College Showcases New Common Space Furniture

UPDATED: Oct. 29, 2012, at 12:04 a.m.

On one side of the showroom is the ideal modern living space: two taupe-colored sofas surround a dark wooden coffee table and a television stand of the same stain. On the other side of the room, a vision of productivity: a desk with shelving units and a swivel chair for working.

This was not one of IKEA’s latest showrooms, but one of four rooms which were showcased Friday at the Student Organization Center at Hilles as part of the College’s House Renewal project.

Earlier this year, the College announced that it would purchase and provide common room furniture for all the Houses in order to eliminate the need for storage space and prevent future students from having to buy furniture each year. This year, students in New Quincy and in swing housing received new furniture like these models as part of the College’s ongoing renovation project.

The tour gave students the opportunity to vote on which rooms and pieces of furniture they liked the best, as the College plans to expand renovation efforts to Leverett next year and to Dunster in 2014.

Each house will receive common room furniture when it undergoes the renewal process. According to Assistant Dean of FAS Physical Resources Merle Bicknell, the House Renewal project will ensure that every student will have a common room space.

Once the College has narrowed down its choices of local New England vendors, it will place an order in January and test the new furniture in Quincy House in September.

Though few students attended Friday’s tour, the College showed the furniture options all week, inviting resident deans and members of the House Committees to attend. Bicknell said the College, when selecting these models, took into account students’ feedback on previous models, like with the mock-up they produced for Quincy earlier this year.

Since many students complained about the desk chairs in dorm rooms, the College will provide chairs that are more comfortable and can move, Bicknell said. The vendors provided several potential options on Friday.

The College is also considering whether to provide futons or sofas, dressers that could be disassembled and used as under-the-bed storage, wardrobes with mirrors included, and desks that have attached electrical outlets. Another option considered was the inclusion a Harvard crest on all the beds—which would be able to adjust for different heights.

Bicknell also said that the College will set aside a budget for replacing and cleaning furniture each year.

—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at melanieguzman@college.harvard.edu.

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