One of Our Best Purchases Ever: The Ikea Chairs Story

Let’s take a little trip back in time, to mid-2002. You should be hearing Nelly songs in your head right now, and picture me driving a white Chevy Malibu.

We looked like this (I’m a 6-months-pregnant bridesmaid, but that dress hid my belly pretty well):
2002 - wedding

About 5 weeks later, though, in the spirit of full disclosure, I looked like this before an Illini game:
2002- illini game

Clearly, not a flattering angle for a pregnant lady, but still…that is a whole lotta belly.

Anyway. In our snug little home of a little over a year, I was several months pregnant and nesting. I LOVED this house – it’s probably still my favorite of the 3 we’ve owned – but the layout of the 50+-year-old ranch was a little strange. Right as you walked in the front door, you were in a good-sized, open room that was to function as both a living room and dining room (because there was no room in the kitchen for a table). The real living room was in the finished basement, so that entry room had only a dining room table in it for 2 reasons:
1. We didn’t already own any furniture that fit in the small space.
2. We were poor.

However, with a baby on the way, I just hated the idea that there was nowhere comfortable to sit in our entire main floor of our house. I pictured friends coming over to see the baby, and having to sit at the dining room table or on a barstool in the kitchen didn’t sound OK to me.

So I begged and pleaded with Matt, and after doing some shopping, we settled on the super-cheapest furniture we could find and actually liked the look of: 2 Ikea Poang chairs (at $49.99 each, I think) and a Lack side table (the table was $9.99 10 years ago, too, but back then it was made of real wood, not plastic and fiberboard). In addition to being in our tight budget, it also fit in the small space we had to fill.

We joked about how inexpensive they were, and had the mindset that we’d just keep them as long as we had that house, and then if there was a place for them in the next house, fine, and if not, we’d just sell them at a garage sale. I did love having them there, especially that first Christmas with our newborn Luke, when I’d sit in one of those chairs and feed him by the light of the Christmas tree in the middle of the night.

Well, at the next house, they fit perfectly in front of the window in the office. And they stayed there for 6+ years. Despite being off-white, and having 3 baby boys, 2 who spit up profusely, they still looked pretty good. We only washed the slipcovers once at that house (due to marker on a cushion) which was enough – getting the covers back ON those chairs is a 2-person, involves-some-cussing-type task.

When we moved to this house almost 3 years ago, the Poangs and Lack came with us again, though a bit begrudgingly by now. Matt and I were both kind of sick of looking at them, but again, they fit in the corner of the office just fine. Plans and budget to buy other furniture for that spot were not in place, so it just seemed best to keep using them for a while.

ikea chairs

So here we are 3 years later. No plans to replace those chairs right now, so when I took down the Christmas tree and put the room back together, I noticed how hideously dirty the covers were. Several marker marks, a really dirty spot from a shoe, and an pencil mark mysteriously in the shape of an x; I decided to wash them. I reminded Matt how horrible it was to get the covers back on, and I told him I’d likely need some help when they were clean and dry.

It took him doing most of the work to wrestle those covers back on, and then we decided to tighten up the screws on the chairs, which hadn’t been done in 10 years, so they were a little wobbly.

After all of that, I’m thinking they aren’t going anywhere for a few more years. In fact, I joked about sending them off to college with Luke when he has his first apartment. Which will probably actually happen, since we’ve kept them this long already…

7 responses to “One of Our Best Purchases Ever: The Ikea Chairs Story

  1. We have a set of those same chairs, purchased at about the same time . . . I actually think they might have been a wedding gift. One’s in our basement and one’s in our bedroom right now, but I think they’ve been in every room of the house at some point.

    You’ve just inspired me to wash the covers today.


  3. Love these chairs. I definitely vote they go to college with Luke. They need to stay in the family until they fall apart 🙂

  4. I think that they look quite nice! I also remember when you were that pregnant.

  5. Gosh, how I’ve always loved those chairs (so comfy)! Yep–I think they should accompany Luke to his first apt.!!

  6. From the pic, they look in fab shape! Some of my favorite smaller furniture pieces are from our first years of marriage when we were much poorer and had a baby! The little 2 chair solid wood table I’ve used in both kitchens was ultra cheap at a local auction, and I painted it. It really needs touched up, but I never seem to get around to that–we’ve had it 19 years now!
    I, too, vote for Luke to take them to college! 🙂

  7. Seriously, I’ve always loved them! Get rid of them and I’ll be mad!

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