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The Great Couch Search

by Meghann on January 23, 2011

Shopping for a new couch is exhausting.


Confession: I’ve never shopped for new furniture before. Ever.

I’m 25 and all the couches I’ve owned previously have all been hand me downs from my parents. It seemed that when ever I made a move – and was in need of new furniture – my parents would ‘just happen’ to be in need of new furniture as well. Funny how that worked.

However, this time around my parents are pretty happy with their current furniture and the stuff Derek and I have isn’t going to cut it when I move in next month.


He has an outdated sectional that’s about 10 or 15 years past it’s prime and I have a small love seat and chair that are perfect for my tiny place, but a little small for Derek’s slightly larger living room. Our best ‘compromise’ in this situation seemed to be tossing both sets and starting fresh.


The idea itself was better than actually executing it. Furniture shopping is tough. I know what I like and I know what I don’t like, but I don’t know what will work in the space and I don’t know what will still look good a few years down the road. We shopped all day and still came home empty handed, no farther than from where we started. Oh well.


I’m going to need your guys’ help in the coming months as Derek and I become one household. I’m taking photos this evening and plan to post an assortment of ‘before’ images. I love Derek, but this place needs a lot of work, more than I’m probably capable of, but you’ll just have to wait and see what I’m talking about. Of course, if you follow me on twitter then you already got a sneak peak. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning Derek and I fueled up for our long day of furniture shopping a First Watch where we dined with Derek’s brother and lovely girlfriend.


I couldn’t decide between pancakes and eggs so I got both.


I had about 3/4 of the humungous wheat germ pancake and gave half of the ham steak to Derek.


I also asked for a big bowl of fruit because I find it nearly impossible to start any morning with out a serving of fruit in my belly.


We shopped. We shopped. And I realized I really don’t like furniture shopping. Anyone want to go in my place next time?

We stopped for a late quick lunch at Whole Foods and I warmed up with a big bowl of soup and some hot bar.


This was the Sweet Potato, Kale, and Corn Chowder and I have to say it was a little bland. I added plenty of salt, but a good flavor was still missing.


I balanced the soup out with plantains, indian food, tofu, and naan from the hot bar.


We took a break from shopping to catch a matinee of ‘No Strings Attached’ with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.


Such a cute movie. It was funny, ridiculous, and exactly what I was hoping to see on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good laugh with lots of warm fuzzies.

1 Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles January 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

That’s too bad that you don’t enjoy furniture shopping – I think it’s so fun! You’ll find the right stuff soon though, not to worry!

2 Ashley January 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Aw I wanted to see that movie today! ๐Ÿ™

Sorry the couch shopping didn’t work out. At least you made headway in understanding what you want and need.
Ashley recently posted..Doing What Girls Do Bestโ€ฆ

3 Anna January 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Try TJMaxx Homegoods…they have beautiful stuff for very little money. Sometimes I find places like IKEA overwhelming because there are just so many options.

4 Lauren January 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm

At least couch shopping is comfortable! There’s a store in town that sells used furniture for cheap, and a lot of it is in really good condition, so that’s my plan for my apartment next year.
Lauren recently posted..Nuts &amp Seeds Galore

5 Sana January 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I def want to see No Strings Attached because it totally sounds like my life right now!
Sana recently posted..Family Funday

6 Val @ Balancing Val January 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

We got a gift certificate for a new couch for Christmas and we can’t wait to pick it out!

Were actually holding out for one with a sofa bed as our apartment is so small and the bed would help with guests and nights my boyfriend is being a deusche!

Val @ Balancing Val recently posted..Down Again

7 Maryann January 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Hahah love your first sentence/picture ๐Ÿ™‚ I really want to see No Strings Attached, glad to hear you liked it!!
Maryann recently posted..Exercise Motivation &amp A Day at the Beach

8 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Judging by the looks of the shower curtain photo you posted on Twitter… you have your work come out for you in the decorating department ๐Ÿ™‚ It will come together- good luck! I can’t wait to see what you do with the place!

9 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun January 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I want to see that movie. We always have to wait for things to come out on DVD though. And furniture shopping is way too stressful.
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Self-Love Reflections- Gifts of the Body

10 kristy @ January 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Furniture shopping is sooo hard! I totally feel your pain. I’m literally typing this at Home Depot trying to pick out paint colors!
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11 Katie @ Healthy Heddleston January 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm

So glad you said you liked that movie because I really want to see it!
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12 Angela January 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm

If I could go back in time to when I started decorating my house I would start by buying things like the curtains first. It is so much easier to match paint to fabric than the other way round. It’s been 3 years since I decorated and the curtains in the guest room still bother me!

13 Theresa @ActiveEggplant January 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Furniture shopping IS overwhelming! I remember doing it for our house & it was hard. My best advice is:
1. get something you fit on lengthwise (for naps!). We’re both tall, so this was ultra important and hard to accomplish.
2. get a color that is somewhat “neutral” so you can change paint/carpeting/decorations without having a sofa that “clashes”. We ended up with chocolate brown leather so we can basically go with any decoration scheme and still have furniture that “fits” the feeling of the room!

