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Basic Advice for Newlyweds On Picking Out Furniture

Newlyweds have trouble enough without having to worry about picking out furniture. In a perfect world, every newly married bride and groom has rich enough friends that the bridal shower includes teak dining tables, mahogany chests of drawers, sofas fitted with a freezer for keeping cold drinks cold, and a microwave for keeping popcorn warm. In my own experience, we had to scour every last coin we had just to get our life after marriage as comfortable and as pleasing as possible. Alas, such a perfect world is not the one into which most people marry.

Argue Now, Laugh Later

Then again, picking out your first furniture together may be one of the longest-lasting and happiest memories of your entire marriage. Of course, going shopping for furniture for the first time together as a couple can be a lot less interesting if you both share the same tastes. Fortunately, the trope that opposites attract is true often enough that very few newly wedded couples head to the furniture store with both parties in full agreement that French Provincial or Georgian or even Art Deco is the way to go. Here’s the thing to keep in mind when the debates over furniture styles start: you will one day look back on those arguments and laugh.

The point? Don’t be afraid to stake a claim for a Gate-leg table even if your so-called better half insists that his family has always been a dropleaf table family and always will be a dropleaf table family.

The Bare Necessities

You may have heard an old married couple boast that during their first year of marriage, the only furniture they owned was a bed — and it was all they needed. Maybe that’s true, but it’s probably not. No matter how deep your love may be, you need more than a bed.

The barest of necessities include a bed, of course, and some sort of multi-person sitting apparatus, whether it be sofa, davenport, love seat, or futon. Do NOT underestimate the value of night stands for each of you. Seriously, relying on just one night stand could very well wind up being what eventually leads you straight to divorce court. Okay, maybe it won’t be that bad, but you’ll be glad you considered two nightstands to be part of the bare necessities.

Double Duty, Single Price

Of course, you could kill two birds with one stone by investing in a sofa bed or a futon that turns into a bed if you are either short on money or short on square footage. Indeed, the single best thing to keep in mind when shopping for furniture when either or both of those aspects apply is to look for furnishings capable of double duty or even triple duty.

In addition to the magic of turning your couch into a bed, consider nesting tables that take up precious little room when stacked for storage, but can be rearranged to become a dining table or home office desk if needed. You won’t find a lot of this kind of furniture in secondhand stores, but the higher upfront cost can be justified when you are buying just one item instead of two or three or even four.

Should, by chance, your impending nuptials lead you to a post-ceremony situation in which shopping for furniture is constrained by neither budget nor severely limited geography, a word of warning is in order. All marriages begin happily enough, but keep in mind that lining up a honeymoon cottage filled with the finest furniture you can purchase while still remaining at least one dollar below your credit card limit can quickly become a house of horrors when that honeymoon ends more quickly than expected. Don’t overextend your finances while basking in the glow of extending full-tax filing status to your current fiance. In other words, use your head as well as your heart when furniture shopping for the first time as husband and wife.

<Junie Lou Rutkevich>

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