Truth: I love me some shopping. But I’m the kinda girl who has always been on a Forever 21 budget. Thirty to fifty bucks here or there is typical; a few years ago I bought a $250 pair of high heels from J.Crew and I still feel guilty about it. When you decorate a new bedroom, though, there’s really no way around it. Unless you want to sleep on the $99 mattress they sell at IKEA — which I was totally prepared to do until I actually laid on it and was convinced it’s stuffed with straw — you’re going to have to plunk down some cash money.I set myself a budget for decorating my new bedroom: $1,000 to $1,200. (Salvation Army is not for me: I’m a total germophobe.) I assumed I could fill up a bedroom for less than a grand with everything I needed — a bed frame, a mattress, a bookcase, a bedside table — and throw in the things that I wanted — sheets, a duvet, lamps, a rug — afterwards. Considering my new bedroom will be fairly medium- to small-sized (11 x 8 are the official dimensions), I don’t have room for a bunch of stuff.
Fool that I am, when I initially paged through the IKEA catalog, I thought I’d just buy the cheapest version of everything. The $79 mattress? Sure. The $99 bedframe? Why not. The $20 sheets? Go for it.
But you know where this story is going: once you’re actually in IKEA, you see the cheap stuff made of plywood next to the nicer stuff that’s, you know, actually painted, and things change. Tastes get … well, not fancier, but fancier for IKEA. Next thing I knew, I found myself eyeing the $199 Hemnes bed frame (bed slats, for some reason, cost extra). The smallest matching Hemnes dresser is $149.
In my head, I started calculating, “OK, that’s $350 plus tax,” and slowly began to hyperventilate. I moved onwards towards the mattress department and all the three-digit numbers only made me more anxious. That $79 mattress that feels like a bed of straw was starting to look pretty good. And that, of course, is when my mother decided to insist that I get a more expensive mattress because it will be better for my back.
I know she’s right. (I mean, she’s a mother: I think it’s written in their contract that they are always right.) But the idea of spending $300 or $400 — a significant chunk of my budget — on a mattress had me full-blown hyperventilating. We had to hastily get out of the mattress department, sadly without me committing to a specific choice.
In the end, the Hemnes bed frame that I want was out of stock at both the IKEAs in New Haven, Connecticut, and Brooklyn, New York, which are the closest locations . I’ll likely buy one in the future when it’s back in stock. But for now, I just bought the cheapest little metal bedframe that IKEA sells, which was $40. That will ease the pain of having to fork over a bunch of money for a mattress … which I still haven’t done yet.
But the clock is ticking. The move-in date is this Friday. Time to whip out that debit card and commit.