Interior Design 101

So, I finally filed my taxes, and I’m getting back more than usual this year. (woot!) In fact, I’m getting back enough to pay for nearly all of Selam’s summer camps (woot! woot!) which means that once that money is in the bank, and I’ve paid off those summer experiences, I can use some of my summer preaching money to finally replace my dilapidated furniture.  Woooot!  This is where your advising comes in.

My current living room furniture consists of a love seat and sofa that match. Both pieces are 20 years old. Both are scratched to death. The sofa also has 3 holes in it where the stuffing is coming out. The loveseat has two legs that have fallen off and no matter how many times I try to reconnect them, they won’t stay. So the love seat is being held up with old text books.

Yeah, I’m really classy that way.

So, it will cost me 150 to haul away the old broken down furniture. I mean I’ll try to give it away on Craigslist, but nobody in their right mind wants this stuff. That leaves me 850 TOPS (preferably less) to buy something else.  In my ideal world, the something else would be a comfy chair and a loveseat, but I don’t know if I can afford both.  I’d prefer a loveseat to a sofa, as it would give us more space in the living room. I’ve always felt like the furniture was too big for the space in here. So I could do a sofa or loveseat this year, and then maybe next year, get a big comfy reading chair. 

Oh, and I have navy blue curtains, that I’m not interested in replacing, so whatever it is has to go with navy. (Current sofa is burgandy, blue and green plaid. Don’t judge. it was the 1990s.)

So–questions–first color–I was kind of thinking that grey would be a nice change–would go with blue, but be a different look from the current. What else would work?

Then fabric–please tell me there is something that my cat won’t destroy!  One thing I considered was getting an IKEA sofa that has covers to it.  I thought maybe the covers would be less grippy for Sir-Wrecks A Lot, and also if he did wreck it, I could replace the covers without replacing the whole sofa.  I’ve heard that leather is cat-resistant, too, but i have mixed feelings about leather for a sofa. I heard somewhere else that maybe microfiber would work?? What do you think? 

I’d probably get it from IKEA, or maybe Bobs, or sometimes the LL Bean outlet has furniture (though with that, I’d have to rent a truck to get it home, so maybe not the greatest idea).  I’m unlikely to go Goodwill on this one, as bedbugs are so prevalent in the northeast that I’d hesitate.  De-bugging is very expensive.

So what think ye, oh wise ones of the internet???



9 thoughts on “Interior Design 101

  1. A couple of thoughts– I understand your mixed feelings about Leather, but it is really durable and super easy to clean. My mother gave me a comfy reading chair in a beige leather four years ago – between our house and hers this chair has endured ten years of cat claws without an obvious scratch. It also still looks beige. Shocking.

    We also have a ten year old fabric couch made of corduroy like fabric that has stood up to cat claws quite well, despite my cat’s daily attempts to wreck it. Corduroy is probably the wrong word. There’s no soft fuzz here, just tightly packed rolls of dense thread based material. So it is possible to find a fabric couch that camouflages cat claw marks. Just make sure the fabric is pretty thick stuff and has ridges built into it. Smooth fabrics wouldn’t last a day with a cat.

    Good luck!

  2. Have you looked on Craigslist? All of our older girls have found great deals, almost new furniture, and really reasonably priced.

    My oldest step-daughter has a “chair and a half” smaller than a love seat, but bigger than a chair. My husband & I both like it so much we are thinking of getting one when we get our next set of furniture.

    No advice on kitties, when we had cats they were declawed. 🙂

  3. My whole house is decorated by IKEA. We have both the Ektorp sofa and comfy chair and really like them both. The couch is big but I think they make a loveseat as well. The comfy chair for both me and year old to snuggle up with a book but it will not be for long.

    Color is not my strength–ours our both tan.

    We had a cheap ($100 or so) microfleece loveseat from IKEA but it was not well made. It lasted for 3 years before the couch pillows were flat and the whole thing was uncomfortable. Buying something is nicer is worth the money. We have had the Ektorp couch and chair for 2 years now and they show no significant wear and tear besudes the spills and marker marks that you can’t really hold IKEA responsible for. We had both delivered for a small fee and the only “set up” was putting on the covers.

  4. Ditto about the leather. I unexpectedly fell in love with ours. Pet and kid-proof. Aldo treats it with some leather cleaner stuff on a very irregular schedule. What really convinced me: I can nap on it just as if it were fabric!!!

    Not so sure what I think about micro-fiber. We have one, but it is in Aldo’s office and the kids are not on it much. Came with some cleaner to use if we need it. People claim it cleans easier than other fabrics. People also say carob tastes like chocolate. So, I’d get some real-life testimony about this.

    As for colors, lots of things can go with blue. Get a combo that makes you happy and relaxed. If the room is dark, brighten it up. If is is bright, you can calm it down. You will be in that room a lot! If you get a solid, maybe you can switch out the cushions every now and then to get a new look.

  5. I’d do a hunt through old Apartment Therapy posts. I’ve been dithering about living room furniture for a while now and they have posts covering all the big issues, including whether microfibre is really that crash hot. I am also worried about my cat tearing into new furniture, but also keen on a grey fabric couch (the IKEA Karlstad modular sofa in Isunda grey is by far my favourite). My cat is rather responsive to a spray from a water bottle, so I’m just going to hope that works when I finally splash the cash. Good luck and keep us in the loop!

  6. We have leather chairs from ikea that were in perfect condition (mainly because I don’t like them) until we got two cats. Now they are covered in holes, and my big plan to sell them on Craigslist for good money is thwarted. Maybe non-ikea leather is durable, but these are definitely not durable. We have a tweed sofa from cb2 that is surprisingly cat-friendly. The cat does claw at it, but it just makes it look a little tweedier.

    There are exceedingly cute and cheap chairs at I have some for my office at church and they are great. Not sure about the cat friendliness, though.

  7. I have the IKEA couch with replaceable (and washable) covers and love it. If I get tired of my red cover, I can put on the black and white or buy a new one. I can also wash the darn thing if I have to but so far, so good. I hate the smell of leather but it does last. Curtains are REALLY easy to make if you feel like replacing them.

  8. Which couch do you have, Jill? Do you have cats? I know curtains are easy to make for those that know how to sew, but I don’t, and these are lined and really nice, so I want to keep them. I also kind of dig blue.

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