I've decided that I want Ikea and Real Simple to collaborate and decorate my house. Here is the (fascinating) story of how I came to that conclusion.
Joe is in love with our nasty old couch. This couch had spent a great deal of its life out on a porch during Joe's college years (yes, they were those guys). We cleaned it pretty well (and by "we" I mean more like "I") before we moved it into our apartment and also bought a decent, neutral color slipcover since, in addition to being gross, it is ugly. And you can't clean enough to get rid of ugly. But regardless, Joe is in love with it in all of it's nasty ugly glory. When I suggested/insisted that we would need to think about replacing said couch in the not-so-distant future, I really thought he might cry. So being the kind, loving, considerate wife that I am, I agreed to look into getting it reupholstered. To Joe's (and that sofa's) credit, it is relatively comfortable and a good length for napping. I also don't really have a problem with the construction of the couch so much as the fabric and lack of padding in the armrests. I figured reupholstering was a good compromise, and hopefully cheaper than buying a brand new couch.
The woman that emailed me back from a reupholstering company in Athens gave me an estimate of $450-500... for LABOR ALONE! Not to mention that we would have to pay for (and find ourselves) 18-20 yards of good, sturdy (read: expensive) upholstery fabric, an extra fee for pick-up and delivery, etc. So boo to reupholstery, and goodbye to old nasty couch.
So I turned to that wonder-world of cheap yet trendy furniture, Ikea. I figured I could easily find a couch there for around $500. Plus, Baby Bargains, a book I borrowed from the woman I babysit for, says that it is the best place to find a crib and other nursery furniture that is safe, practical, and inexpensive. As I was looking at the website, taking virutal tours of all of the living rooms (and nurseries...) I decided that they should just supply the furniture for all of my house. Then I'll have people from Real Simple come and help me organize, color coordinate, arrange, and just generally make my life better. Good plan.