Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kids' Furniture Is Outta Control

When did decent children's furniture become as expensive -- or even more pricey -- than furniture for grown-ups?

Late Blooming Mom has lately been browsing the web and real-world stores for a couple of big-kid beds, since Thing 1 and Thing 2 have outgrown the need for a changing table, freeing up some space. They've adjusted to life in 3-sided cribs, and started asking about beds , apparently because real beds mean the possibility of sleeping on LITTLE MERMAID or CARS-themed bed sheets.

Sticker shock has been, well, shocking.

When Late Blooming Mom was a kid, there was no Pottery Barn Kids, no Land of Nod, no Room and Board kids' line. And toddler beds were rare because the main idea was that you went from crib to bed with no in-between step: who had the money to buy something three times for the same kid to sleep on? I went off to college leaving the same bed that had been mine since I'd turned five.

The high-end furniture lines all do something for the kids these days, and though some of beds look pretty nice, let's face it: twin beds use a lot less wood than, say, a queen or a king, so what's the deal with the mark-up?

Of course there's always Ikea ... Target ... Sears .. Penney's. The prices are reasonable at these kinds of places. But somehow pressed particleboard is not the material I want my kids dinging into for the next 14 years, because it's going to show every ding. I suppose I could buy the particle board stuff with an eye to replacing it in the tween or teen years, when the kids'll be clamoring for redecorating their rooms anyway. But again, that means more money spent down the line, and given that ten years ago I never expected to pay fifty bucks to fill up my non-SUV car (thank you Darth Cheney and all those who brought us the Iraq war), who knows what actual hardwood beds'll go for then.

I thought I'd circumvent the big suppliers by checking out beds at an unfinished furniture store. The prices were SLIGHTLY better -- but didn't take into account the back-breaking labor of assembling, staining and finishing two twin beds, nor the fact that I have no space in my home or communal condo garage in which to perform said assembling/staining/finishing.

The nutty prices don't just extend to beds, but any furniture item kids put in their rooms. And the stuff for babies -- which is only useful for a few years -- is equally insane. The "Coco Stylewood Baby Lounger" (shown at top and you can read about it here,) a glorified and admittedly cool-looking, Charles and Ray Eames-influenced bouncy seat that comes in color combos such as "cappuccino/coconut white," lists for two hundred dollars.

For a bouncy seat.

Let me repeat: $200 No, that wasn't a typo.

Now I'm all for kids' furniture not looking like crap, and maybe having a little more hip design sense than what most Late Blooming Moms had in our bedrooms as girls. But my kids' furniture budget should not rival what it costs to go to college. (I shudder to think what THAT will be when my kids are old enough to go).

I could keep Thing 1 and Thing 2 in cribs a little longer -- and probably will: the kids still fit in them -- but that's delaying the inevitable, and prices, as we all know, will only go up.

Sleeping bags on the floor, anyone?


Pippa said...

I recently got new bed for my kids room!! It's very unique!!

Zane said...

Looks good; I saw this site with some useful info on RTA Kids Furniture. Hope it helps...

Anonymous said...

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