Furniture shopping and issues with self-identity

Our trip only took two days, but Budget required a minimum rental of four days for the mileage requested. Since we had an extra day with the truck, and since our vehicle is a small (but mighty!) hatchback, we decided to head to IKEA for some furniture. The Budget rep in Crescent City was kind enough to comp us some extra mileage, which made the deal sweeter.

We’d finally gotten rid of my futon–a momentous occasion for me. Futons can be stylish and convenient, but they represent, for me, and inability to move beyond the immediate post-college years. But that meant we had nowhere for house guests to sleep (the sectional sofa doesn’t count). We planned to use our spare bedroom as an office, but I wanted to be able to convert it to sleeping quarters for the guests we’ll have at least four times a year. We researched sofa beds online and found one at Room & Board which fit our style and needs and wasn’t ridiculously expensive. So we hopped in the truck and headed to the nearest IKEA that was also near a Room & Board showroom.

Who knew that furniture shopping could lead to an existential crisis! We spent a lot of time and money at IKEA, filled up on cheap cafeteria food, then headed to Room & Board to meet our new sofa bed. When we walked in, we were stopped cold by the beauty of it all. The quality, the style that matched ours perfectly…it was lovely. It also underscored how cheap our IKEA furniture looked in comparison. If we got our sofa there (which would be doubly expensive with deliver–which they might not even offer to our area–since they don’t keep stock on hand) and put it next to our EXPEDIT shelves, the difference in quality would be obvious. M said that if we planned to decorate with items solely from Room + Board, we could have a great, stylish home. But to mix and match would make our other stuff look terrible and, well, mismatched.

We were crushed. Our new income might allow us to decorate using this store, but were we that kind of people? We aren’t wealthy enough to have high-end furnishings, wear fancy clothing, travel a lot, AND give money to our favorite charities. So we would have to choose one. By shopping at IKEA, we saved thousands of dollars (compared to nicer stores) and could afford to support causes that we hold dear and place some money in savings. Buying fancier furnishings would mean cutting our donation budget. At least that’s how we rationalized it. So in the end, we kept our IKEA purchases, returned to IKEA for a perfectly nice sofa bed, and will write a few checks to some nonprofits when the first paycheck rolls in. But I must admit…the decision was not easy. Dollar yogurt in the IKEA cafe made it all go down easier.

We headed home and carried the heavy IKEA items upstairs to the apartment. It was no easy feat after the workout we got the previous day unloading the 24′ truck. But we were ready to return the truck and set up our modest-yet-stylishly-comfortable home.


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Filed under life changes, Life in Coachella Valley

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