Transitional Furniture

Raise your hand if you’ve ever owned a Lack coffee table from Ikea. Keep your hand raised if your Lack coffee table was passed on to you from a friend, or found on the street, or bought for $10 on Craigslist, where you are bound to find pages and pages of Lack coffee tables for sale.

In the Washington Post, Jessica Contrera talks to Lack owners who’ve listed their tables on Craigslist. The tables were bought because they were functional, matched well with most types of furniture and could be bought for the bargain price of $20, which is less than what the table cost when it debuted in 1981. An Ikea spokesperson explains that the table is cheap because it’s made out of paper: “between layers of fiberboard, particleboard and glue is paper packing material, shaped in one-inch tall hexagons.”

And we seem to be fine with the idea of buying a table made out of paper to keep our magazines and television remotes on because, yes, they’re cheap, and because we know that the Lack table is a transitional piece of furniture — something we have in our living spaces until we’re ready to graduate to something sturdier; something we don’t mind abandoning on the street if we have to pick up and move to another city. The Lack table is like the utensils with plastic handles we buy because they’re cheap and work perfectly fine until the plastic inevitably snaps.

And for those of us who never graduate from the Lack? Well, there’s always Lack hacking.

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