Why Does This One Couch From West Elm Suck So Much?
Anna Hezel

Furniture today isn’t designed to last because no one is assumed to even want the same couch in 5 years.

I last re-did my den in 2003. The furniture I replaced was from my quasi-Scandinavian period in the late 1980s and years of my son — born in 1993 — climbing literally all over it had broken it down quite thoroughly.

I didn’t want it gone so much because I no longer had illusions that I lived in Norway or Finland as the reality that I lived in Texas, where dirt and land are orange and brown with flecks of green and perhaps my furniture should look that way. Including that it was made from old wagons that had been beat up just a bit on their way across the Continental Divide. Perhaps my new coffee table was made from wood that survived the Donner Party?

Several weeks of looking, and a weekend arguing with my (former) partner about the need for a special chair, just for watching Green Bay Packer’s games, I had an entirely new den. Eight pieces, entirely too many throw pillows, $4,000.

Fourteen years later the only reason it needs to go is the entertainment center won’t hold a 60" TeeVee. I’ve not questioned why I need a 60" TeeVee, I only know that when I finally give in to the inevitable need for a TeeVee that is larger than a dining room table, I will need all new den furniture.

I am a dinosaur. My bedroom is about 10 years old, the den is pushing 15, and the dining room is 25. On average, I think I’ve spent less per year on furniture than your typical Ikea shopper.

And that’s why furniture isn’t designed to last — who can run a business that makes quality products, designed to last a lifetime, if people only buy from you once or twice in a lifetime? It’s far better for business to make cheap crap that needs replacing every 1–3 years and make up stories about why it’s better that way. Buy the good stuff from before cheap crap companies like West Elm and Ikea got into the furniture business.

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