Camera rasa

I am so tired of all my furniture. I mean all. It’s all stuff I got from my parents when I moved into my first non-furnished apartment — parents who have gone through multiple marriage/live-alone/marriage stages generate extra furniture — but it’s all pretty ratty at this point, and it’s certainly not interesting. A 20-year-old corduroy la-z-boy that needs reupholstering; a tweed (!) high-armed couch; a set of “You buy the couch, we throw in the tables” coffee and end tables; unfinished-pine bookshelves; a countryish dining-area table and chairs from Kmart; a few CD storage things that don’t match and that are overflowing.

So here’s what I want to do: Solve the problem of book storage by buying bookcases for the spare room (which right now contains a desk and a bunch of boxes full of parts and cables), and then just get rid of all of my living-room furniture. That reduces the problem to one of furnishing an apartment from scratch, and since I don’t have anything I particularly want to keep, I can do it right by finding a piece or two I like and decorating around that.

I’m not going to be buying anything expensive — in fact, it’ll probably be mostly Ikea that I end up with — and I’ve got an investment account that was intended for university and forgotten about to play with, so there isn’t too much of a cost burden in buying everything at once.

I’m not sure how to do it piece by piece, because I can’t buy stuff to work with what I have, and if I’m going to ignore what I have, then keeping it around is just going to complicate things.

So my question for you: Am I on crack?

15 responses to “Camera rasa”

  1. Of course not.

    You are finally able to afford your own furniture, that is your taste, your liking, etc etc. I’m mucho jealous. I, too, have the mish-mash of hand-me-downs, except for my desk, and am dying to get rid of everything and find things that are my style and taste.

    Go go go! Just be sure to post pictures of the new pieces. :)

  2. Ok yeah but:

    I know I’m not on crack for wanting, or obtaining, new furniture.

    But I’m not sure that I’m not on crack for doing it by getting rid of an entire
    roomful of furniture and then buying new furniture.

    I think the important part there is that there will be a moment when I have
    no furniture at all in my living room, and then just a couch, for instance,
    and so on.

  3. Your furniture situation you described is exactly like mine; mine consists of stuff from random friends/family that’s old, ugly, and doesn’t match. I have a mental list of things to do once I (a) live in the same place for more than a year and (b) have enough to blow on doing the things properly, and redecorating my above with nicer furniture is one of them. I’d like to just get rid of all my yucky junk. Ikea would probably be the plan, because of the requirements of (b). :-)

  4. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Who says you always have to have furniture in a living room? If you entertain a lot, then sure, you will want furniture in your living room. But otherwise… out with the old, in with the new.

    Perhaps I’m being rather flippant, since its not me that’s making the decision. However, I believe this is a decision I would make for myself, so I think my advice is somewhat okay.

    (My mind is a little muddled today… sorry if I sound like I’m on crack.)

  5. excellent idea. throw it all out and start fresh. there’s no guilt in it, make your home be a home for you, with your tastes in mind.

  6. excellent idea. throw it all out and start fresh. there’s no guilt in it, make your home be a home for you, with your tastes in mind.

  7. I’d love the chance to do my house from scratch. I surf catalogs, dreaming of it.

    I also suggest you notice Umbra ( Their trash cans rule, and The Room is a fun quiz thing. Snowcrash rules, too (

    I wonder what else there is in the Umbra/Ikea/Snowcrash category.

  8. Oh yeah, Umbra rocks. There’s also a handful of local stores around here that
    carry the right sort of thing too, although they’re all sort of priced in between
    Ikea and Design Within Reach, which is where I
    wish I could buy my furniture from, and which is decidedly not
    within reach.

    So it’s not so much that I’m going to shop at Ikea, full stop, but I’m going to
    shop at places that have reasonable prices and quality, and the one that I know
    Canadians, Americans and Europeans will all have heard of is Ikea. :-)

  9. I don’t think you’re on crack. I pretty much did the same thing and had no problems with making sure this-goes-with-that. I started with a new bed (since the twin bed I had since the beginning of time was small, not really built for “company,” and the lower half of a bunk bed). Some time later, I moved the crappy shelves into the computer room and got rid of most furniture. Then, I started getting new furniture a piece at a time–shelves, CD racks, a giant bean-bag sofa, a massaging La-z-boy, etc.

    I had no problems making sure things match because I love dark wood colors (cherry wood) and black. I made sure everything I got conformed to these colors, and it all worked out fine. The few things that did not conform were fine, too. I have several steamer trunks made out of shiny silver metal that I use for long-term storage (extra cables, power cords, etc) that double as tables that fit in fine, even though they do not quite match. The La-z-boy really does not match (is tan), but a custom color would have been incredibly expensive, and it sits on its own in the corner, so does not “conflict” with anything near it, as far as color/style goes.

    It was pretty simple for me, but my tastes are a little weird and specific. As stated, I like dark woods and black, so it is easy to find things that match. I also prefer to sit on the floor, with my back against something comfortable–either a sofa, chair, beanbag, or oversized pillow, so I do not really need a lot of furniture to sit on, just shelves and tables and such. The things that would be going on the shelves could remain in cardboard boxes until new shelves were obtained. Your mileage may vary.

  10. when “cosmos” and i moved into our place we had nothing but a bed and my antique (that-i-will-die-and-be-buried-in-because-i-love-it-so-much) armoire. we used a cardboard box for a table and two green adirondack lawn chairs in the living room. the television was on the floor. i have to say, it was one of THE most freeing experiences of my life!

    first i happened upon a couch i loved and then the rooms just started coming together. the only items i bought from the same shop were the dining table and coffee table, and i bought them at different times! i think i had the place completely furnished in about six months. i had a blast!

    the only thing is, you have to be willing to be a tad uncomfortable at times. it’s so worth it though. you look around the house at every stage and love what you have.

  11. Go for it. I totally plan on starting from scratch when I move out and give myself an opportunity to stay minimalistic and functional and clean. I have a lot of problems making empty spaces messy vs. cluttered ugly spaces.

  12. I have no furniture from others and, though I can easily get some, don’t want it. I don’t want hand-me-down tables and sofas and ratty armchairs and someone else’s flowery bad anniversary-gift dishes from a failed marriage.

    Call me picky. Or spoiled.

    My flatmate is leaving on Sunday, and all of the living-room furniture is his. This means I get to decorate (yay), have my own things (yay), spend money (hrmm).

    If only there weren’t such a time crunch with the timeframe and the big IKEA winter sale…

  13. having been a starving student and bought things from ikea, I would suggest that ikea is not what you want to buy; it’s typically very low quality – the stuff is built to poor tolerances.