February 15, 2009

The New One is Red

So, what's up? Having a good weekend? GUESS WHAT, WE BOUGHT A NEW COUCH!!! Do you know why this is so exciting to me? Because this is our old couch, which is actually not a couch but a loveseat:


This is a handmedown from my parents, and it's been ours for 9 years. It has not always looked so terrible, of course. Well, sure, the upholstery has always been that ugly---and you don't need to worry about hurting my parents' feelings, because they thought it was ugly, too. They bought it because it is near-impossible to find high-backed couches with wings and buttons and slim arms, and so when they found one they didn't really care what the upholstery looked like.

But although the upholstery has always been burgundy/camel/what-IS-that-shade-of-blue plaid, it has not always been QUICKSAND on one side, and it has not always been RIPPED in the front with stuffing and frame waving hello, and there have not always been TOWELS sticking out of it (a futile attempt to prop up the caving cushion), and there have not always been little rips under each button. That's been more recent, like say for the last...er, three years? Maybe four?

And this is how we operate: after years of Meaning To, today we got into the car, drove to a furniture store, drove to another furniture store because the first one didn't open until noon, made one lap around the floor, picked a couch, picked one of the two standard fabrics rather than going through the fabric samples, and went back home.

Whenever we do something like that, I wonder why we didn't do it LONG AGO, but it's as if it doesn't WORK until we get to The Moment. We went couch-shopping a few years ago and just sort of dithered around the store making negative remarks and worrying about fabrics, then went home feeling discouraged and crabby.

This time, it was like looking for something to eat when you're literally starving: you're not picky, because the alternative is so much worse. The new couch is not The Couch of My Dreams. It was on clearance, so you know it wasn't one that had won Popular Favor. The back is not as high as we'd like. It's firmer than we'd like. It has visible legs instead of a skirt, which I guess means I'll have to start cleaning under there more often than before each annual mother-in-law visit. It's upholstered in a fabric that's Okay, but not one I would have chosen if it hadn't been one of the two choices that didn't require additional dithering.

But sometimes that's what I PREFER. While I was waiting for the salesguy to fill out the astonishing levels of paperwork (I am just BUYING A COUCH, not ADOPTING A CHILD), I was looking idly through the racks of fabric samples. I saw about a HUNDRED that made my heart pound with love. I can't handle that kind of decision, especially when it involves taking into account elements such as durability, and price, and whether it would show grubbiness, and imagining what it would look like on an entire couch rather than on a small square of fabric, and how it would look to us in ten years when that shade of green is no longer in style and nobody likes birds anymore.

I get overwhelmed when I have too many choices, and furthermore I find it makes me a pickier person. Give me four choices and I'll choose one easily and feel satisfied with my choice; give me two hundred choices and I'll get all whiny about that not being the EXACT shade of blue-green I had in mind and shouldn't that pattern be a TIDGE larger? When I look for what I Really Want, nothing is good enough so I give up and buy nothing---or I buy something and then fret endlessly that I should have chosen something else. When I try to buy a couch rather than Fulfill My Soul's Upholstery Destiny, I get the job done.

Let's take one more look at the old couch. Well, not just one more look, because it will be 4-6 weeks until the new couch arrives. But one more look HERE.

ACK.

And here's the new one, except you'll have to imagine it in RED, which looks COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:



Also, the pillows will never be arranged tidily again.

48 comments:

Stimey said...

You definitely did the right thing with the red couch. You needed it. Sometimes the search for perfection holds us back.

Smiling Mama said...

I am SO with you on the too many choices thing. I would love to outsource these decisions to someone (anyone?) and have them come back with 2-3 options for me to choose from. In fact, we are in the market for a new-to-us car and I am completely overwhelmed by options. Seriously, won't someone just tell me what model/year? I'll happily trot over to the dealership and purchase it!

Natalie said...

Oooh, I love red, my broken futon has a red cover and while the futon frame needs replacing, the color does not. Love it. Are you going to show us your new couch when you get it?

Mimi said...

Picking out furniture gives me hives. Your new red couch sounds awesome and I know that you will love it even more when you can sit on it in your own house.

Nowheymama said...

Scott and I operate exactly the way about making decisions like that.

skiplovey said...

Yay! I love new furniture, especially if the old furniture is frightfully old and um, lovingly used ahem as that one. Isn't the 4-6 weeks the LONGEST weeks ever while you're waiting?

Swistle said...

I added a photo from the LaZBoy website of the new couch. I tried doing it in red fabric but it looked weird and shiny that way.

Omaha Mama said...

First of all, congratulations. New furniture is so much fun (I've got an umpteen year old hide-a-bed much in the same shape as your, covered with a cheapo slip cover). Secondly, I love red! Well done you.

Swistle's Dad said...

I think this must have something to do with the five minutes of grunting it took to extract ourselves from the loveseat at 10:30 last night after having a pizza and video night at Swistle's house.

Bitts said...

We did much the same thing this weekend with a piano. Had a budget, had a spot in the house, not prodigies of any kind ... it took 10 minuted to pick it and leave the store. If I had not taken the third one I played, I would have been there all afternoon. I have no idea if any of the other ones there were better and I don't care.

