Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


Together, together: Pondering home furniture

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

There is a piece of furniture in my home that doesn't get a lot of love. You know those kinds of furniture. I'd venture you have a story much like mine too. That piece of furniture that kind of sticks out like a sore thumb; the first piece of homeware you'd think to replace given the chance.

That for us, my friends, is our papasan chair. It isn't a relic from the 70s, but a hand-me-down that has traveled from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles and has called a dorm room, a shared housing and now, our living room, home.

The chair sits in a corner of our living room that has no furniture except a bookshelf. It broods by its lonely self alongside tomes, much like my modus operandi growing up.

But lately, despite its decidedly Goth palette (which stands in contrast to our blue-white-natural wood color scheme), this chair has won my vote for "favorite piece of home furniture." Why?

Because I recently found out that I could do this (!) in it:

Fits up to five! And counting.
It happened one Saturday morning a couple of weekends ago. I sat down on the chair. A few minutes later, my fiance sat right beside me. A few more minutes later my three rambunctious nieces piled onto us. We were like lettuce leaves, carrots and all sorts of salad filling all thrown together in a bowl. The whole scene filled me with a warm, fuzzy feeling and I knew this bowl chair was, for me, the epitome of all things good furniture should be.

Despite what the many picture perfect homes in shelter magazines tell us, furniture should made to be used and abused. Good furniture shouldn't merely match the decor, but can be many things at once for one person or for a whole family. Much like the dinner table potentially opens a door for people to bond, so should my chair, my sofa, maybe even my computer desk.

The more I thought about it, the more I found new pros for this once maligned chair. Not only does this papasan chair make for a great "people salad," it also gives me a new perspective on my living room. Rather than viewing it from the same old vantage point of my sofa, its position at the corner affords me a view of the length of my room and daylight from the massive window beside it.

The papasan's usual configuration. With a blue pillow for an accent.
If I wanted, I could drag the pillow top in front of the television to create a new sitting (or laying down) space. My eldest niece cozied up here for a few nights while staying over with us and I can only imagine it felt a little like sleeping outdoors--a little lumpy, but nonetheless special.

This is a makeshift camping spot or an impromptu movie watching bed.
That's my short ode to my redeemed papasan. What piece of furniture have you found new appreciation for in your home?


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