Me and IKEA, It’s Complicated

By Kate Riley January 4, 2011

I’m helping a friend style a wall of family photographs, so naturally for picture frames, one goes to IKEA.  It takes me over an hour to get to the closest store, and I have to plan to spend at least half a day or more of my time on an IKEA excursion.  In winter, in the rain, it is a complete hassle, but with all those deals to be had, I make the trip twice a year.

IKEA and I have a complicated relationship.  Every time I pass one, I long to go in, and consider it complete torture to pass one on the freeway without stopping.  Once I’m in, I go through a series of emotions.  First, frustration at the miles of parking lots, tens of thousands of square footage to navigate, glaring florescent lights, and the disturbing feeling we’re all being herded like cattle.  Moooo.

Next, admiration when I remember IKEA has a professional daycare that greets you at the door.  Clearly, this is a store designed to trap you and your children inside for hours at at time.  That, or they’re just tired of cleaning up broken vases on Aisle 242. 

Then comes the anxiety that sets in trying to follow all those blue signs with all the arrows pointing you to go here or there.  It’s quite a disturbing labyrinth and it frightens me so. 

ikea store inside


Anxiety is always followed by hunger requiring that I get in the long line to wait to dine on their Swedish meatballs.  Once revived, I experience the delight of scoring some pretty good deals on some cheap goods.  

Last weekend, I made my semiannual trip.  When I arrived, it was daylight.  When I left, darkness had set in, but this is to be expected when one travels to IKEA.  I spent a few hours poking around, inspecting all the furniture, linens and fixtures and found some things I liked.  For fun, I created a few rooms with my favorite finds. 

natural and neutral


Stockholm curtains; Leran pendantKarlstad chair; Leatorp coffee table; Jonsbo table lamp; Hol side table; Stockholm Cirkel cushion/pillow. 


dark and dramatic room


Jorun rug; Knappa pendant; Vilmie curtains; Karit bedspread; Hemnes sidetable; Gilda throw; Ljusas lamp


fresh and floral

Bild poster; Maskros ceiling pendant; Alvine flora cushion; Ofelia throw; Ofelia duvet; Knubbig table lampLonsboda scented candleNojs alarm clock


What’s your relationship with IKEA?  Love it? Hate it?  Scored any great finds?  Do share. 




  1. Love IKEA and we live about 10 minutes from it (don’t hate me). It’s really nice that I can drop in to get little organizational things or cheap drinking glasses whenever we need them. As far as their furniture goes, I feel like you have to be careful to mix it up with other (not the kind from flat boxes) styles, or you end up with a college dorm look.

  2. I just made my semi yearly trip to Ikea last week. I took family from maine there. We had a good time and found lots of great stuff, including a great shelf to go above my office desk, but I ended up driving 45 minutes home with a horrible headache. I too have a love hate relationship with ikea.

  3. I was just there the other day. I figured I would go and check out the BIG sale, but I didn’t find anything. Good thing I live 15 mins away.

  4. This hits home for me because I always say I have a Love/Hate Relationship with IKEA. My closest store is a 3 1/2 hour drive, so I go twice a year & take my van with all the interior seats removed. My biggest beef with IKEA is that, by the time I’ve reached the warehouse/Self-Serve area with my crazy-long list of selections made throughout the day, I’m tired, it’s late, and I’m ready to be out of there. Instead, I struggle to push a full cart or two PLUS a flat bed and load insanely large, heavy boxes. Then, inevitably, box 2 or 3 of my “4-box item” is out of stock. One piece of a big-ticket selection is ALWAYS out of stock. And calling ahead to check stock is a feat in itself. Oh, and those ridiculous carts that steer like they are on ice!! :- ) But, I love the place enough that I continue to go twice a year & come home with a full van.

  5. It’s definitely love/hate. The first time I went, I was exhausted. When we finally found our way to the warehouse section, my whole body was trembling, hair frazzled, and stomach grumbling. However, I have found some good odds and ends. I think that’s the secret to Ikea. Find a few items and pair them with things from other stores. I don’t think I can handle an entire Ikea room. Right now, my favorite pieces are the ornate oval frame hanging above our mantle and the candle/light chandelier. It’s a great source of light for our small apartment and on special occasions we turn out the lights and light the candles. It’s great!

