At the end of the year, I shared a list of things that worked for me in 2014, the things that made my life run more smoothly, or the things that just made life a lot more fun. like Lucky’s Market, audiobooks, my glitter flats.
I very nearly included our living room sectional on that list. I decided not to because 1. It’s just a sofa and 2. It felt materialistic. (Maybe that shouldn’t have stopped me, because I did include gold glitter flats on the list.)
My sister-in-law handpicked that sofa for us. When we moved into our new house in May, the living room baffled me. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Sarah is a talented designer with a great eye (not my daughter Sarah, although I find myself saying that about her more and more), and she made a plan the whole family loves.
Most of the budget went towards a single piece of new furniture: the sectional.
We’d been planning on this purchase for a while; it wasn’t just a we-got-bored-with-the-old-look purchase. Our old sofa was broken beyond repair: when we moved, we opted to trash it instead of loading it on the moving van. We expected this expense, but it still felt like a big chunk of change.
But it’s the perfect piece to anchor the room. We all love it, and our whole family piles on it to study history, watch Jimmy Fallon, and just hang out. It’s the kids’ favorite place to read. It’s where Will and I bring our coffee to chat. It’s where I burrow under blankets (in the corner seat, please) with a good book on frigid winter afternoons. (Bonus: the warranty is killer, so I’m relaxed about all this family togetherness on the sofa.)
We were at a family dinner when I told my sister-in-law how much I loved our sectional. My brother—who knows way more about furniture than I do—said I’d accidentally followed one of his favorite rules of thumb: Spend your money on the furniture you live ON. Save your money on the furniture you live AROUND.
I understood immediately. So did my dad, who said it’s just like handkerchiefs: some are for blowing, and some are for showing. (Ha!)
Our sectional is for blowing. We live all over that thing. It’s the favorite seat that everyone wants, because it’s comfy and it doesn’t budge when you flop on it. It’s cozy and inviting. It was money well-spent.
In contrast, we went the cheap route for the furniture we live around, the stuff that’s for showing. We want it to be pretty, but it doesn’t have to be comfortable, or stand up to heavy use.
We still have a lot to do in the new place. As we move forward with the finishing touches, we’ll be intentional about following that rule of thumb—spending our money on the furniture we live on, and going the budget route on the stuff we live around.
Is this a principle you’ve put to use in your home? I’d love to hear any other rules of thumb you have for YOUR home.