Diagnosis: Furniture Attachment Disorder

It seems as though every day we hear of new psychiatric and medical diagnoses. Have you heard about this one? It’s called Furniture Attachment Disorder (FAD), and it can really mess you up!


I’ve worked with many clients over the years who have this disorder, and it can cause significant difficulties in their home life. It’s one thing to have a family heirloom that you truly love and that elicits good feelings and memories. I totally get that, and I have quite a few of those heirlooms in my own home. But it’s a whole other thing to keep gifts or heirlooms that you don’t love that hold you back from the vision you have for your home or hinder your other choices in a room.

I have struggled with this disorder for practically my whole life. Here’s an example: I have been sleeping in the same bed for 28 years. Yes, it’s a family piece. The bed is a beautiful cherry poster double bed (very similar to Davis Cabinet Company’s “Cumberland Valley,” but it’s actually a copy). The bed originally belonged to my father’s brother. He actually died from lung cancer in that very bed when I was a child. I didn’t have a relationship with this uncle, and my only attachment came from the fact that my father refinished it when I needed a bed when I moved into my first apartment in 1989.

the double bed I’ve slept in since 19 years old

So I started my independent existence in a one bedroom apartment with this bed. It moved around with me from place to place, from apartment to condo to first house to forever house. It’s a good bed. It’s even been photographed for a couple of magazinesI never ONCE in all those years even considered getting a new bed – I just assumed I would always sleep in this one, end of story. Did I mention it’s a DOUBLE BED?

But LIFE has been working therapy on me over the last few years, particularly this year. It’s been teaching me about LETTING GO. Letting go of things that I hold on for no good reason, that may even be to my detriment. I also began having difficulty sleeping through the night and began experiencing frequent doses of hot flashes (I’m not going to say the “m” word) – which began waking Mr. Man up through the night, as well. 

I began wishing that I could turn over or throw off the covers without waking up Mr. Man, that I could stretch out without kicking him or poking my feet through the spindles at the end of the bed. Wishing I had a nice soft spot to rest my head against when I was sitting up reading in bed. And I especially wished that the lovely bedposts that block our view of the TV at night would just DISAPPEAR – I even fantasized about cutting them off.

Then one day a couple of months ago, it hit me. Why, oh why, did I think I had to sleep in this bed for the rest of my life just because I have been for 28 years?? It’s not that I can’t afford it – that wasn’t even the issue. I had to ask myself: who is it going to hurt if I get a new bed? Why am I holding onto this?

And so I did it! I broke my chains! For Christmas, we bought a new bed. A fully upholstered bed. It’s big and it’s BEAUTIFUL!


the most beautiful, endulgent bed ever!


upholstered bed

Paxton Mint Linen Upholstered Bed


Now I have this amazing upholstered bed that doesn’t squeak when I move, gives Mr. Man and I plenty of room to stretch out, has a nice soft place to prop your head when you’re reading in bed, and provides perfect viewing for a Netflix binge.

king-size upholstered bed



Don’t worry, we didn’t get rid of the other bed. Instead, we stored it in our warehouse for one of our daughters IF (and only if) they want it when they grow up.

Do I feel guilty? Surprising, not at all. I’m glad I let it go.





Here are some tell-tale signs and symptoms of Furniture Attachment Disorder:

1. You become attached to furniture or decor in your home, even if you don’t like it.

2. You feel guilty getting rid of something given to you, even if it was many years ago.

3. You find yourself constantly working around that certain piece of furniture, letting it dictate everything else in the room.

4. You have difficulty getting rid of even an uncomfortable or useless piece of furniture.

5. You are unable to explain when asked why you keep a certain piece of furniture.

6. You ascribe an unrealistic value to a decor item, just because it is old.


Let me encourage you: if you allow yourself to detach yourself like I did, you’ll be surprised in the freedom you’ll find, especially when you replace it with something as wonderful as my new upholstered bed! And guess what? Because we had to switch to a king-size mattress, we were able to give ours (it is only 2 years old) to a sweet couple who have been sleeping on the same mattress for 20 years. Win-win!

Do you have any family heirlooms that hold you back? I’d be interested to hear your experience with Furniture Attachment Disorder in the comments below!