  6. I always yearn to go in, but I don’t drive so I have to find someone to take me, but my husband absolutely hates going to Ikea for many of the same reasons you mention.

    The place certainly is a great spot for frames. Also, I absolutely love IKEA fabric. Good quality, interesting prints, well priced.

  7. Ikea came to charlotte a little over a year ago and it was like Oprah and Billy Graham descended into the city…at the same time. I enjoy its concepts and designs. Im not fond of some of its furniture pieces. However, Ikea has successfully help me outfit my windows. I will be sharing that on my blog…so do stop by this week.

  8. I LOVE IKEA…read a post somewhere yesterday about it too. I consider this God’s sign to me that I should go on Saturday. ;) We have one about 45 minutes North, but they only let you stick you older kids (4 and up maybe??) for 25 minutes at a time. I make the best of those 25 minutes! Luckily, my kids like it there too. :)

    Can you believe I saw that gorgeous white coffee table at the Salvation Army last year and I didn’t bring it home with me?? What was I thinking?!

    I am really excited to go browse for myself. :) Love your picks, Kate!

  9. Used to love. Moving toward hate. I feel as though their prices have gone way up in the last few years, and the quality has not followed suit. Their stuff is always so recognizable, everyone ends up with the same things. Maybe I am just getting older, but i find myself preferring to buy one really good heirloom-quality item at a flea market or antique store instead of a van load of “meh, this will work.”

  10. I LOVE Ikea. I used to live 15 minutes away and it was so handy. There were many trips where I would just wander the showroom without buying anything, but just to get ideas. They are masters at getting the most out of the smallest space.

    I hear ya about their cattle corrals but now I know all the shorcuts so it doesn’t seem so bad.

    Now that I have a kid, I love it even more. When it is too hot/wet/cold to go outside, it’s great to take her there to hang for an hour or two. We have lunch, she plays in the lunch play area. We go to the kids area and she plays there a bit. I always end up chatting with other parents doing the same thing.

    Shoot, even if they didn’t have the play areas she would be happy to go and sit on every single couch and bed. And yes, I make she takes off her shoes before getting in the beds, and we make them up once she gets out.

    My one big beef – not everything is in the warehouse. I forgot to get children’s hangers once and by the time we were in the warehouse there was no way I was backtracking.

  11. i also have a love/hate relationship, since my closest store is about 3 hours away…. i try to make it at least once, if not twice a year. It’s definitely an adventure to say the least. And I really have to want/love something before I buy it, because there’s no way I’m driving all the way back to return it!!

  12. I love IKEA. It makes me long for a 452 sq ft. apartment that holds just me and maybe a cat. Then, reality sets in and my beeper from the daycare goes off and 2 of my 3 boys need to be picked up. Of course, this always happens before I even get to the actual Marketplace. So, I have to steer those darn carts with all 3 boys (who complain and/or lose all sense of manners and decorum) through the maze of departments to gather what seemed ABSOLUTELY necessary only moments before. By the checkout, my patience is shot, I’m in a full sweat and my boys want a snack…oh and they didn’t have the big item that I really wanted!

    It takes a little over an hour for me to get to an IKEA. It’s totally worth the drive. When I do score the big sale or get the room I want, I am in Nirvana. It’s the other stuff that makes that ride home feel a bit longer and a whole lot more questionable!

  13. I am sad to say I have never stepped foot in an Ikea. There is just not one near where I live. I would love to go some time as they seem to carry so many great and inexpensive finds.

  14. Well I love when I can go but I hate that we don’t have one! I need to travel about 4 hours to Minnesota, thats the closest one, boo hoo! Love the rooms you created!


  15. I’ve never been to Ikea, but I long to go. I can’t make myself order things online and pay the steep shipping charges. This makes me want to plan a trip to Dallas! Love the mood boards:)

  16. I definitely LOVE Ikea, but you have to prepare and know what you need ~ GO WITH A PLAN! Over the years, I’ve made many trips and scored awesome items, but it’s definitely overwhelming if you just go to ‘browse’. Sadly to say, I don’t live too close to an Ikea anymore, and definitely miss it. Thanks for sharing the great vignettes, Kate!

    ~Jenna, SAS Interiors

  17. I TOTALLY understand!!! When I had to drive to Emeryville for IKEA it wasn’t as much fun. Now there’s one in West Sacramento, so I can go everyday if I choose ;) It’s quite lovely, too. Not as crowded as Emeryville ;) Since I’m able to go frequently, I’ve got the store mapped out in my head – it certainly helps with the anxiety!!

