Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Buying a Table and Chair Set for the First Time

I've been an adult for 12 years already, and married nearly that long, and I have to say that even with all that, I've only really felt like I've become a "real" adult for the last year and a half, since we've moved into our own home. It honestly is less the fact that we own the place, and more what we did with it; each milestone in it, especially buying something "new" made me feel more and more like a "real adult".
When we bought our first couch set when we moved into this new home, it made it turn into a "real" home and not an makeshift home, made it a home I felt proud to share. Roughly the same time we also bought a new washing machine, dryer, and refrigerator. For the first time ever we had brand new things, and not stuff bought second hand or salvaged from the trash. And it started to make me feel even a bit like an impostor. Because how could I, the frugal lady, the one who is known for doing things super cheaply, actually have new and nice things? The fact that we bought them cheaply, even if new, meant that I wasn't compromising my values, but it still was something hard to wrap my mind around and feel comfortable with.

But even with our nice new house, and our new appliances and so much in our house that we were proud of, our dining area left much to be desired.
When we first got married, we got a nice sized solid wood 8 seater table for free. It had no leaves, but it was more than large enough for us. When we moved to our smaller home, our landlords offered us a free table that looked similar to the one we had, only this was an 8 seater when closed, but had 2 leaves so could open to seat 12. It was also narrower than our old table, so perfect for our small apartment. It was no brainer, so we gave away our old table, and since then had the hand me down from our landlord. Over the years, the table started showing signs of wear and tear, and my handy husband fixed it as best as he could, but it still had issues. Although he fixed the table legs that were shaky, suddenly when we moved the table we had to be sure that the leg actually moved with the table or the entire table would collapse. The latches to keep the table together and closed when there were no leaves also broke. Essentially it got to be a real pain to have the table.

Over the years we've had many chairs in our apartment. We bought a set of 4 second hand from someone, and then a hodge podge of other chairs rescued from the trash, etc...  We even bought some second hand Ikea chairs, but they were so terrible that we never ended up using them. We reupholstered our set of 4 chairs a few times. We fixed chairs that were broken, strengthening them, including the hodgepodge mismatched collection. Then in our new apartment, to make them all a uniform look, more or less, we painted all the chairs black, and reupholstered them all in burnt orange suede, and then covered the seats in plastic. We also trash picked a set of 4 black matching chairs with grey pleather seats.
And those chairs were good for a while.
But we live in a home with kids.
And kids make trouble.
Kids made it their effort to literally scratch off every bit of black paint they could from the chairs. Additionally the paint came off onto the walls, leaving a nice black mark there. Then there were the kids that literally ripped the plastic covering from the seats, and that ripped the suede covering as well.
On top of that, because the chairs were old, we started having similar issues to that which we had with the table. They were rickety, wobbly, etc... Mike did his best to fix them, but the fixes were only temporary. There also ended up being screws that poked out where they shouldn't; a guest even got cut one time by our chairs.

That's when we decided enough was enough. We'd buy a table and chairs.

We had been looking for years, honestly, but everything was so above our budget and not what we wanted. After our experience with those second hand Ikea chairs, I didn't want Ikea chairs, and everything else we saw was so prohibitively expensive. The cheapest chairs we saw anywhere were folding chairs, and that was at about 50 dollars a piece, and I didn't want folding chairs as our regular chairs. Non folding chairs were significantly more expensive. Being as we were a family of six and have guests, we needed a sizable amount of chairs, and I didn't see how it would be possible. Tables were $600 at the very least, and they didn't have the qualities I want, namely, to be able to close small and open large to have guests.

And then one day Mike was browsing the internet, on the same site where we purchased our couches cheaply that we've been very happy with, and he found a table that was really perfect for our needs and much better than our previous tables. When it was small it seats 8, and then it opens up to 3 meters, or nearly 10 feet long, with the addition of three extra large leaves, so it can fit a total of 14 or 16 people around it!

This is really amazing for me, because I love to have guests, and this is perfect for hosting, and then it shrinks back to a more normal size.