@Smiling Mama -- 2003 Honda Odyssey. You will love it.

d e v a n said...

Can't wait to see the new one!

Marie Green said...

Oh, wow, that's great. You will love it. I feel so much better about a room if I like the _look_ of the furniture.

Michelle said...

I so feel you. I hate it when I *know* what I want because then I can't find it. Enjoy the new couch. Your old one looks like it definitely needs to be ummm retired.

St said...

Looking forward to seeing it in red! We also have just a loveseat and we got it from a hotel resale shop about 11 years ago! So we're shopping around as well.

fairydogmother said...

Our couch looks very much like your new couch, except in the boring beige color so the dog hair blends in. Sadly I'm not at all joking. Our requirements were: on clearance, hides dog hair, and somewhat comfortable. In that order.

Lishak said...

Congrats on the new couch. It looks great!

Kristi said...

I love it - it's what I would have chosen too! And my husband and I do things just the same way - we'll just all of a sudden one day up and do something/buy something that we could have (and probably should have) done years before. That's how we decided to sell our last house - it was a 30-second decision that just SUDDENLY felt right.

Sam said...

I totally understand about too many choices. And I swear, I think you bought my couch! Except that ours is the color in the picture. And we didn't pick it out, it was a lovely hand me down couch that came to us (from my in-laws) in perfect condition. Now you can imagine, after nearly two years in a house with a small child, it is NOT in perfect condition anymore. But it's a great couch!

Cherish said...

We had a hand-me-down from my ex mother-in-law that looked surprisingly similar. So last year, I had had enough and just ordered the cheapest thing in a catalogue I had at home. Its black. Black shows everything. I would have thought I'd care more, but I dont. Its so much better than the last one and at least Im not freaking out when the kids jump on it.

I think your new couch is gorgeous.

Shelly Overlook said...

I have admired that sofa in the store before. LOVE it, esp in red. Are you going to cover it in plastic so the kids don't get it dirty? :)

Rayne of Terror said...

We just got a couch very similar to the tan one out of the classified ads. After looking at a zillion floral horrors, that couch was sweet relief. It will replace our broken down leather double recliner couch accented in gorilla tape. I can't even give the thing away on freecycle.

Anna said...

What? You went to a store, looked around and AGREED on a couch with your husband? I am speechless, and envious.

Oh, and also? When I saw the title 'The New One is Red', I TOTALLY thought it was 'The Baby is Here' post!

Kim said...

I think that color blue might be called "Country" - I say this only because my mom has a couch and loveseat that looks VERY similar to that.
The first piece of furniture my husband and I bought together was our coffee table. We walked into the store, both spotted it immediately, loved it, but then felt bad about picking the first one we saw. We wasted another few hours, even went to another store until finally realizing we still liked the first one the best. And it must've been a good decision, because we're not sick of it yet, thirteen years later. Sometimes it's just best to go with your gut and not fight it.

Kristine said...

We had a similar problem with couch shopping. Do you realize how hard it is to find a leather (or faux leather) burgandy couch with nail heads on the front? Do you? And when you find it it's not so stiff that you could use it as a table? And not $4000 for ONE COUCH? Very hard.

Astarte said...

I love that it will be red! It'll look nice with the recliner fabric that I remember you getting a few years ago. Hopefully this whole experience will go easier than that one did!!!

Why on earth does it take so long to get a freakin' couch from the store?! I mean, seriously. SIX WEEKS?! What do they have to do, HATCH IT?

BRash said...

Oh my god, I love that couch - and I mean THE OLD ONE! It's got a great shape! The high back & buttons - the skinny arms! Seriously, have you thought about having it reupholstered? A good upholsterer can fix all the problems, replace cushions, fix a quicksand seat. You can tell then to only offer you four upholstery choices. I know out in the middle of nowhere where I am from it wouldn't cost more than $300. In a big city, maybe double that...? It really is a gorgeous couch if you can overlook the fabric, etc.

Bring A. Torch said...

Our furniture-choosing process has been much the same! I *heart* red (and I really really heart "on clearance"), but maybe you could put a slipcover on it instead. And you can have fun bargain shopping for throw pillows and/or blankets, and be as particular as you want with those. Congrats!

DCMomma said...

Congrats! It is always exciting when that moment comes. We have a red couch and love it! Enjoy!

Beth said...

Great choice. There is no way you won't be happy with that couch.

Totally get what you wrote about the choices. Actually, I think that is a proper, studied, identified psychological phenomena but I don't recall the name.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - you write really well. Not many people can make a post about couches be so interesting.

Thanks Swistle!

the new girl said...

I am STILL LAUGHING at your description of your current couch!

Complete with pictures!

The last look KILLED ME and I am SO HAPPY for your Soul's Furniture Destiny will be a little..uplifted with the new addition.

xo

samantha jo campen said...

Wow. A big ol' congratulations! You've put in your time with the old love seat and DESERVE the beautiful new couch. And btw, we have a red couch and LOVE IT! We get tons of compliments for not going with brown/tan. So yeah for new and yeah for red! We MUST see a picture of the real deal when it arrives :-)

Sara said...