  18. The first time I took my husband there he panicked a little when he realized it was built like a maze and kept asking where the dragon and troll were hiding.

    We have a regional store or some such about twenty minutes away. That’s IKEA’s way of saying our store doesn’t carry the full assortment of IKEA goods. But they do carry a good assortment of stuff, and we go every few months to pick up things.

    I always like seeing the new displays, and the kitchen section has become my favorite since I used their kitchen planner to redesign our kitchen, so I now drool every time I’m there wondering when we will get around to a remodel.

  19. I love Ikea!! I especially love their TV ad where the wife is yelling at her husband (who is waiting in the car reading a newspaper) “Start the car!!! Start the car!!!” when she thinks that her bill has been undercalculated. Has anybody seen that ad?

  20. Our local IKEA is kind of meh — but not for long! Construction is underway to make it bigger and better. When completed, it’ll be the largest in IKEA in Canada, so I’m planning to get lost in there at least a few times a year. Can’t wait. The online fabric offerings are kind of fun.

  21. I’m a new reader but I had to post on this! I love IKEA I used to live right down the road from it and was in heaven. Now? I live 3+ hours away from one and haven’t been to it in years. Just looking at the pictures you posted makes me want to take a day trip up just for IKEA!!!!

  22. I totally agree with you CG! If I didn’t have kids and could leisurely spend a day on the trip (1 hour from my house) I wouldn’t mind so much. The day care at our IKEA only takes the kids for 30 minutes, and there is always a wait to get in, so its kind of pointless. The other big problem is that many times I find myself having to return something. But the deals, the things that you can find there, oh my! Yum.

  23. I love IKEA now even though, years ago, I hated it and my husband and I had our big fight over our remodel in an IKEA. Note: I am sitting on the sofa he “hated” right now, LOL. I love the prices, the varied styles, and I especially love slipcovers that you can wash for a sofa (we have the Ektorp 3 seater and I am planning a spring purchase of the new Ektorp w/built in chaise).

    I am not a huge fan of modern so some of their designs leave me cold, but I love the layouts and how they mix styles. It’s very inspirational.

    I am planning a photo project right now, so I will definitely be making an IKEA trip soon. It doesn’t hurt that it is only about a 20 minute drive. :)

  24. I’m lucky that Ikea is a quick 25 min drive for me, so I love it. Ours isn’t that crazy either. I can even say I’m starting to learn my way around atleast were all the hidden short cuts are. I only wander around the upstairs every so often usually I just go right for the main floor to get what I need.

    I usually go with a planned shopping list. Then I figure in $40 for the random stuff I find that I really don’t need. Ikea is like a dollar store for adults. I always check online if the big items are in stock. Oh and the clearance room is one of the best areas. Once I scored the tall skinny Malm dresser all put together for cheap. Once I met a guy in there that had completely remodeled his house based on what he found in the clearance room.

    I think the best trip I had is when I redid my son’s bedroom. Minus the can of paint, everything was from Ikea and the total cost was under $500. That included a new bed, dresser, nightstand, shades, linens, etc. It was really planned out. Probably because I was pregnant, had my hubby with me and knew I was not spending any more time in that store than I had to.

    Love the room looks! Ugh giving me ideas!

  25. I love IKEA. Marketing at it’s finest. You just can not leave without buying something. I do, however, have minor panic attacks with the maze and wonder sometimes if I should drop crumbs to find my way out. I guess that’s a small price to pay.

  26. Hi Kate, Yes, IKEA, it’s a love/hate thing. Thankfully mostly love. Ours is about an hour away in another country (Canada) and so we’re faced with not buying too much or we get pulled over at the border! Add that to the complicated trip!

    I find it helpful to memorize the catalog, then I know what to expect, somewhat. Love the neutral board you created up there. Did you get some things for your home? Can’t wait to see.

  27. I was at IKEA this weekend too!! Our trip was a spontaneous one. (Not recommended). I have all of the same frustrations that you do about the store, but I find that my heart beats just a little faster as I’m pulling in the parking lot. Possibly out of anxiety, but I like to think that its the excitement of finding the perfect deal.

