Military spouses are some of the most creative people I've ever met. Especially when it comes to home decor. We move so often, and the moves tend to take a toll on furniture. Plus, we never know what the next house is going to look like and how much room we'll have, so we're always playing amateur decorator. PCS season is fun for thrifty decorators. The thrift shop gets all kinds of new/oldgoods in stock and people tend to downsize, so the curbs are full fortreasure hunters.
Military families tend to recycle furniture andvarious pieces pass from one family to another quite often. At our last duty station, we gave our sofa and love-seat away knowing that we were going to purchase new furniture once we got here. And when we did get here, we gave an ottoman to another military family, and took a beautiful twin sleigh bed from them for one of our guest rooms.
I love to decorate. For years, I've found creative ways to decorate on a very tight budget, and I enjoyed myself in the process. I like creating things. I once bought an ornate plaster pedestal for $15, which I painted a gorgeous red. I slapped a piece of glass that I already had on top of the pedestal and it became my dining room table. I found four antique chairs that were discarded on trash day, sanded them, painted them red, reupholstered them and wa la - I had a stunning dining room ensemble. In the end, I spent less than $50 for the whole shebang. Years later, I gave the set away to another military family.
Last week I threw out another of my thrifty purchases. In 1998, Ibought a large armoire for very little money. My husband was deployed,so my dad helped me assemble and move it. I sanded it down and stainedit. It looked like a million bucks when I was finished with it, and Iwas excited to show it to my husband when he came home for R&R. Weused the piece for a decade. However, it was time to let go. The armoirehad survived a flood and was a bit soft on the bottom, plus it wasgetting worn out and I no longer had a use for it. Two weeks ago, thearmoire went out of my garage and onto the curb, where someone promptlydrove up in a big truck, loaded it and sped off. I felt a little sadwhen it was gone even though I wanted to get rid of it.
Like most military families, I never know how much space we'll have at the next destination. I've lived in tiny digs and big digs throughout the years. Our home at the last duty station was half the size of our previous home, so most of our stuff stayed lodged in the basement until we moved. Our new house is more spacious than the last, but laid out in such a way that we couldn't use all of our furniture, just another reason the armoire went bye-bye.
Over the last few years, I've been trying to acquire "adult furniture." You know, that furniture that tells everyone you are indeed grown up and you make a little more money than you did ten years ago. I've been buying pieces here and there thatare good quality, and timeless. The goal is that these pieces will lastforever and look great no matter what colors I decide to try out on thewalls, or with accessories. One of our first pieces of "adult furniture" wasbought four years ago. It's a beautiful, substantial coffee table withgorgeous wood tones and sturdy pineapple legs. I love that table.
Love aside, I'm finding out that adulthood ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Last weekend, I rearranged my living room so that I could bring the table back in. It's been two years since the coffee table has been used in my living room and I haven't paid much attention to it during those two years. After we got the table situated, I went to polish it and noticed the scratches on the wood. Then, I remembered what had happened. Not long after we bought the table, one of my nephews came for a visit. My nephew thought the coffee table was the perfect spot for him to race his matchbox cars. Yeah.....
So "adult furniture" doesn't really scream, "I'm all grown up and make a little more money than I did ten years ago." Sometimes it screams, "The joke's on you."