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      12.08.2008 17:44
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      Everyone needs somewhere to wind down at the end of the day

      Buying a suite of furniture for the room that can be called the sitting room, lounge, parlour or front room (as in my house, although the room is at the back of the house! In all our other homes, it has been at the front so that is what it will always be called regardless of where it is situated), is a big decision because it is something that, unless you are mega-rich and can afford to replace your furniture often, you will have to live with it for a long time. A poor choice will just irritate as the years go by! In households with young children it has to withstand being jumped and bounced on and it has to be able to shrug off stains and spills.

      In the past, with a limited budget, I have had furniture handed down to me. When spare money became occasionally available I was able to purchase new furniture but from a budget range. The last time I purchased a suite of furniture was about four years ago; my children have all left home and I thought that it was about time to splash out on something I wanted for reasons of comfort and appearance and not just to cope with children.

      I took a long time choosing my suite because I still wanted maximum wear and use out of it. In the end I purchased a three-seater settee, a two-seater settee, a 'cuddler' armchair and a matching footstool. It is in a neutral ivory colour and well-made with tough but comfortable fabric. (I have never liked leather suites because all my friends who have them have always ended up covering them with throws because they are cold, uncomfortable and noisy to sit on!) My suite looked the perfect size in the huge area of the store in which it was displayed but, by the time the delivery men had struggled to get it in through the French doors, it suddenly looked twice the size and we even had to store the footstool elsewhere.

      However, I am delighted with it having paid £1350 (reduced from over £2500) for it in Harvey's sale and I know it will look as good and feel as comfortable in another four years. Harvey's have excellent sales and I would always look there first for any other pieces of furniture I need. They have a 'Manager's Specials' area in most stores and these can be a treasure trove at times. Their reductions are always realistic and provide a real bargain.

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