Decorating Rite of Passage

by Andrea Cooley

Does anyone else feel like successfully buying a sofa—or any piece of furniture—as a couple is a rite of passage in your marriage? It seems all my friends have had some kind of disagreements with their husbands over furniture and decorating styles! He wants leather, she wants pattern. He “needs” a recliner, she can’t stand the thought.

Adam and I are no exception. About a year into our marriage we decided the hand-me-down sofa from my parents wasn’t going to cut it anymore. (I wish I had a picture of that sofa. It was really nice, but the floral pattern was never going to be my style!) We had bought a condo and were ready to upgrade to some furniture that we picked out!

We had been furniture shopping before, and have successfully purchased end tables, a coffee table, dining room set and china hutch. But every time we go to the furniture store it’s the same story. I go and want to look at everything, get an idea of what’s available and what we can afford, and then come back in a day or two and if I still like the same things, then we can buy it. Adam on the other hand goes with the mentality that we know we want a couch, let’s get it today. 45 minutes into our first couch-shopping expedition, Adam looked at me and said, “we aren’t going to get a couch today, are we?” No, we weren’t. The only consolation was that Homemakers offers fresh-baked cookies and lemonade for shoppers. Genius, right? They’ve kept many husbands and kids sane while moms and wives pick furniture!

If only I’d had Laura’s sofa buying tips, maybe we would have been able to choose our sofa in one trip! Like I’ve said before, sometimes I have commitment issues when it comes to decorating. A couch is a focal point in a living room. It needs to function in many different ways. We eat on it, sleep on it, read on it, watch TV on it, and still expect it to look good. In the past, I never really chose my couch. It was either a roommate’s, I found it in the trash (literally) or it was a hand-me-down from my parents. So now that I have the chance to pick out this integral piece of furniture I didn’t take the decision lightly.

So, on our second trip to the furniture store we narrowed down our options and chose the couch. But the store was closing and we didn’t have time to pick out fabric (yes we even got to choose that, amazing) so we went back the next day to finalize everything and place the order.

(It’s such a nice sunny morning, I couldn’t resist taking a couple pics of our sofa, and you get a sneak peek at the curtains I sewed! And I really do like the squared corners and chunky style of the sofa!)

5 years later, we’re still using the sofa. I’ve changed out the pillows and moved it around the living room. I’d say it’s well loved! I think it’s in pretty good shape, considering it was definitely on the low-end cost wise. But you know me, even though I don’t see us buying a new sofa for the next couple years, I’ve already started dreaming about what our next one will look like! Mostly I’m thinking about what color it would be. The brown is fine, but I’m on a gray kick lately and wonder how a charcoal gray or slate colored sofa would work in our living room. I’ll keep you posted!

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Andrea Cooley

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