It’s a time-honored tradition almost as old as relationships themselves. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, the move in together, they nearly breakup on their first trip to IKEA.
Going to IKEA as a couple can be a crippling blow to the romance of any relationship. Alone, IKEA is great, a haven of modern, crazy cheap furniture that doesn’t look half bad most of the time. You can walk through the various model rooms and imagine what your life would be like if you lived in them, then swing by the cafe for Swedish meatballs and chocolate almond cake.
When you’re in a relationship, it’s an agonizing experience. Suddenly there is another opinion to deal with, a whole other set of preferences that you have to consider–preferences belonging to a person with whom you want to remain on good terms. Worse, you’re actually planning on buying some of these objects, which adds an extra financial stress to the situation.
Moving in together is all about compromise though. When it comes to buying furniture, you need to first agree on what you want. If you can work together, surely you can figure out the exact piece you both want.
Of course, even if you agree on what you want, there’s no guarantee that Ikea will have it. The store may be full of great furniture, but it’s not exactly customizable. How often will the two of you find yourself wishing you could combine that Flug with that Klonkkenn?
If you’re lucky enough to find the piece that perfectly mixes your taste for modern minimalism and hers for classic elegance, you still need to find the right color, get it home and then assemble it without losing your minds in the process.
It’s no wonder all this will cause you to want brain each other with various part of the Oumbärlig 7-piece cookware set.
Luckily, there are, finally, alternatives to the Ikea relationship gauntlet. New companies like Burrow have been popping up to offer fully customizable furniture that you configure and buy from the comfort of your own home–no paper rulers and tiny pencils needed.
Burrow in particular designs mid-century-modern looking sofas that come in all sorts of colors and options—meaning the days of “Well I like the color in this one, but the shape of this one, and none of it can be combined,” is over. Burrow offers an incredible amount of variables for its couches, like high or low armrests, tufted or smoothed cushions.
Best of all, it makes the assembly process completely simple. While other furniture companies flat-pack everything in one wood block of super-heavy bits and pieces, this thing comes in four boxes, labeled with the order in which you should open them. The unboxed components click together in place as easily as you you click the top of a pen, and you’re good to go.
(Ed. Note: It took our writer fifteen minutes to put his couch together: less time than it took for his girlfriend to get back from Whole Foods.)
If, after this simple assembly, you and she decide that you don’t like the sofa after all, you can follow Burrow’s simple return policy. Even the way the piece is packaged makes return simple: There isn’t really a need to shred the boxes apart , so much as slice the pieces out. So if you did need to send things back it’s easier to jump pop them back in and send them on their way.
The Internet continues to revolutionize the way we do everything, and before we know it, going to the store to fight about furniture options will seem as quaint as the days when Grandpappy had to visit the black smith and cereal only came in Bran and Slightly More Bran. Direct to consumer shopping at outlets like these is what’s going to save the modern marriage, and happens from the comfort of your own apartment.