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21 thoughts on “Diagnosis: Furniture Attachment Disorder

  1. Elizabeth Scruggs says:

    Perfectly exquisite! It is truly stunning…..SO excited for you! I think you diagnosed something I *may* or *may not* have a problem, ahem…..issue with, myself. Beautiful work, once again….and I can almost hear the happiness and see the smile on your face as I read your words:)

  2. Natalie Kaman says:

    Great points! Reminds me the Mari Kondo Method:). As a stager, designer and wife of a “Collector/hoarder,” I run into this crazy logic for keeping things that don’t represent their owners quite often. The question, “Who will it hurt, if I get rid of this?” is very telling. Makes me glad that I’m a “pitcher:)”

    • Kristie Barnett says:


      Ah yes, there are 2 kinds of people: minimalists and collectors. And they tend to marry each other! My husband is the “pitcher,” as you say and I suppose I am just a little bit on the hoarder side . . . 😉

  3. Mary CC from Ca says:

    I love you and your articles Kristie Barnett ! My grandmother had a Jenny Lind bed which I adored. But you sweet lady get the award ! A double bed all of these years ! What a saint you and your dearest hubby are to put up sleeping so close to each other. I on the other hand, need to have more space, and have enjoyed a king for many years now. I know what attachment disorder is in psychology, and I love how you integrated this term into your current career ? You are truly brilliant with your wit !
    Your bedroom is lovely, and I love everything about it. Enjoy it !

    Small note * I bought white roses in a vase with resin, just like yours on the nightstand, at one of our favorite home stores…just keep those pretty roses out of direct sunlight. Mine turned a not so lovely antique white/yellow after sun exposure. I’m trying to figure out if I can paint the poor things white, or just toss them ?

  4. Mary CC from Ca says:

    I forgot to say…it is so nice to not have to worry about bed skirts or dust ruffles with the style of bed you bought ! Yes ?

  5. Tara says:

    Had to smile at the gorgeous lighting in your bedroom. That was something I finally had to give up and replace with (gasp!) a ceiling fan. Horrors! However, we both sleep much better now that I’m not burning up every night, throwing off and/or flapping the sheets, or jumping out of bed just to cool off. I assume some day my internal thermostat will re-regulate and we can return to something much more appealing.

  6. Dana Tucker says:

    Love, love, love!!! So happy to have been with you when you found the perfect nightstands 🙂 I would love to see a post on making a beautiful bed like this one with linens, pillows, etc.

  7. Lorrie says:

    Kristie–Beautiful job, as always! As a professional Home Stager/Decorator, I have witnessed the “FAD” phenomenon MANY times! You nailed the scenario perfectly. Homeowners thinking that they “have to” hold onto an item, even if that item inhibits them from achieving their ultimate design goal. I love the fact that YOU shared how long it took you to realize that you could retire your childhood bed. Sharing the fact that professionals also may experience FAD certainly demonstrates to homeowners the value added of bringing in non-biased/professional. SOMETIMES homeowners/decorators just need to be given permission to “let it go!” I’m glad you did!

  8. Kay says:

    Beautiful new bed. And it looks much prettier than the old one between the white wardrobes. We only went to a queen when replacing our double bed, because our bedroom is so small, but even that has made a tremendous difference.

  9. Beth Lester Designs says:

    I’m laughing because this is So true. I see it all the time. Love your new bed! We bought a new bed this year as well, but stuck with a queen because of the size of our room and the cost of a king in an adjustable bed is…….OUCH. Wishing we had made the switch to an adjustable bed before this last year+ of major surgeries and complications for both my husband and myself. It’s so nice to be comfortable when reading or watching TV in bed. Congratulations!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Wow, an adjustable bed? That would be cool – I was lucky that Mr. Man acquiesed to a slightly less firm model than he actually wanted. I need the cush. Because this bed was wider, we did have to find smaller nightstands for our armoires to still fit.

  10. Mary S says:

    Kristie, what a fun article! Love your new headboard, how do you like it? How is the quality? We upgraded to a king after 30 years with a queen, because my husband is so restless and noisy at night. That was last summer so I need a new headboard and footboard still, and like many of One King’s Lane styles. Yes, I like a cushy mattress too. Our FAD furniture is the worn out recliner…….. ugh, need I say more.

  11. loroy says:

    Your bedroom looks beautiful! I did the same a few years ago… got rid of my four-post high-frame queen bed. I really liked it and struggled with the decision to get rid of it. However, its height and size had become impractical, so when I updated the look of the room, I replaced it with a king upholstered headboard with sideboards. I got the low profile box spring so it doesn’t show beyond the sideboards and the mattress sits nice a low. I LOVE the clean look and extra room, and now I don’t have to take a tiny leap every time I get on the bed!

  12. Marilyn says:

    Love the story! I do like the new bed, and I believe you have the same white quilt that I do! But I did love the look of that gorgeous spindle bed, too….

  13. Mary D. says:

    Smiling as I type this…my hubby and I sleep in the double bed he had growing up….he’s 73….. It was always the guest bed in every house we lived in….now it’s our bed after a big downsize. We swore this year we will get a queen bed! Another symptom of Furniture Attachment Disorder is becoming upset when your adult child tells you that she got rid of Nana’s kitchen table…..she took it when she left for first job after college…..now she has 3 children!

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