Just Right Enough by Margaret Hart

Do you remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Fast forward to the part where she goes upstairs and lays down on the first bed; it was too hard. Then she tries the next bed; it was too soft. Finally, the last bed was just right. And she fell asleep.

I’ve been thinking about that story the last several days as my husband and I searched for new bedroom furniture for our son. Over the weekend, along with my parents and sister who were visiting for Easter, we shopped at five furniture stores, but could not find bedroom furniture that was just right. We even looked at adult beds, but didn’t see anything we liked.

My father recounted that when I was a child, my parents bought me a new bedroom set when I entered the fifth grade. It was made in Canada, from solid maple, and was very high quality. I had a bed, a corner desk and chair, a small chest of drawers with a mirror, and a large six-drawer dresser with a hutch that had shelves for my all my books and collections. That furniture lasted forever, until I graduated from college and moved out of the house, and beyond.  My parents finally gave it away when they moved because they didn’t have room for it in their new home. That’s the vision I have for the style and quality of furniture I’d like to buy for my eight-year-old. Furniture he can grow into, that will last until he goes to Harvard! (Hey, ya never know!)

Seems, however, that I am going to have to reset my expectations because I didn’t find anything that could even begin to compare to the quality of bedroom furniture I had growing up. Dismayed, my parents agreed. Almost everything we looked at in the large chain stores, or well-known furniture stores, was glued and stapled, and some stores even had beds or dressers on display that were broken or nicked, scratched or chipped, with splintered drawers and loose knobs. Why would any store display furniture in that condition?

Only one store, independently owned, had a few brands with real quality craftsmanship. Bedroom sets were made from hard woods, and in the United States. We liked one brand in particular, made to order, with several styles of beds, dressers and desks from which to choose, as well as wood stains or painted finishes. As you would expect, the prices were higher than all the other stores, but so was the quality. Being my father’s daughter, I’m willing to pay for good, quality furniture that’s going to last. We were pleased to finally find furniture where dresser drawers had solid bottoms and fronts, and sides were tongue and groove construction. Headboards were strong and constructed with screws (not a dab of glue in sight); they didn’t wobble when we tried to wiggle them. Bookshelves were sturdy enough to hold a few pounds of books without warping—and a collection of sports trophies!

Still, the furniture we liked best, while very good, wasn’t quite at the Goldilocks standard. Everything wasn’t “just right.” For example, the bed seemed too low to the ground for my son, sized, the sales person explained, for kids and teens. My son is already among the tallest in his class and if the pediatrician’s height and weight charts are correct, he’s going to be close to six feet tall. The salesperson noted that the bed was displayed with only a mattress, and that a box spring would raise it up in height. Further, she had the good sense to point out that the bed can be ordered in an adult size. Hallelujah!

While we have yet to make our final decision on the bedroom set we liked best, I think Goldilocks would probably say it’s “just right enough.”

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