Can’t wait to see the process as you and Derek start merging your homes!
3. remember that good furniture is an investment. good furniture is worth shelling out for if you plan on keeping it for many years. basically, don’t expect inexpensive furniture last long…you get what you pay for when it comes to quality!
Theresa @ActiveEggplant recently posted..The Birthday Girl

14 Theresa @ActiveEggplant January 23, 2011 at 6:54 pm

hhhmm….#3 was supposed to be right after #2!
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15 Alaina @ The Jogging Concierge January 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I can’t wait to see that movie! I’ve heard such good things. ๐Ÿ™‚

My husband and I haven’t had to shop for anything either; it’s all been hand me downs.
Alaina @ The Jogging Concierge recently posted..Itโ€™s a Hard Rock Life

16 Jason Sadler January 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Furnish123 in Winter Garden, the search will be over ๐Ÿ™‚

17 Caroline January 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

My husband and I finally bought our first set of new furniture (after 3 years of marriage) this past July, right before we moved into our current place. We went to most of the furniture stores in our small town and finally found a set we could both agree on at Adcock Outlet (woo, sale). Training the dogs to stay off was a bit hectic at first (and there’s definitely one big scratch from them), but we honestly don’t use them that much. We’re both students so spend more time at our desks. The seats are are already starting to compress though and I am concerned about how well they will last. I guess we’re doing them a favor by staying off right now though!

18 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm

congrats on finding things and starting fresh!!!

i could have saved so much time, energy, and in the long run…money…had i just started fresh when i was about your age rather than try to piece-together hand me downs and random hubs stuff/my stuff and get it to all coordinate.

very smart call on your part!

19 Matt @ The Kitchen of a Runner January 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I think the worst part of furniture shopping is spending money ๐Ÿ˜‰

20 Sara (Miles & Manhattan) January 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Ahh furniture shopping! I would gladly go in your place, im obsessed!! ๐Ÿ™‚
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21 Barb January 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I have that brown suede sectional Derek is crashed out on. It is in our downstairs TV room and has held up for the 7 years we’ve had it. It has survived a cat, 2 teenagers and all their friends. I believe 3 kids can sleep on it at a time! Good luck!

22 michelle January 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm

My husband and I just purchased a new sectional. Woot! love it (but it isn’t delivered yet…)
we saw that movie on Friday and thought it was funny too. Perfect date movie.
michelle recently posted..Sunday Funday

23 hippierunner January 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

That movie looks cute but I feel like it would be so weird to see Natalie Portman being ‘normal’ after having seen Black Swan 2 times! Good luck w the furniture hunt!

24 Jessica Lee January 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I got my couch from Dania after going to 20+ stores. Love it!
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25 Mimi January 23, 2011 at 7:37 pm

The only time I’ve shopped for furniture was when I looked for my bedset last year. Next year, the to-be husband and I will have a bit of filling in to do, but I think our parents are going to be (willingly) passing a lot along!
Mimi recently posted..Style status report

26 Lauren January 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Looks like you and Derek hit up Ikea today! I did the same thing. Okay this might seem like a crazy suggestion, but if you are budget conscious I would try Craigslist for a couch. I have gotten both of my (Ikea) couches from people who owned them for less than a year and then moved. (I live in NY where people move every six months it seems.) Or, if you want to buy new, the pull-out L-shaped couch from Ikea is exceptionally awesome.

27 Beth @ DiningAndDishing January 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Decorating a place of your own sounds like so much fun!! My brother just bought his first place so I went to Chicago to help him with the shopping. It was exciting but you’re right – very daunting at the same time!

28 Jess@atasteofconfidence January 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Really want to see that movie!
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29 Allison @ PickyEatingRD January 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I hateeee furniture shopping!! It took me months to purchase my current bedroom set and I too will be on the market for a new couch come Marcg. Looking forward to these posts!
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30 Emily January 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I have been wanting to go see that movie! I had been hoping it would be a fun/silly movie – I will definitely go see it now.

31 Ashley January 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

The concept of the soup sounds good though. Good luck with the furniture shopping! I highly want to avoid that in my future years but I guess its inevitable.
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32 Jessica @ Jessica Balances January 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I just moved into a new place a few months ago and found furniture shopping to be SO HARD! I ended up getting everything at consignment stores — they are so much cheaper than typical furniture stores and the quality is usually pretty good. Oh, and Craigslist can be good, too! My bf got an amazing couch for an insanely low price.
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33 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Couch shopping is the worst. My parents’ is actually broken, but finding a new one that’s as comfortable is a nightmare, so we propped the old one up until the right new one comes along. Good luck with finding one you love!
Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine recently posted..Food Staples

34 rebecca lustig January 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm

gah i still think its so great youre moving in together ! haha. that almost makes the idea of furniture shopping seem worth the pain… almost ha

35 Alyssa January 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

It would be kind of fun to decorate a new place, aside from the frustrated shopping part ๐Ÿ˜‰ But hey, you know it when you see it, and things will come together ๐Ÿ™‚ The bathroom does need some work though ๐Ÿ˜‰

36 BroccoliHut January 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I went through the same saga just a few months ago with my boyfriend Seth. He moved into a new place (closer to me! yay!) but had no couch. We looked everywhere but finally settled on one that we found online at JCPenney.
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37 Lindsey January 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I did the exact same thing today! We started looking at beds and mattresses which was suprisingly complicated and exhausting. Laying on a bunch of mattresses isn’t fun, it’s odd and eventually that all feel “soft” or “hard”.
We started looking for couches or entertainment centers, but I didn’t like any of them enough to buy.

