Buying furniture is the first step in making your apartment feel like a home, but it’s practiced in various phases of an expat’s life.
Bare basics: “I need to stop eating my dinner from the floor.”
Storage: “How can I store all my crap?!”
Settling: “I might be in x country longer than I thought I would be.”
Nesting: “I need to make a home away from home.”
Ikea noob: “I didn’t know I needed all this stuff until I went to Ikea!”
Last weekend my sister and I made a trip down to Ikea to buy new furniture for our home. It was somewhere between settling and nesting. We’ve been to Ikea a few times in the last two years, but this time was kind of a big deal. When you live abroad the concept of home is always temporary. How much time, money and effort you put into furnishing a home shows how long you envision to stay. The less you invest, the easier it is to move on, both mentally and physically. Buying a table is not only about buying a table. It represents roots, having something to leave behind or bring along depending on the next venture in life. Traveling teaches us to pack light for the transient ride but migrating makes it necessary to unpack the boxes even if you’ll eventually end up leaving again.
Buying furniture makes you think about how serious you are with where you are. It’s not something we take seriously within the first year because we’re still experimenting and having fun. But I guess after you pass the 2 year mark it’s only natural to start deliberating, planning and in this case, start decorating.