There was a fun discussion a while ago in the comments section — where do you go for furniture when you’re upgrading from Ikea (or otherwise buying “grown up furniture“)? I thought it might be fun to round up the answers, and perhaps to start a series on “the next step.” (We’ll obviously do fashion as the next one in the series — are there any other categories you would be interested in, ladies?)
Furniture is a really funny thing — it tends to stay with you for years, so hopefully you like the purchases you make. Post-school budgets don’t always allow you to buy the good stuff, though, so for me (and most of my friends) we “leveled” up after our first few years in the work place — but only if we could find something we loved. For example: When I was setting up my first post-grad school apartment, I compromised on a blue leather sleeper couch from Ikea, thinking, hey, I need a place to sit, and I can always buy a new one in a few years. After my husband and I got married we visited a TON of shops for new couches, prepared to spend money (he haaates the couch), but we didn’t quite find anything we loved, so we tabled the discussion… and then got pregnant. The Ikea couch is still a big “meh” in our house, but we are thrilled that we didn’t buy a new, non-leather couch whenever my son decides to do something silly, like eat yogurt with his hands. (Why, Jack… why?) We did “level up” with our bedroom furniture and dining room furniture, though, after trying to read a bit about furniture shopping…. In the bedroom, my parents generously gave us a housewarming gift of a bedroom set from Homestead Furniture in Amish Country (in Ohio, my home state), and my parents-in-law graciously got us a rug when they went on vacation to Turkey. That’s my husband pictured, clowning around with our massive mule chest). We also eventually bought a dining room table from Jensen Lewis, as well as a rocking recliner from Best Chairs‘ Storytime Series. Some purchases have been lucky — we’ve bought a number of rugs from online flash sale sites like Hautelook, Rue La La, and One Kings’ Lane, which have all turned out fine for the quality we need right now (see above re: Mr. Yogurt Hands). We have unfortunately made a few purchases I regret, including a china hutch and credenza from a mass market store — they were floor models so were already dinged when we got them, and the little details bug me, like drawers that don’t extend all the way (and break easily). Otherwise… my son is still using my old Ikea bedroom furniture (that stuff holds up, I will say that!), most of our lamps are still from JC Penney (I forget how I found their lighting department, but I generally like the stuff we’ve gotten, including the huge hanging lamp we have over the dining table), and, well, the couch is still the couch. Readers, when did you buy nice furniture? What stores did you go to when you decided to “level up”? Has anyone made special trips, such as to North Carolina, for furniture?