Now that I'm in 750-sq-ft instead of 400, and 4 rooms instead of 1, I realized just how crappy (and inadequate) all of my stuff is! While my 4 tall bookshelves add warmth and interest to the rooms they're in, my actual furniture has been ridiculously cheap and unattractive. It was "cute" stuff to "start over" with when I was forced to live in the 1 room... The cheap bed bought sight unseen (and unfelt) online, whose springs started poking me within a year... the 2-ft-wide little "desk-on-wheels" I was doing all my work on (a hand-me-down from my mom)... plus random odds-n-ends tables and such bought cheaply off Craigslist or found by my old apartment dumpster or also handed down from my mom. It all served a functional purpose in that 1 room. (Thought sometimes ill-used: My mom had given me her old 3 x 3 solid wood kitchen table--a nice one--which I had shoved into a corner with papers and reference books and my printer piled onto. It's now properly a KITCHEN table! Though one of the two chairs is still IMproperly used, as my desk chair.)
My route to work for the past year, and the new area where I live, are filled with many vintage/consignment furniture stores, which I've been eyeballing while on my daily bus-trip to work. I already had personal experience with a couple of them, from shopping for bookshelves the past couple of years, so I knew which one I wanted to hit up first---and because it had a flat $80 delivery fee regardless of how much you bought, I wanted to do the bulk of my shopping there.
So I got up today with my furniture shopping list already made (*s are how I'd starred them on my list, by most needed/wanted):
**couch (my living room currently hosts nothing but a TV table, a 1999 TV, and one bookshelf)
**chest of drawers (my old apt. had built-in drawers; all of my underwear, socks, etc., are currently either lying on the bedroom floor or housed in cardboard moving boxes)
*coffee table (living room)
small bookcase (for the study)
end table (living room)
dressing table & chair (bedroom)
plus various lamps for all rooms
When I got to the store I liked, I quickly saw that the couch selection was meager, so I gave up on that right away. (Plus I'd been online browsing recently for a charcoal-gray couch/chaise combination--that seems to be trendy both style- and color-wise nowadays, but I actually like how that looks; none of the used couches came close to what I was in the mood for.)
OK, no couch. Next, I focused on the chest of drawers and/or dresser. Was torn between a vintage oak dresser (no mirror) for $389 and a cheap $90 black particle-board chest that actually looked very good and seemed solidly built for what it was. But... the black chest wasn't going to match anything else in my bedroom, and it was a cheapie, and... I was darn sick of the hodge-podge, the throwaway furniture I'd been living with. I didn't want to buy yet ANOTHER thing that I'd just be keeping for a couple of years, or just for utility's sake. I kept pacing and pacing, staring at one, then the other... The vintage dresser was a bit scratched, not exactly hitting the spot, either (for nearly $400, I wanted EXACTLY what I wanted, not just something to settle for)...
In the same area of the store was a bedroom set for $1149 by Broyhill: queen-sized bed, dresser with triptych mirror, chest of drawers, 2 night tables. Solid wood. Made in the '90s, but a classic look. Hardly any wear. The plush mattress/box springs was $250 extra.
I hadn't come in there for a bed. My own full-size bed with a metal frame (no headboard) was still serviceable (after placing a thick bed pad on it and rotating it so the various springs poking out weren't directly poking me). But I'd been waking up back- and neck-achy for the past couple of months--personal stress, work stress, hitting middle age, bad bed? All, probably. But I suddenly blamed the bed. And I suddenly equated being a middle-aged adult with having a bed with a headboard, and a footboard, and, moreover, with thick mattresses. Plus I needed somewhere to put my underwear and socks. And something else to place my perfume and jewel-box on. This set gave me the whole she-bang. It wasn't a hodge-podge. It looked like something that would last me for the rest of my life, which, at nearly 50, I wanted: MY bedroom furniture. To grow old with.
I bought the set. A hundred dollars knocked off the price helped, but STILL... It was a MAJOR purchase. The most major purchase of my life. (My computer cost nearly $1000. And I've never bought a car on my own. So this bedroom set is really THE most major purchase of my life.)
I also ended up picking up a small desk and accompanying chair, plus an ottoman, for the study. (All three of those, though, only totaled about $200.) This makes the bedroom and the study done. What did NOT get done at all, however, was the living room! With only a TV and no place to sit, it's completely unusable for the time being. I can't quite bring myself to spring for a couch, etc. (and the big-screen TV I wanted), right now, though. Too much, too soon, I feel. I feel like I need to, in the coming weeks, simply spend time in my bedroom, appreciating both the cushy bed and the ability to sort out my undies. No sensory overload! ;p
Below: Not quite the Broyhill style that I bought today, but similar.