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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


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have a seat
by Yee-Fan Sun
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continued from page 1

When you've finally stuffed enough in your piggybank to start shopping for your dream sofa, don't get suckered in by good looks alone; make sure that the couch has strong bones. Ask your salesguy about the frame and cushion construction; wiggle the frame a bit to make certain that things don't twist or jiggle; make sure the cushions offer good support and that your weight feels evenly distributed no matter where on the sofa you sit. Study up… furniture.com, for instance, has a good guide to things you ought to know when choosing a sofa.

In the meantime, you have a few sofa options. If you're very, very lucky, you might find that some older relative or family friend is downsizing or upgrading, and just happens to have a well-made couch that no longer fits their own needs. Don't be shy: ask around. You never know who might be happy to let you reap the benefits of their redecorating. This is probably your best bet for getting a decent secondhand sofa at a bargain price (or even free). Thrift store sofas tend to be in a pretty sad state; if you're really looking to buy secondhand, a moving or estate sale is much more likely to offer something that's both reasonably comfortable and not a complete eyesore. For a little more money, you might also consider checking out consignment stores.

An inexpensive futon is another good short-term solution, and as an extra bonus, serves double duty as a bed for overnight guests. You can buy them new, but if you happen to live anywhere where there's a sizable student population, you'll snag the best futon deals in December and May/June, when graduating students are desperate to get rid of their stuff. Look in thrift stores, check out campus bulletin boards for ads, scour yardsales, and do a drive-by of the dumpsters on brushy/bulky day.

chair help
In addition to your sofa or futon, you'll also need at least as many dining-type chairs as there are people living in your abode, preferably plus a couple to offer visitors. Fortunately, dining chairs are among the easiest things to scrounge up secondhand, and you can regularly find decent dining chairs for cheap at thriftstores and yardsales. Don't worry if the finish is chipped and the upholstery's hideous; you can easily repaint, and since dining chairs are frequently only upholstered on the bottom seat portion, reupholstering is generally as easy as unscrewing the seat, staple-gunning new fabric over it, and reattaching the screws.

don't stop: there's more!

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