She likes chintz curtains, he wants a leather sofa

After the "I do" comes the hard part: buying furniture. Most couples come to the marriage with detritus from their past lives - creaky chairs and clip lamps from college.

A survey by the American Furniture Manufacturers Association says that 28 percent of couples bought their first piece of furniture together before the wedding, while 32 percent bought furniture within six months of marriage. The AFMA survey found that 67 percent of newlyweds make furniture decisions jointly.

The trade group recommends, for starters, that couples focus on five main pieces:

* A comfy sofa to relax on.

* An entertainment center.

* China cabinet or bookcase (to display all those wedding presents!).

* Dining table for entertaining.

* Desk or workstation to get organized.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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