Over the years I’ve carefully worked to make my home as comfortable as possible. Part of this has been a sort of furniture foster/adoption process. I search for the right piece to fit exactly where I want it, or what I want it for. But then the re-arrange bug hits, and everything shifts one place to the left, and one piece no longer fits — a furniture version of musical chairs.
Many pieces have come and gone this way in the 13 years since my first apartment. Some were pieces I swore I would love and keep forever. Some plain wore out. Some the kids helped reach the end of their life faster. There are also those attached to memories I no longer wanted (divorce furniture is a real thing). And some survived, and will always survive, even though they will never have a place or purpose (the cradle/rocker my dad made for me when I was eight).
My homes have seen the fabulous ’80s, paint splattered, hide-a-bed sofa that wandered out of my dad’s living room into mine, and eventually landed in my brother’s bachelor pad. There was a futon, a papasan chair, ottomans, and desks of all kinds… Let’s just say I owe many people many beers for helping me move way too many things way too many times.
Currently, there are several pieces that I both love and hate. These are pieces that I carefully considered, shopped around for, lovingly adopted and brought home and now live in limbo between deep love and deep hate. Here are a few things to consider when adopting your own forever pieces.
“Big Daddy Chair” also known as a cuddle couch or an oversized reading chair
Why I love it: If you’re a snuggle-up-in-a-corner reader like me, this really is the “big daddy” of chairs. It’s soft, deep, round, and mine even swivels. It can fit two people (and I’m not little), and you can sleep in it comfortably. The only reason you need to ever leave this chair is if your servant has a day off and can’t bring you snacks and more books.
Why I hate it: The color. Cream takes on stains the second someone looks at it, or sneezes in that general direction. There are several tips for cleaning micro-fiber; I decided to ignore all them and simply machine wash the cushion cover and line dry. It works, but is instantly dirty as soon as it’s back on the chair.
Dining Room Table: Pub height, hidden butterfly leaf, dark finish. 6 matching chairs (sold separately, of course)
Why I love it: The height. I’m 5’8” so sitting at most standard dining room tables is a symphony of knocking knees. Pub height leaves plenty of room for long legs and is an easy lean across/set things down when your hands are full level. The hidden butterfly leaf was the biggest draw for bringing this piece home. It shrinks down in summer when I want the house to feel more spacious and opens up in the winter when it seems like things should feel more cozy. I can have two people for dinner or fit up to eight. The leaf doesn’t get lost or need to stored under the guest bed or fade over time. It’s right there in the middle of the table whenever you need it.
Why I hate it: Oh. My. Scratches. I have never seen a kitchen table scratch or stain so easily, especially for a dark wood. An easter basket was set on it for a few seconds and the straw left a scratch. Warm pizza boxes leave steam stains/white marks. Kids pushing too hard on pencils doing homework have left math problems until the end of time in the finish. I had to learn early on to let go when it came to keeping the table in tip top shape.
Coffee Table: Double expanding top, medium cherry wood finish.
Why I Love it: GAME NIGHT! Well, it’s never actually be used for game night, but I love the idea of having a top that could open up and accommodate a cards against humanity or board game night. Or, maybe an Indian-style dinner complete with floor cushions and eating with our fingers. Oh the possibilities!
Why I hate it: Grooves. The “barn wood” style translates into gunk/crumb/spill/mess catcher. The grooves are not sealed and catch EVERYTHING. How many people do you know that vacuum their coffee table? I DO. Finally, coffee tables are clutter-catchers, so if you want to open up one of the leaves you have to clear off everything (and clear off to close). Not a big problem, but sometimes it’s the little things that annoy us the most.
I’m currently browsing online to find the perfect chair to replace the big daddy chair, I’m considering doing a lacquer finish or sealing the top of the coffee table, and I’ve come to peace with my dining room table being “well loved.” I’m constantly rearranging rooms in my mind, browsing Pinterest for new ways to fit things in, different ideas for repurposing or that unique/unusual find.
Home is an ever changing space for me. It’s a learning and growing process. End of the day: if you love it, adopt it, try it. Even if you hate it, you’ll love it for teaching you what to look for next time. Also: measure twice, purchase once.