Shopping list: couch, chairs, coffee table, sofa bed, mattresses, entertainment stand, TV, some lamps, and a rug or two. I think that’s it, at least until I move into my as yet unknown new house in the (I hope) near future. Lately my weekends are spent in furniture stores or paging through glossy decorating magazines. I lean towards a modern, European style of furnishings and luckily, we have some nice stores in Austin to accommodate my taste. Unfortunately, my budget leans more towards IKEA. I’ve flipped through their catalogue and dog-earred many a page, but I’m still looking around. Not that I’m buying anything, mind you. Until the insurance money comes, all I can do is wander around the stores taking photos and writing down prices.
Walking around furniture stores can be discouraging. The high-end modern design store is a feast for the eyes, but I just can’t see spending close to a thousand for a bed and that’s without the mattress. Add in some nightstands and a dresser or two and that would pretty much absorb most of my insurance money. The stores catering to the average consumer, though, are thoroughly depressing, at least to me. I wander in and out of the living room settings and most consist of downright ugly pieces of furniture. Huge overstuffed couches and chairs with dull fake leather or hideous brightly-colored floral patterns. None of the end tables or coffee tables are made of solid wood and the ones with glass, well, the glass insets don’t appear to fit snugly. That tiny gap will allow a lot of teeny, tiny crumbs, dust, and hair to nestle in so that your tables always look gritty. I know because I’ve been fooled into buying them before.
What makes furniture shopping even more challenging is that I have to buy in stages and store the pieces until I move back into my house. The first challenge comes from the insurance company. They’ll issue me a check for the devalued cost and reimburse me for the replacement only after I’ve purchased it and sent them the receipt. This makes the timing of purchases a bit tricky. The second challenge is timing. If I buy something now and later, when I’m settled in my house, there is a problem with the piece, it may be past the return date. I need to time my purchases with the return dates in mind as well as the reimbursement-for-replacement checks. One silver lining, though, is that my contractor will arrange to pick them up and take them to the storage where the rest of my stuff is. I won’t need to pay all those delivery fees, which can add up fast if you use several different stores.
Despite everything, I am truly grateful to get some new furniture. If life had gone as planned, I would have sold my house and moved into a new one by now, but I probably wouldn’t have had much money left over for new furnishings. I won’t be replacing all of the smoke-damaged furniture because I’m planning for my empty nest house and won’t need quite so much. Some replacements will be on hold until I’m in the next house and can figure out exactly what I need. Since the new house will actually be an older, smaller house closer in to the city, I shop with smaller dimensions in mind. Just thinking about a new house makes me eager to start house hunting again. All I need now is for the current house to be painted and have floors and cabinets and windows put in. Then I can move back in and sell it. And find a new house to buy. That’s all.