I bought a tiny nightstand

My previous nightstand was six cardboard banker boxes with a towel draped over the top. Height-wise it was nearly perfect next to the bed, and it did what it needed to, providing room for my alarm clock, phone and tablet.

It was, as you might suspect, not overly stylish, and the tops of the boxes got a bit lumpy over the years. Yes, years. I’m not sure why, but I kept this setup far longer than would seem reasonable for something that was intended to be makeshift and temporary.

No more! As part of my Big De-Clutter, I am starting to replace boxes-posing-as-furniture with actual furniture. I started with the nightstand because, well, it’s the only boxes-posing-as-furniture that I actually have. But I’m still replacing other real furniture for various reasons, as I’ll cover in a future post (hint: some of it has to do with what I like to call “granny styling.”)

I picked a suitable replacement from IKEA, a handsome baby Malm that would fit in perfectly next to the big brother Malm already there and serving as my new, improved clothes dresser. But somehow I had measured something wrong (math is hard) and the baby Malm is maybe too much of a baby. It sits significantly lower than the bed (admittedly, we have a massive uber-Queen size that is something like three meters tall. You have to take a running leap to get into bed at night). It’s not unmanageable, but in the end it isn’t what I wanted. I was sad, briefly. Then the cogs in my brain started turning, as they do from time to time.

The tiny Malm could replace the kind-of ugly end table in the living room, as its diminutive stature would not be an issue next to the couch. Voila, nightstand re-purposed, buyer’s regret vanquished (mostly)!. I then began looking for other nightstands that were actually height-compatible with the bed and may have found one at one of the 1,000 furniture stores on United Boulevard in Coquitlam. We will be checking it out on Saturday.

I’m also turfing my L-shaped computer desk because the L-shape ended up annoying me and the desk is too shallow, and the fake woodgrain looks a tad tacky. But that will also be another post.

For now, Furniture Quest 2019, part of the Big De-Clutter and general life improvement stuff, is well underway.

The strange satisfaction of a new coffee table

I went to IKEA and bought a Lack, which is their made-up name for a coffee table. It was cheap–only $25–and easy to assemble. It’s a little narrower than the one it replaces and much lighter. It’s dark and has clean lines. It is very Swedish. And it looks sharper than the heavy, glass-topped table it replaces, which looked more appropriate to something you might find in your grandparents’ home around 1975.

I also replaced my dresser, a piece of furniture that came with me when I first moved to Vancouver in 1986. So this is not just a piece of furniture that looks like it came from the 70s, it actually did come from the 70s (I had it for a few years back in Duncan). Of late it had gotten incapable of containing all of my clothes, with my running gear and jeans piled on top. But it’s one of those things you never really think about until you finally do and then you’re navigating the IKEA maze, picking up the three boxes of boards, screws and braces that will take hours to assemble and voila, I have a new giant dresser that fits this century and holds all of my clothes. And it smells nice, too.

My current nightstand is a stack of six cardboard boxes in a pair of 2×3 stacks. These are filled mainly with books I will never look at again and covered with a blue bath towel to give it a “level” surface. This doesn’t look like grandma furniture, because it lacks any style at all, even simple kitsch value. It does look a bit like what a poor student might slap together (the boxes were cheap because, like IKEA furniture, they had to be assembled). I’m going to replace this soon with an actual nightstand.

I have no idea why I literally waited decades to replace some of these things, much like I have no real idea why I am suddenly doing it now, but it feels right and good and I feel a little less tacky and very slightly more stylish for having done so.

Also, now that I look at my computer desk, I suddenly want to replace it, even though I don’t need to. Like I need a drawing table next to it or a separate place for the printer or…something. It’s suddenly inadequate. But we’ll see. It’s actual furniture, so it isn’t as high a priority as a stack of boxes. That was a bit of clever improvisation that was never meant to be permanent, but much like the dresser, it’s just there and I never thought about it, but now that the thinking has started, the furnituring will continue.

The new computer chair

After realizing I am not ready to spend $1,000 on a new computer/office chair but am ready to spend $200, Jeff and I went out tonight to grab a MARKUS from IKEA, the budget pick in The Wirecutter’s guide to The Best Office Chair. I went for the Vissle dark gray as I prefer fabric over black leather and as a bonus, it’s $60 cheaper. After discount it was even less, only $129. It was so cheap I was tempted to spend $29 on the optional KOLON floor mat. Actually, I wasn’t, I just wanted to work KOLON into this post. I can’t help it, I still think half of the names at IKEA are sly Swedish in-jokes on the rest of the world.

After assembling the chair with the mandatory Allen wrench, Jeff wheeled it over and I’m sitting in it now. My back is a tiny bit sore because it is unaccustomed to being straight instead of slouching. The chair has lumbar support so I expect things to improve quickly. It is already a treat to have a chair that can be adjusted to the right height without requiring a pillow on the seat.

The arms are not adjustable, but if the chair is at the correct height it shouldn’t matter and hasn’t so far. In fact, when I’m typing my arms aren’t touching the armrests at all. I will likely lean an elbow on them from time to time, using the armrests to help support my chin under my hand as I think deep thoughts about my writing. Was that sentence awkward? Let me lean back and contemplate this.

Anyway, there’s not much else to say yet at this early point in the chair’s new life under my butt. Plus it’s a chair, it just sits there. It doesn’t really do much else.

But so far it’s a nice chair.