Best part about it? This table was $425 including delivery and putting it together.
The only downside? It didn't exactly match our color scheme of grey, burnt orange, and turquoise. It was a dark pine color, which we said was close enough to the pallet wood furniture my husband built, and anyhow, we cover the table with a tablecloth all the time, so it's no big deal.

While Mike was on the site, he found these chairs that worked out to be $30 per chair. We bought ten of them, so that we can have matching even when we have guests. These chairs are grey, which is perfect for our color scheme, and covered in fake leather, which is terrific for kids, because they wipe down very easily.

These chairs cost an extra $5 each to put them together, but my husband and I knew we were handy enough to do it ourselves, so we saved the $50 and put them together relatively quickly, even if the first one took a few tries until we figured out the instructions, and then the rest was smooth sailing.

Since we're keeping our table closed, we're keeping only 8 of the chairs around the table, and the other two chairs are in other rooms in our house, in use next to desks.

Lastly, from the same site we bought six folding chairs for a total of 99 dollars, or $16.50 per chair. We'd intended to buy them grey with grey leather seats, but unfortunately they were out of grey, so we bought them in black.

And for the first time in forever, my dining room looks respectable, with matching chairs that coordinate with the rest of the colors in my house, with a beautiful table. Add to that our brand new dishes and I really feel ready to welcome guests into our home.

I love that we were able to get things we really liked all within a very reasonable budget. Even second hand would likely have cost us just as much once we factored in delivery, and because these items are new, hopefully they will last us a long time.
And finally, I feel like I'm a real adult, with a real adult home!

In your home, do you have a matching set of tables and chairs? Were they purchased new or second hand? At what point in your adult life did you get a matching set of chairs and/or table? Or is that something that isn't a priority for you at this stage in your life?
What types of things make you feel finally like a "real adult"?


  1. Congratulations Penny on such nice looking chairs and table for such a great price I hope they give you many years of happy service!!

  2. Gorgeous! Love the gray! The turquoise bowls complement the gray nicely. Your new home is coming together nicely.
    Texas Girl

  3. I love the look! Since the table is rounded instead of having corners, you can eaily squeeze in another 2 seats. I love our oval table.

  4. Wonderful! Another great frugal method is getting the "floor samples." That's how I bought our leather couch set. Great quality and really comfortable. It was half price.

  5. Why would you let your children destroy your things like that? I understand kids will be kids, but they have to learn to respect property. I know you have strange beliefs about school and other lifestyle choices, but don't you believe in discipline? Your kids sound like wild animals. You have to lay down the law, and there have to be consequences for this kind of misbehavior.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I have to say, once upon a time I might have thought similarly to you. That was before I had special needs children. Two of them in fact. One diagnosed with high functioning autism, adhd and oppositional defiance disorder, and one who probably will end up being diagnosed with that as well, and possibly other things. (And my other two have some issues as well, but not diagnosed.) All my ideas of parenting honestly went out the window when it comes to these kids, because the standard parenting advice simply doesn't work with them. I know they sound wild, they fortunately aren't "wild animals", though sometimes they can be destructive, and I would be lying to say that I dont struggle with figuring out how to "do things right" with them, and I honestly sometimes struggle every single day with those two. That is why my son is currently in a special ed school for kids with high functioning autism, and I'm hoping to get my youngest into such a school as well. From your comment, I assume you've never dealt with special needs children, and I give you the blessing that you never will need to. Because if you did, you might realize that your comment that came across as judgmental and condescending was written without understanding the whole picture.

    2. You're also assuming that Penny didn't discipline... I'm assuming she did in some way, and didn't include that in her post because, well, it's irrelevant. I don't think anyone "let's" their kids destroy property. Things happen. If a child finds one lose thread, they unnecessary the whole tablecloth, and regardless of what you do to discipline, the tablecloth is still gone and needs to be replaced. I hope these chairs and table stay nice for a long time and you get lots of great use, including lots of love from your children, Penny!

