Survey: Furniture shopping can strain a relationship

Strained relationship-web

November 2018—

The real test of commitment between a couple doesn’t come with the ring or vows pledging eternity to one another. A recent study suggests the real test might come when the two shop for furniture.

Online furniture brand Article recently published the results of a survey of 2,000 American adults to better understand the pain points of furniture shopping. And one fact quickly made itself clear through all the data: Furniture shopping can be hazardous to a relationship’s health.

According to the survey, the average American couple has 72 arguments around purchasing decisions when decorating their home. That process of decorating? On average, that takes about 216 hours, according to polling company OnePoll, which created the survey. That’s nearly 10 days of heated discussion. And we have found a way to make each of those hours a moment to get upset with our partners over the minutiae of our shared living space.

Furniture retailers can breathe a sigh of relief: Only eight of the total 72 arguments the average couple will have setting up a new home take place in your store. Fifteen of those arguments will happen in the home the couple is trying to decorate. Another 10 of those tiffs will happen in front of friends or family members. Most of the rest will break out randomly and spontaneously in public spaces like parks, libraries or on the street—anywhere lovers might talk end tables.

But the thing is, furniture shopping provides many unique avenues for potential arguments: You can disagree about budgets and prices. Then there are differences in taste. All of this can leave you with a sinking feeling that you may be stuck, forever, living in an ugly home because of your partner’s love of cat photos and the color purple.

The poll began by asking after specific rooms. When you’re moving into a new space, what is your decorating priority?

The survey didn’t offer suggestions for couples, but it did offer some insight for retailers:

  • 42% of Americans responded they’ll always furnish the bedroom first.
  • 25% put their energy into furnishing the living room first.
  • 13% made the kitchen their top priority.
  • 76% of respondents attested to the bed being the item that made them feel most at home.
  • 71% rank a cozy sofa as their most coveted item.

When the survey asked about things like color and style, people had pretty clear-cut preferences. With colors, for example, the survey saw a strong preference for furniture to be neutral. The top three:

  • 31% of people like their furniture to be a strong, stately black.
  • 28% want something a little softer: a pretty gray.
  • 27% lean into clean, crisp whites.

When it comes to styling, Americans say:

  • 22.5% described their space as “contemporary.”
  • 20% said their decor style was “modern.”
  • 7.5% called their style “farmhouse.”
  • 21.5% said they didn’t know what they’d call their home style.