I’d rather go shoe shopping, any day.

Good luck with your move and transition!
Lindsey recently posted..Its supposed to get easier

38 Christin@purplebirdblog January 23, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Once you find the piece that you want and that works, it will all be so worth it! I would do anything to be able to afford a new couch right now! I don’t know what it is, but I am not a big fan of Ashton Kutcher. Ever since That 70’s Show, I’ve just never been very fond of him!
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39 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Furniture shopping is SO hard. It definitely caused an argument or two with the Husband and I when we were engaged. However, when you find what you love, you’ll just know. ๐Ÿ™‚
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40 Lish January 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm

The only thing harder than furniture shopping is choosing a paint color. But I love doing both!

Seriously, something that helped me the first time I bought furniture was to take pictures of the pieces I liked and then I shrunk them down and cut/copy/pasted them on a picture of the room. Sounds crazy, but it helped me get a feel of the room!

41 Jenna @Eating Green, Staying Lean January 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Oohh, I’m glad you liked the movie! I was thinking of seeing it sometime soon but wasn’t sure if it’d be worth it.
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42 Bess January 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Love Ikea! We got our kitchen from there!

43 Angela January 23, 2011 at 9:27 pm

BLAH I hated couch shopping!!!

Do you have a Value City Furniture? We got a great deal on a couch/loveseat and got free delivery.

Also, if they offer a fabric protection plan, I would suggest getting it. Ours was 80 bucks for 7 years, but I could literally take a knife to my couch and they would replace the couch or give us a credit for a new one. Totally worth the money we spent. Hopefully we will be getting a kitten soon, and I want to get the scratching everything stage out of its system before the plan runs up!

Good luck!!
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44 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) January 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm

We shopped for furniture for quite some time before we actually picked out any, and The Boy ended up picking out what we have now. Once you get a feel for what you want, it should be easy, but it takes time to get there.
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45 sarah (sarah learns) January 23, 2011 at 9:47 pm

i hear ya on the hand-me-down furniture. that’s all i’ve ever had too. it’s exciting that you’re redecorating, though!
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46 Katy (The Singing Runner) January 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I don’t like furniture shopping either! When I had to look for stuff for my apartment, it was awful!
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47 Maddie January 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm

My husband and I are in the market for a new couch too! We’ve started looking at things online so we have SOME direction when we hit the stores, but it’s all about sitting on it and seeing just how comfy it is. I’ve also never shopped for furniture, so I’m kind of not looking forward to it! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with hand-me-downs ๐Ÿ˜‰
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48 Lauren @ Running Examiner January 24, 2011 at 9:11 am

I loved “No Strings Attached”! It was a very cute movie…perfect Sunday fare.

Buying a new couch (or new furniture) is so much fun! My boyfriend and I refurbished our apartment this past summer. When we moved in together two years ago, we kind of combined our respective furniture, and while everything looked fine, it felt kind of disjointed. (We both like modern furniture, so at least our styles match). Anyway, we totally redid our living room this summer — new TV, new media console, new couch, new coffee table, etc. It was so fun! We got a lot of our stuff from West Elm, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

49 Rachael January 24, 2011 at 9:13 am

I’m so excited for you and Derek!! Enjoy this time, you only move in “for the first time” once ๐Ÿ™‚
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50 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday January 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

I think most of my furniture has come from the side of the road on garbage day (no joke).
My husband and I once carried a couch home because it wouldn’t fit in my car. Luckily it was relatively light and we only had to walk about 1 mile.

51 Robin January 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

I love Ikea. I have the Karlstad couch, it was actually a hand-me-down and is about 7 years old. But the great thing with Ikea is you can buy new fitted couch covers and they are machine washable. I highly recommend this couch for anyone with a larger space and a modest buget! Good Luck!

52 Value City Furniture January 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

Um…. you DEFINITELY need to check our store out. I’m just sayin’. First couch? First time shopping for a couch? We will help you out every step of the way! Just send me an email and let me know what you’re looking for! :o)

53 Claire January 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm

We have been couch shopping since we moved, oh, 2 years ago! My fiancรฉe is so incredibly picky when it comes to couches, I’ve had to just throw in the towel and give up! We are back at it again so here’s hoping we can find something we agree on! All I know is that I’m OVER our 1970’s blue couch that is covered by a couch cover. haha.
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54 Jamie @ A Healthy J.D. January 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm

We just purchased a Simmons faux leather sectional at Big Lots for $600, and it is amazing. Big Lots is always a great place to look for cheap furniture, its hit or miss but this week we got a big hit ๐Ÿ™‚

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