    3. You can only discipline as far as a child is able to accept it. I wish I had the words to explain extreme special needs to people who haven't been there. Sometimes the best option is to stand by making sure the child is safe while he takes out his frustrations on the furniture, windows, phone, etc. It's a different reality.

      You have to sense what a child can handle. Being overbearing when that isn't working is just detrimental and not beneficial in any way.

    4. Kids will be kids. I guess Penny didn't bother explaining how she'd disciplined her kids, and it really doesn't matter to the post, nor is it any of your darn business. But I think it's pretty amazing that her stuff lasted such a long time with four energetic kids climbing all over it.

      And honestly, about the reupholstered chairs? She did it herself. It may not have been the best quality or job but it worked for a limited time and then it gave out. Sheesh. Do you have children? Children who climb, who like to discover things, who maybe are preschoolers or toddlers who sometimes - just sometimes - have difficulty differentiating between discovery and destruction? Who maybe, just sometimes, have this itch to pull at something that's partially coming off, to see how it'll come off? Penny's eldest is, what, ten? Her youngest is three? Give. Me. A. Break. Cut the kids some slack, they are KIDS not wax models.

      It's truly a shame that instead of focusing on the great post and purchase, you chose to focus on a few little lines that were totally besides the point.

    5. The paint scraping thing, by the way, is a classic sensory thing. For some children -- with sensory processing issues or with autism -- there's something deeply satisfying about scraping paint or varnish from a surface. You try to curb it, you remind, you try to get them to clean/repair the damage...eventually, they learn and the situation improves. But it can take years and this is a very young child, still.

      (I've got two with diagnoses, and one of them is far older than this cutie-patootie and still occasionally relapses into this exact behavior when stressed or fidgeting.)

    6. Totally separate comment: when I was single and worked FT, I got new furniture and it felt so special and grown up. Flash forward nearly 20 years, and I feel like my furniture is mostly inherited, purchased used, or dumpster dived/curb pickup. It's far from the home I imagined I'd live in. I mostly just don't think about it anymore. It's simply not attainable for us to have nicer furniture at this point in our lives.

    7. I have a child with ADHD/ODD. Getting her to not destroy the house was a monumental effort. She colored on the walls, the furniture etc. I could discipline her up the wazoo and it would do nothing. Eventually with the right combination of meds and therapy and growing up they settle down

    8. Disabled kids aren’t “wild animals.” That language is dehumanizing, and it’s an attitude that contributes to why disabled people are victims of domestic violence at twice the rate of abled people, why we are so disproportionately victims of sexual assault, and other societal violence against us. Please try to think before you talk about us like that.

      And “disciplining” disabled kids for expressions of their disability causes trauma, and doesn’t really help the behavior tbh. I’m a neurodiverse adult whose parents didn’t understand my symptoms. I got punished for scratching things, tapping tables, and other stims and stuff. And now my stims are almost all self destructive things like biting myself. I’m 23 and still want to put random objects in my mouth and not wear shoes. *shrug* Giving Kids coping mechanisms and helping them redirect urges is a long process, and not something you can punish a child into because they need assistance learning how to do it. I don’t always agree with Penny, even on parenting, but I think she’s a good parent and working her best to help her kids.

    9. Obviously, this person doesn't have kids & is too wimpy to write his/her name. From , Dawn Kirk

    10. OMGosh! I'm so glad you clarified! I didn't think your children were wild animals because I have children, one who's a strong willed little girl who is a beautiful, intelligent handful! But your eloquent reply makes me, and hopefully others, realize how quickly we can jump to preposterous conclusions as well as be so judgmental. Thank you for reminding me not to leap without further facts and to just be glad you share a little bit of your frugal lifestyle with us. Btw, the picture with the flowers and the table set looks wonderful - nicely done!

    11. A Reader from BeitarMay 23, 2018 at 6:05 PM

      Two ADD kids here, 3 kids total.
      Having kids means that stuff gets damaged. Period.
      Discipline is important, but it does not negate the point above.
      We bought metal and wood kitchen chairs for our dining room because upholstered dining room chairs, and cheap plastic chairs, simply didn't survive around here. And then we didn't let the kids bang the new chairs around.

