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wrong furniture choice

Sometimes, we buy furniture that seems like a great idea, but living with it is a whole ‘nother story.

For me, my biggest regret was my IKEA Malm-brand “platform” bed.

Once, I whacked myself on the bed, my shin bled, and I launched into a Twitter rant about the bed’s horrible design. By the end, I had unwittingly created the first-ever Malm Bed Support Group, for those of us with shin scars and bruises acquired by staggering in the night and whacking the brutally-sharp-corner platform-style frame.

Curse you, IKEA! “Never again,” one friend said. Never would they buy a bed with “nice angles” that are secretly groggy-walker shin-hating weapons of destruction.

Different when you get it home

That’s furniture for you. What looks nice in the store tends to be a different experience when you get it home. There’s always that honeymoon where you love the piece and you talk yourself out of the negatives because, well, Shiny! Pretty! But months later that “grading on a curve” thing takes a backseat to how annoying it really is. So annoying.

Oh, and the list is long, my friends. The older I get, the more I see the stupidity in some of my buying choices. So, it seems, do my friends. When I turned to my pals on Twitter and Facebook and asked what furniture they would never, ever buy again, we came up with the following list.

Glass-topped tables

Unless you have a stark-raving coke addiction, the glass or mirrored table is a lifestyle disaster waiting to happen. And if you have a stark-raving coke addition, you have a lifestyle disaster without buying the table purchase, so just stop that.

First, it’s nearly impossible to keep glass tables clean. If it’s not spotlessly clean, you look like a filthy, smudgy degenerate. And you can’t just go and “clean” it like you would any other table. No-o-o-o. You have to worry about streaks. God forbid, a streak!

Second, tempered glass is great, but it’s still breakable. The area of your home where you’re most likely to be drunk, sleepy, klutzy, or having kids run around in is your living room or kitchen. Yeah, great place to put a glass-topped table. Perfect idea. Genius move. What could possibly go wrong?

Low-hanging pendant lights

Pendant lights can be fantastic in the right place, but they can also be a head-injury magnet. Walk-walk-bonk. I’m 5’6 and I kept hitting myself on the low-hanging “dining table” light. Here’s a tip. When you have a whopping 8×8-foot area for your dining table, don’t hang a low-hanging pendant light in the middle of the room, because maybe you’d like to move the table to the side. Then, walk-walk-bonk.

Unless these pendants are off to the side, they pretty much dictate that you must forever and ever have furniture directly underneath. I think that’s rule 17B of the Homeowner’s Personal-Injury-Lawsuit Avoidance Handbook.

Deep overstuffed sofas

Who doesn’t have great memories of being in college, getting a little tipsy with buddies, and always, always having an overstuffed sofa nearby to crash on? I do.

But you’re not in college anymore. You’re a poor, tired, overworked adult. You see this big, comfy couch, and you think “It has its own TV show! Big comfy couch! Woo! Yay!”

So you figure, “Life is hard, but if I could come home from work and take a seat in a soft, cushy piece of heaven like that, I’ll feel like life has wrapped her loving arms around me and everything will be good and beautiful again!”

But then you buy the big, comfy couch. And soon you buy the Costco mother-of-all-bottles of muscle relaxers because you’ve become Anti-Postural in all areas of life. You couldn’t stand straight if you tried. The big, comfy, permaslouchy couchy has had its way with you, turning your spine to jelly. Weeks, if not months, without lumbar support, hunched shoulders…

Years from now we’ll learn the overstuffed sofa was a conspiracy by the Chiropractors of America. “Here, have we got a great chair for you! And seeya Thursday for an adjustment. $45, please.”

The too-precious-for-life chair

The crushed velvet seems like a wonderful idea until you’re terrified to eat or drink on it. But of course everyone who ever visits you takes a look at the chair and goes, “Omigod! I love it!”

Naturally they call shotgun ‘cos they just have to sit in it. So they’re over there, on the big, precious chair, scarfing down their cheese and crackers, feeling fancy and grand and using hand gestures like mad. You’re nodding politely and laughing at the conversation, but secretly you’re horrified the brie will fall and the chair be scarred for life, because who can really trust Scotchguard anyhow?

Then they spill the red wine, and you really, really wish it was the brie.

The slim-profile dresser

It’s long, thin, and gives you the illusion of a sleeker, bigger room. Yes, and it also gives you the illusion that you’re a design genius because it looks so-o-o-o-o cool. But sadly you’re mistaken on all counts. No, no. Don’t take offense, because I too suffer the shame of having been silly enough to buy a set of these.

There is no dresser configuration harder to keep in order than the slim-profile design. Even worse, you have to fold clothing smaller than normal, meaning more creases and wrinkles. And because it’s so darned shallow, you’ve got to move everything to find what you’re looking for. More wrinkles and creases. The frustration factor is off-the-charts, and it’s unavoidable too, because you have to use them daily. And with that many wrinkles and creases, why not just store everything on the floor, then?

It took me just months to lose my mind with my narrow mockeries of clothes dressers. Next I found myself the biggest, deepest, most spacious dresser I could find.

In fact, I can fit my old dresser inside the bottom DRAWER of my new dresser. Made me laugh and laugh. Such joy, that.

With age comes wisdom

Fortunately the more we make these awful decisions, the better our choices are in the future. We look for inherent flaws, we talk to our friends. We get over the “looks cool, lacks function” trend that tends to hit when we’re young and foolish.

So if you too have fallen prey to bad purchases in the past, don’t worry. From my very unscientific research, we seem to be in the majority, and all of us seem to have learned and become wiser from it.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.