Yay for new furniture! I HATE shopping for furniture b/c we never find what we want. I followed your link to see what it would look like in red (nice, but it does look shiny online) and starting looking at what other furniture choices they had. I can't believe how many fabric options they have! No wonder you had a hard time making a decision! But IMO, they also had a lot of hideous patterns! Yikes!

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Love the new couch! (I can imagine it in red and rub the top of my head at the same time!)

zandor said...

That couch sounds/looks good. I can never make decision if I have too many options. I prefer to only have a few options.

Melospiza said...

I was going to say something like, Welcome to the world of couch owning!--until I realized we don't really own any couches either, just futons on frames.

But I LOVE your new couch, even though my mind is hurting itself trying to imagine it in red. This is why painting/ drape choosing/ fabric choosing is so PAINFUL to me. That and the choice thing--I read about a study where they showed that people are actually HAPPIER the FEWER choices they have. I mean, so long as those choices include "being adequately fed and clothed,' etc.

Nil Zed said...

Oh, I have the same shopping issues. Which is why, after leaving a lot of crappy furniture behind when moving cross country, then sending some off to Goodwill because the rooms were so small in the apartment. THEN buying a house which, 7 years later, still had white walls, there was a too small kitchen table with mismatched chairs in the kitchen, but no dining table, boxes for end tables in the living room, the sofa my first husband and I went into debt for 20 years before. The only purchase we'd dealt with was wooden window blinds for all but 2 windows, which weren't 'standard' sized and still had bedsheets, yes, bedsheets tacked up over them.


It looked like a student apartment. No, most students at least put posters up on the bare walls. And many bring nicer bits of hand me down furniture than we own. I know this, because we rented it to students when we moved overseas. (They've painted some rooms too. It remains to be seen how soon we'll repaint when we return.)

Frondly said...

I hope you'll post a pic of the new one when you have it. I want to know exactly what shade of red it is.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Loooove the new couch style! I think it's gorgeous, good pick!

We used to have these super old couches in our family room, that were all broken and falling apart and generally gross to the outside public... but I missed them at first when we replaced them with nice leather ones because they were so squashy and comfortable even if they were gross.

But that was many years ago, so I've now moved on. And now that I'm more grown up, I totally get why sometimes? Sometimes you need to get rid of the gross, old couch for something a little more inviting for visitors (and yourself). LOL.

nonsoccermom said...

Love the new couch! Ours is red also, but that's where the similarities end since ours is this massive sectional with a chaise on one end. Anyway, congratulations!!

By the way, you are not alone in being debilitated by TOO. MANY. CHOICES. I have a hard time at restaurants like Cheesecake Factory that have huge bound menus. Like my life will END if I pick the wrong thing from the hundreds on that menu.

LORDY, now I'm rambling. I should probably delete this whole comment.

Jess said...

OK, I am now extra convinced that you would not have enjoyed planning a traditional wedding. It is all about THOUSANDS of choices. I like that because I have very specific tastes, but I could just see this couch syndrome you describe happening times a million when it came time for you to choose a wedding dress, for example.

LoriD said...

My brother and SIL have gorgeous, high-end furniture, but they haven't custom-ordered a thing. They're very much in-the-moment people and if they can't get it delivered within a couple of days, they pick something else. I, on the other hand, will dither around, going back and forth on things for months (e.g. I went 7 weeks without a working oven) just to make sure I have exactly what I want.

Farrell said...

Very nice. I'm the exact same way. A couple of years ago when I went to go pick out blinds, my mom was like "I'll meet you there" and i thought she was being silly - until I got to the blind asile and there were SO MANY CHOICES. And then I was very, very glad she was there indeed.
PS - my couch has pillows and my dog knocks them off onto the floor every.single.day.

Alice said...

ha! wow! that is one.. um... well, that couch sure has CHARACTER! i do think i like the new one better, though ;-)

HollyLynne said...

Hooray for your Red Couch! I once had a Red Couch (yes, I think the capitalization is appropriate) but then I acquired an Ornery Husband and was made to get rid of it.

Nowheymama said...

Off topic: Did you notice the BlogHer ad that says, "Have Maeve Binchy join your book club by phone"? I saw that and thought of you. Quick! Form a book club!

Ellen said...

Lovely and classic! The basic, traditional shape will set the red off so well and that kind of thing just doesn't go out of style... good choice!

qwanty said...

Google reader suggested I come here, and I generally do what the internet tells me to do. And now I feel like Google reader has been climbing through my window at night and watching me while I sleep because I have the same couch. In red! And you DON'T have to clean under it that often -- just find an appropriate object (e.g., plastic sword, ukulele) and sort of sweep it under the couch and create a little heap of tiny socks and plastic things in the middle of the under-couch space where no one can see it. I can do this plenty of times before I actually need to clean under it. It is an awesome couch. Congratulations!

Kelsey said...

Hooray for new couches! I am glad you shared the picture of your old couch - it inspires me to get a few more years out of the one in our living room.

I can't wait to see the pictures of your new model when it arrives!