    12. I am a teacher and there is NO reason these kids should be destroying the house. I teach severely disabled kids and none of them are destroying the classroom or the school. They are taught to behave properly, both at school and at home. I also have a son with severe ADHD and other issues and NEVER would he think to destroy the house because he has been taught not to act like that. I have a nephew with autism. Again, he would never think to destroy their house because he was TAUGHT not to do that. Remember, Penny's kids (besides the oldest right now) don't go to school, aren't taught any formal type of schooling at home, and are pretty much (according to Penny herself), on their own all day. They are allowed to play on electronics all day if they want, and have no structure. Come on Penny - you are better than this. You have to see a correlation between lack of discipline and structure and the fact that they think destroying the house is acceptable. They need to be able to function in society and follow basic rules of society along with social skills. You are setting them up to never be able to hold jobs or truly function. I think if you would put these kids in school, you would see a huge difference in their behavior. Homeschooling is fine, but you yourself say you are not homeschooling, but letting them "teach" themselves on tablets and video games.

    13. Anonymous, for someone who judges me a lot for how I live my life, you seem to be quite ignorant about how I actually live my life. :D For the past 2 years my second son has been in school, special ed school, and since September both of my daughters have been in school. And my oldest kid who is home has private tutoring a few days a week. So before you judge me about how I'm educating them, how about getting a little more up to date.
      P.S. I definitely discipline my kids. My home is not a free for all.

  6. We bought a round oak table with 6 chairs at an auction before we got married. Future hubby refinished it all. The thought was it would do until we could afford better. Well, we fell in love with it and kept it for 60 years. I had to downsize to a retirement apartment, and several in the family would have liked to have it. I gave it to a daughter. This table could expand to seat 12. We did replace the chairs as they succumbed to the battering of 3 kids. We used this table every day for all our meals in our big farmhouse kitchen.

  7. I dont have a special needs kids and intact im supposed to be very stict mother but still my kid managed to spoil his table and chairs.i had to cover his chair with a red tape to hide how he has poked it with a pencil.i was very mad but still tried best to tell him how and why i was upset.sometimes even when we discipline the kids they will do stuff.its a learning process for them and us.i feel the commenter is very rude who either has no kids or keeps her home like museum. Even kids who are not special nees will do stuff that drives parents crazy at times. What i have learnt is parenting is not one size fit all.its really a custum made thing.

  8. Wild animals? Really? Try working with, loving, caring, raising,and trying to understand a child who has serious impulsivity issues, anger management challenges, sleep problems, and a weak name a few. As a parent you never know what thought will pop into the child's head to act the way they do: toss a chair, flip a table, spill their meal, come racing for hugs n kisses, help make dinner beautifully, clean up, play gently, be a stand-up comedien, curse, disappear for hours, offer to help.... Life is full of surprises and as parents, it's our job to love each child unconditionally and not be judgemental, especially of what other families experience.

  9. Holy judgemental ....Penny the table and chairs are lovely darling. I hope you all have many wonderful years of sweet memories sitting around it.

  10. As the mom of children with special needs, I completely understand! It's a daily struggle to keep our house from destruction from my son especially. Discipline does nothing to help him, believe me, we've tried. You can't "discipline" Autism and chromosomal disorders or learning differences or sensory needs out of a child. Hugs Penny. I've been a reader from the very beginning and I've loved seeing your family grow.

  11. The table and chairs look wonderful! May you and your family enjoy them and use them in good health :)

  12. A friend downsized to us a solid wood table with aged-out varnish that comes off if you blink at it, and two of the wooden chairs that originally came with it with non-matching upholstery fabric on their seats. Then as we had kids we bought second-hand two all-wood chairs in a very different style, and later added a fifth all-wood chair that is just different enough to be noticeable. When we have guests we have to use a combination of cheap metal folding chairs, canvas camp chairs, and drag over the computer chair. I would truly enjoy having a matching dining set someday, maybe even within the next few years - but I have to save up to replace my ratty old $5 college couch first!


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