August 18th, 2003.

Ikea generation.

Well, I am now officially part of the Ikea generation, complete with birchwood tables, cream-colored sofas, plants in attractive pots, candles, a rug, and decorative bowls full of stones. Though it's worth noting, rather than paying for a little bag of assorted stones I went to a beach at Penmon Point on the Isle of Angelsey in North Wales and picked my own stones.

I have a new lounge. It might not normally be the kind of thing that would merit a 'meanwhile' but as a friend pointed out just last night, I haven't written anything in quite some time, so my new lounge and enrollment into the Ikea generation seems like a worthwhile subject right now.

In years to come I know I'll read this back to myself and cringe at the fact that I am so excited to have gotten a bunch of new furniture from Ikea of all places. I know it's not a classy place and in the grand scheme of things it's a pretty cheap place, though for now, I shall call it 'cost-effective.' But what I should perhaps remind my future self is that this is somewhat of a minor defining moment in my life, a juncture when I crossed a threshold from living in an apartment of thrown-together things accumulated from charity shops, cheap ex-catalog outlets and by means unknown or perhaps best forgotten. In this, my new lounge, I chose all the furniture and bought it brand new all at once, albeit from Ikea.

I feel like I've been on one of those programs where arty people come into your home and remodel a room on an impossibly small budget. Except, in this case, an attractive lady who surely isn't an upholster hasn't done something magical with my old couch. It's now been retired to sitting downstairs in a room that I like to call 'the sunroom' but is actually the place where the lawnmowers and ugly plants live.

I now have two new couches. They face each other across a birch coffee table that has a glass center and a bowl of shells and sand in the middle. The room is no longer paying homage to the TV god (I hate that when a room completely revolves around a television). You can now sit here and have a comfortable conversation, though I'm not convinced that these new couches are as comfy as the old one... but I don't know, I could be in 'couch shock.'

I would never before have seriously considered a decorative wooden plate to be a worthwhile allocation of funds. But without wishing to sound like a metrosexual (I just learned that word) I am pleased with my purchase. It's a Hultet plate, a huge plate hand-made out of bamboo, which the little Ikea tag informed me is what the homes of a billion people around the world are made of. I don't know if that is something I would have picked as a selling point, though.

The plants that used to be huddled into one foresty looking corner of what I will now be calling my 'old lounge,' have been placed into attractive new pots and baskets and situated aesthetically around the room to give it a more 'organically balanced' feel. See, I'm even beginning to sound like one of those annoyingly chirpy TV home renovator types!

I'm going to add a personal touch to all this Ikea-ness though. I have a ton of digital photographs that I've taken over the last three years or so and I'm going to hang some of them on the walls in new picture frames. A mixture of people and places, black & white, and color photographs, something to reflect a little of who I am and make the room feel somewhat more human and less 'boring'.

There are still a few things I need to get to finish the room off. A lamp would be a good idea. Usually, I'd just use the candles to provide the mellow lighting, but I think a lamp in the corner might provide a quick alternative for those times when lighting half a dozen candles isn't convenient.

It's fun being able to do the whole Ikea thing. I've never really given much attention to furniture before. When I left home I had little more than a few bags of clothes, some posters, a stereo and a few boxes of records and tapes. I could fit my life in the trunk of a car and relocate in an afternoon. How quickly things change.

Like I said though, this is perhaps one of those minor milestones in life. Not as dramatic or memorable as getting my first apartment, but in some respects still another rung on the ladder maybe?