When To Buy Furniture
The best advice I can give on buying furniture is to buy what you love and to start now because you’re already late. For most of us, our life in furniture starts with hand-me-downs and leftovers from our college days along with a splurge at IKEA for anything new. And this is fine in the beginning because the expectations are low and we’re just starting out so everything and anything feels like we’re legit playing house.
The problem is that many of us get stuck in this phase for way too long and some of us never actually get out. At its most dangerous, this can extend to our breeding years and then it’s game over because who’s going to want to spend real money on furniture that your kids are just going to wreck, right? Wrong. The truth is that you can save up and buy pieces that you love AND teach your kids how to behave around them. Yes, it’s definitely more work but the result is magical since you get to surround yourself with delightful, grown-up furniture AND you can take your kids to anyone’s house. Even mine.
I’m always amazed at how many people would rather live with awful furniture FOR A REALLY LONG TIME, rather than invest a little time in teaching their children the difference between a playground and a living room. I honestly don’t think it’s any worse than house-training a puppy and you wouldn’t just let your puppy chew, scratch, piss, and shit all over your house would you? No, you house-train them because you have to, and I say this is NO different. The really sad part is that if you don’t, you wind up with kids (and dogs) who go to other people’s houses and do bad things. And I can tell you that I die from pride every time I hear my son yelling at his friends to clean up their wrappers, use a coaster and get their feet off the table!
I will admit that it wasn’t always easy. When my son was little we had a sofa in our spare room and I had put a bunch of drawings on top of it because this room was used mostly for storage. One day we had guests over and the kids thought it would be fun to play in there and the next thing I knew I was being dragged into the room by the older kids to find my son covered head to toe in brightly-colored pastel dust and my beautiful flax linen sofa looked like a clown car had exploded on it. Once I emerged from my catatonic state and could speak again, it was, shall we say, a very teachable moment. For him to never do that again, and for me to not kill him.
So. I’m not saying it’s pain-free, I’m saying it’s worth the pain. Kids definitely benefit from being taught to respect their environment and they grow up to appreciate beautiful, valuable and even expensive things. And the truth is that living with crappy, broken-down furniture for a long time starts to affect the psyche. It makes it very difficult to think of our home as a treasured sanctuary (unless you think heaven looks like an IKEA showroom), we trade our life-stage bragging rights for excuses and embarrassment, and worst of all, when we finally wake up and realize that it’s time to start treating our home like grown-ups live in it, the cost to replace all of the dilapidated hand-me-downs is overwhelming.
The bottom line is this. You can do it. Your children can do it. You will all be better off in the long run. I promise. So start now, because you’re never too old, or too young, for a beautiful oasis.