Let’s talk about couches.
If you’re in the phase of your life where you’re occasionally required to furnish an apartment, but not yet moneyed up enough to spend thousands of dollars in the process, you’ve probably gone through at least one emotionally taxing couch-shopping experience.
The cheap ones are mostly awful, the nice ones are mostly wildly expensive, and the ones in between — those affordable, comfy, good looking unicorns — well, there must be something wrong with them, right? And until you get into the big-money years of your life, a $1,000 couch is probably the most expensive purchase that you’re likely to completely screw up.
While other big-ticket purchases — laptops, holidays, cars — can be helped along with the wisdom of the internet, where do you turn for advice on a good couch that doesn’t cost more than a business class flight to Tokyo? You scream into the void for advice, and hope for the best.
This, in part, is why I fell particularly hard for Anna Hezel’s February masterpiece, "Why Does This One Couch From West Elm Suck So Much?"
For a certain kind of reader, it had everything: an absurdist corporate scandal, the emotional whirlwind of couch shopping as a person with money but not that kind of money, the thrill of a clean, solid hit on a deserving target.
Within a few days, BuzzFeed’s Leticia Miranda learned West Elm was pulling the now-notorious Peggy from shop floors across the country. By then, it had already been scrubbed from the website, and eventually, owners of defective models would be offered a full refund. Justice, or at least a thin version of it, had been served.
The saga inspired a wild response from readers, who flooded comments sections, inboxes and Twitter replies with a outburst of couch commentary. It made us realize that we don’t write enough about the things we live with every day — for many of us, they're the most expensive things we’ve ever bought.
To Build A Home is a series that’s all about our homes, and the things we put in them. Isn't it weird how we moved out of home with hand-me-down furniture from our parents, but our kids will probably won't see a single physical relic of our 20s? We'll talk about that. And we'll talk about why, sometimes, two suitcases on the floor can be better than the finest of dressers. You’ll see how a couch rental, gone wrong, can land you in a jail cell, and why young people’s living arrangements recently broke a 130-year old record.
To kick things off, we'll ponder whether you should really wait until you're married to start buying nice furniture. At some point in the next couple of days, the word “adulting” even makes a cameo. But it’s justified, we swear. Enjoy!