By: Olam HaMizronim
“Mazal Tov to a new Bayit Ne’eman B’Yisrael! And of course, much nachas to your parents!”
Every year, during wedding season, many young couples visit our store for a pre-wedding consultation and advice on how to furnish their new home. Young couples need to live near their places of study but there is an acute lack of adequate housing for sale, which has led to a steady rise in property prices especially in religious and ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods throughout Israel. Today, in contrast to a couple of years ago, the large majority of young couples can only afford to rent an apartment. The parents of these couples often walk into our store, clearly already overburdened with the yoke of paying for a wedding and supporting their children, while the young couple, on the very cusp of beginning a life together, sit beside their parents wearing rose-tinted glasses. Our job is to give them a reality check.
The best advice we and all the furniture professionals can give is to invest in good quality above all else. Healthy sleep and carefree years of enjoyment rest on the quality of the raw materials and workmanship (and siyata dishmaya, of course). Of course this doesn’t mean you need to break the bank, and if you plan to live in an apartment for a short three to four year period from the time of the wedding, here are some sound options for purchasing your first furniture. If you’ve beat the odds and you own your own apartment, these options are no less relevant!
- Sleep Quality – This is determined by the quality of your mattress and the ambience in the room. We recommend not investing in solid wood which is unnecessary, and not worth the risk of damage when moved. However, never underestimate the quality of a mattress and always invest in a good mattress from a good manufacturer with a good warranty. A good manufacturer is a brand that is at least well-known in the Israeli market, such as local brand Aminach, or high quality mattresses imported from the United States such as Sealy Posturepedic, Simmons or King Coil. We also recommend buying basic bed bases with internal storage for linen and other items, which will turn out to be a great space saver in those tiny rental apartments typically rented by young couples. We discourage customers from buying furniture to fit the dimensions of a particular room in a rental apartment or irregular or custom dimensions. Rather use common sense and purchase a standard size that will be able to fit any room, but wide and comfortable enough to serve your current needs and go the distance (at least 10-15 years).
- Beds and Bases – High-riser beds currently available on the market are practical because that they don’t take up space, can be moved easily from here to there, and serve as a neutral piece of furniture in any type of bedroom layout you might have now or in the future. Of course, their low price tag makes them worthwhile and cost-effective which can leave you with enough cash in your pocket to invest in good quality mattresses.
- Closets – If you own your apartment, we would recommend buying a closet made of plywood from a good manufacturer with a good warrantee, who can offer assemble-dismantle services and supply spare or replacement parts. But if you plan on living in a rental, our recommendation is to either buy a very cheap closet and know that this apartment will be its first and final resting place, or buy a good quality plywood closet that one day can be dismantled carefully and correctly and reassembled in your next home. We still maintain that you should not buy a closet to fit the specific dimensions of the rental apartment.
- Other Items of Furniture – Investing in dressers, chests-of-drawers or any other bedroom furniture is not recommended when moving into a rental apartment. Any time they move across a room, their sturdiness and quality are compromised and even if they’re good quality, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay in good shape if they’re transported or moved. In many cases, once a nail or screw comes undone, it will never hold the same.
Olam HaMizronim is always happy to provide you with more tips, advice or ideas. We’re watching not only your back, but your quality of life and pocket too.