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When I was 24, I signed a lease for my very first apartment. Prior to then, I’d lived in a dingy college apartment with a handful of roommates — none of whom were willing or able to invest in anything that didn’t hail from Target’s Dorm Room Essentials Collection. It’s why, when the time came to move into my own place, I poured over pages and pages of couches from all the usual vendors 24-year olds turn to before settling on a cute little upholstered number from Wayfair. I scheduled the delivery for my move in date.
Fast forward to the big day, when the couch was delivered. It was everything I’d hoped for…save for the fact that it didn’t fit through the front door. I watched helplessly as the delivery men, and later my parents, maneuvered the couch every which way, but to no avail. “It’s not going to work,” I remember my mom yielding. I wound up with a $500 Ikea folding couch — one that came in an impossibly small box — instead.
Here’s the plot twist. Reader, I had that Ikea couch for eight years. Likely because I was trauma bonded to it, that couch survived three separate moves across two cities. While I’d graduated to some (slightly) bigger digs since that first apartment, I couldn’t bear the thought of another failed couch situation (and I obviously could not be bothered to measure a door frame).
It wasn’t until one night sitting on that couch with my two small dogs and comparatively bigger boyfriend that he (boyfriend) turned to me and said, “This isn’t working anymore.” He was, of course, talking about the couch that we’d outgrown years ago. I knew he was right and consequently began the mental gymnastics routine I’d long associated with getting a new couch.
It was an unnecessary expenditure of my emotions in the end. We were spared any and all potential snags, thanks to Expand Furniture — the brand made famous by Netflix’s Hack My Home. “A team of four design wizards dreams up space-maximizing solutions and ingenious engineering ideas to transform families’ homes in inventive way,” its Netflix description reads. It’s easy to see how Expand fits the bill, as smart, space-saving furniture is their whole thing.
For our part, we opted for the Stratus Sofa: Modern Modular Sectional Set of five. Being that it comes in module parts, it was extremely easy to get inside, and — because it can be easily adjusted by adding or removing parts — it allowed for no shortage of freedom when it came time to arrange it within the apartment, too. We even toyed with the idea of throwing one of the single chair pieces in our storage unit to save space but ultimately decided we would be glad for the additional seating room the next time we hosted.
Logistics aside, though, it’s also just a great couch. Comprising two single chairs, two corner pieces and an ottoman, it comes in an easy-to-care for Sky Grey fabric (important for aforementioned dogs!) with loose cushions. It’s modern, comfortable and unbelievably functional, especially for apartment living and the eventual familial expansion. (The one caveat is that, because it’s a modular, you do get a little bit of slippage. We have an area rug so it was less noticeable, but nothing these $12 non-slip furniture pads from Amazon couldn’t fix nevertheless.)
In fact, I was so blown away by Expand’s whole concept, we upgraded our coffee table, too (which, you guessed it, I’ve also had since my very first apartment!). Featured in many episodes of Hack My Home, the Cadence: Wood lift top table with a glass base features a functional lift top that, as the website notes, raises to 25 inches for dinner or working from the sofa (we admittedly don’t have a proper dining room table, so this is key) with an internal storage component below (also key, being that we have two closets and no other storage to speak of). It, too, is modern in design and in no way shape or form gives the illusion of being a play at efficiency like most space-saving furniture has a particular penchant for.
A few days after our new couch and coffee table were delivered, I left on a work trip to Australia. During the week I was gone, I exchanged more texts with my boyfriend about the couch than being on the literal opposite side of the globe — “I feel so fancy,” “Big couch,” “I can sleep on this thing, I love it,” and, crucially (to him), “If you laid on one end and stretched out, your feet would not touch me,” chief among them. I left the last of my near-decade long fear of new furniture there.
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