebecca is one of them…)
At some point last week, I came down with a feverish desire for a couch. Now that our kids are a bit older, it suddenly seemed possible to move beyond combat furniture. I didn’t give a whit about style, I just desperately wanted a soft space on which to rest my 39 year old bones. For the last two years I have searched craigslist for the right fit, color and frame and haven’t been inspired. After a visit to a few local furniture stores during their January clearance events, we have opted to buy a new couch rather than wait for used.
If you have followed this blog, or read our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, you know just how shocking it is for me to splurge on anything new. But unlike baby furniture or clothing, this couch is going to sit in our living room for the next decade or more. (Remember how long that futon got stuck there?) Our favorite model is made by Stanton Sofas right here in the state of Oregon with a hardwood frame and an extensive lifetime warranty that will ensure our kids don’t destroy it within the first six months. (The picture below isn’t from Stanton, but it’s the type of small sectional we’re buying.)
Although I’m a bit shocked that we’re finally moving out of our spartan furniture phase, I have to say it feels great to have scrimped all those years so that we can finally appreciate owning a good piece of furniture. Having spent the last decade flopping down on a lumpy futon, it will be glorious appreciate the comfort of a soft sofa each and every time we collapse at the end of the day. The futon will be moved down to playroom to officially become “the jumping couch.” I think our kids may end up taking it to college in about fifteen years….
Some people avoid the futon phase altogether and buy a great couch before their children ever arrive. Maybe their offspring are much calmer than mine or perhaps better trained to respect fine furniture. What has your experience been? Do you have any couch advise for me? Are you still living in futon-land?