My first sofa came from the side of the street. It was 2013, the place was Surry Hills. I was an underpaid advertising graduate. The sofa was a warped mid-century piece, but not in a good way. It looked like it had been through a few homes before ours. It had seen some things. When we finally laid it to rest, however, it was hard not to feel like I was saying goodbye to an old friend. Good-bye, ‘taco’ (named so for its’ tendency to collapse onto you when you laid on it, hugging you like a baggy brown tortilla shell).
My next couch was second-hand. I had moved all the way down the hill to the other side of Surry Hills - my new piece was a hand-me-down from our lovely neighbour. A brown colour that only looks like one thing. This prehistoric artifact looked like it had seen Ikea rise like a eukaryotic organism might view the development of intelligent life - a passing fad. This sofa served us perfectly for several years.
I have to tell you though - the older I get - the more convinced I am that there are a certain number of items you own that you shouldn’t skimp on. Things that you use a lot. Things that affect other parts of your life. A good computer - so that you can do good work to pay for all the other weird things you like to spend your money on. A great bed - sleep is essential to your enjoyment of life. Haircuts are another of these things you should never look for a bargain on - even if you don’t pay for it with money, you’ll pay for it - believe me!
See sofas - I’m convinced that they are the most important part of every home. Because unlike a bed - which is used by one or two (sometimes even three if we’re in Salt-Lake City) people in a family - the couch is used by everybody, every day. It’s your home office, your Netflix station, your video-game corner, your reading pod, your alone time as well as being the best place to also avoid loneliness.
It’s where guests sit and wait for your hors d’oeuvres to arrive. It’s where your sister not so subtly mentions she doesn’t really like your new significant other. It’s where most all of the most important business decisions in my life have been made. I know this to be true - as my own experience with owning my first lovely, soft sofa led us ultimately to start our company to make great-looking sofas available for a more accessible price.
Anyway - I’m gas-bagging.
Here are the reasons.
1. It’s probably the most expensive piece in the room
Look, just because furniture is expensive doesn’t mean it’s better necessarily. However - historically, these big pieces won’t always dominate the space in your living-room, but will also clean out most of your monthly pay-check. This is because salespeople in show-rooms mark items up so that they can keep extra in commission. Even that old mouldy reprobate lounge-set that’s been curating its’ own bacterial ecosystem probably set someone back a pretty penny at some point.
2. It’s your friend’s favourite part of the house
To me, this is the most important point. Unless you are particularly gregarious, your bedroom will only be thought of fondly by yourself and maybe a significant other (although they will inevitably feel like there isn’t enough room in the closet for their stuff - this is an inimitable fact of the universe IMO). Whereas your couch is the centre of the house. The meeting place. The debrief area. Your friends remember your couch. They’ll forget everything else.
3. It’s easily the most comfortable spot in the room
If your couch is meant to be anything - it’s meant to be comfortable, right? That’s because it’s essentially a people reservoir, collecting any listless or confused wanderer and introducing it to the other sofa denizens. It’s where tinder crawlers clink glasses with got-to-get-this-ready-for-work-tomorrow’s - and share commisserations with i-drank-too-much-last-night-and-now-I-feel-very-under-the-weather’s. It’s where all our sins are forgiven.
4. It’s the largest piece of furniture you own
If you want to talk interiors and Feng-Shui - well, unfortunately I can’t talk about Feng Shui (please get in touch to teach me about it if anyone is an expert). But interiors we know about. The largest piece of furniture in any particular room draws the eye - so it would make sense to make it a good one, a comfortable one - and one that shows how stylish and trend-focussed you are ;)
5. Your couch is now your dining room, you slob
Our dining room never took off. It’s become the in-between room where everything with no obvious home now lives. But this isn’t just our problem - people all over the world are eschewing tables and salt shakers for sofa and Love Island. Our lives are getting busier - we’re working longer hours - we’re more tired. Global politics is a mess. You haven’t called your mum for a month. For all these reasons and more - we feel that if you want to eat your Buddha bowl in front of a Pete Evans documentary - that’s ok with us. We’re not superpeople.
So, what did we learn?
Hopefully something. Don't get a cheap haircut - no matter how cool you might think Grant Denyer is while he's promoting Quick Cuts. Life is too short to permanently like you're about to get your school picture taken. The same applies to the other items that are the most important to your enjoyment of daily life. Apply this thinking to the rest of your purchase decisions in the future - and you may reach a new level of domestic nirvana.