Family History

Friends Before Furniture (every time!)

There’s a furniture store chain with a new ad campaign which starts with a young couple standing in their dining room complaining, “We can’t have our friends over with this outdated furniture!,” although it’s their turn to host.  The ad follows with enticing deals and colorful photos of modern dining, living and bedroom furniture, then ends with a picture of the happy couple smiling in a decorated room, full of new modern dining furniture, dishes, pictures and rug.

chairs dining room food furniture
Although this is just marketing, it seems such a good thing that this imaginary couple was planning to entertain at home, especially in this “let’s meet for drinks” age we live in, but the problem was not the couple’s dining furniture.  They had more than many young couples, a full set, appearing to be a hand-me-down from the 1970’s.  The problem was, the table and chairs were in a completely undecorated room–no rug, pictures or color on the walls!  It is not the newness of the furniture that makes a room, it is what you place with the furniture:  wallpaper or paint, carpet or flooring, pictures, plants and books, that make a room part of your home.  If the chair seat of second-hand furniture doesn’t match your desires, usually all it takes to fix it is new fabric, a staple gun, a screwdriver and an evening at home.

Dinner parties are about food and fellowship, not the furniture!  When Mr. H. and I invited friends to our first apartment, we had his grandmothers large drop-leaf table, but only four of its chairs.  Our living room had only my piano and a sofa bed.  Since eight people were coming for a potluck, one couple brought four chairs, so we could all sit and eat together.  “What can I bring?” was the standard question one asked before coming to a friends house, sometimes it was folding chairs, or board games, and usually everyone brought part of the dinner.  We were young and just starting our lives, but we enjoyed hanging out together.  It was always a casual and fun time.

Like most young couples, we eventually had plenty of furniture, adding a piece at a time, recovering pillows and seat covers, painting walls once we had a house.  The rooms looked cozy and complete, but never did they look new and straight from a showroom.    And Always, the People were more important than the furniture.

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