    I find that my most successful trips to IKEA are after I pour over the catalogue and get a better idea of what I’m looking for. Otherwise the store is too overwhelming for me.

  28. I’m with you…my Ikea is about 45 minutes away, love many of the finds, but careful to stay away from others. (that won’t stand the test of time, even a few minutes!) I did Max’s room with many items from Ikea and really happy. Love their rugs!

  29. I love Ikea, and my husband is thrilled that it’s an hour drive in heavy traffic which does deter my going very often! I start out with a plan, but once I enter the doors and I’m sucked into the various room displays I become totally disoriented and wander around for hours.

  30. Like most things in life, IKEA is good in moderation. My poor husband gets claustrophobic in IKEA after a while and wants to go sit in the car (he’s like that in Walmart too)!

  31. I have an IKEA about 10 minutes away. Yeah, it’s a bit too convenient and my wallet frequently suffers! With it so close, I am definitely not above using the free children’s play area to have an hours worth of quiet. I always bring a book in case I finish shopping early to get my full hours worth of peace.

  32. I love that feminine room you put together! I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. There’s one about 30 min from me, but it’s out of the way and a hassle to get to. I enter the place with all these grand ideas of what I want to buy in the Marketplace, but once I’m there I’m often disappointed with the quality and need to assemble every darn thing in the place, and don’t leave with very much. I bought a cute alarm clock there for our guest room and the hands moved backwards. :(

  33. Im probably the only one commenting who has never had the pleasure of shopping at an Ikea Store. However, I have a running shopping list and am shooting for a goal to make it there sometime this year. The nearest one to us is literally over 4 hours away…terrible! Im calling it Ikea’s fault ,not mine,that Ive never been to one. They need to branch out:)

  34. I agree totally with you. My problem is that it looks good on the website and in the store but I never get the same effect when I get it home. I also go crazy trying to figure out all the parts to build what I want.

  35. We have a good relationship with Ikea. We’re lucky to have one a few miles from our house so stopping in is like going to Target. I always wondered around aimlessly but my wife is a pro! She knows all these secret passages and can get in, go to any section, and get out in a matter of minutes. I think she should set up a rescue service where list shoppers can call and she’ll escort them safely to the exit :)

  36. I live exactly one hour and 15 minutes from IKEA Pittsburgh-I love when folks fly into Pburgh-cuz IKEA is right next door! I laughed at your post, because those curtains in your white presentation are destined for my guest bedroom-in a gray, beige, blue sort of way! I’ll be making the pilgrimage this week or next-depending on the snow.

  37. I spent a week at Ikea one day with some relatives who could not agree on what to purchase because of the myriad of choices!

    Now I relish going alone and savoring all the turns and twists as they come…

  38. The hubs and I have an IKEA date scheduled for Saturday without the kiddos. Our closest one is about two hours away, so we don’t make it too often, but boy oh boy are we excited when we go.

    I love IKEA, but I am definitely tired and crabby by the time we get to the checkout. It’s worth it for the fabric and lighting for me, plus it’s great for kids’ room furniture!

  39. I have an IKEA about 30 minutes away, so it is easy for me to make trips there. I used to go frequently, but now only about once every 2 months or so. Luckily, I can go at 9:30, grab some breakfast, and shop by 10 when they open, so I never park far away or wait in long lines. I never go unless it is in the morning – that’s craziness! I have a lot of IKEA stuff – armchairs, dining chairs, Billy bookcases, wicker stuff, outdoor table and chairs – and I have found that, when people come over, I hear “hey, that’s from IKEA!”. Not a fan of that. I don’t want my home to look like an IKEA catalog, so I don’t buy furniture from there anymore. But I think it’s great for someone just starting out or getting the decor or frames – all my frames are IKEA.


  40. This article is too true! In the Chicago area we have 2 IKEAs… spoiled I know. But each one is very different in the layout. The far one from me is one level and very much the maze you depicted. The one I use is right outside my office window. I see it daily. And I go there probably 2x a month to just walk around and browse (it’s 3 levels high). They recently changed it around a bit and seeing departments is a bit more challenging than before too (new large walls that block the view). But in general I do love Ikea for the low cost, good quality and good selection. I do feel the same as other posters that by the time you get to check out you just want to go. They trap you in line forever- even in the self check out. But I would have to say my #1 complaint about them is how you have to bring your car back to the buidling to get large items. The lot is huge- so bascially you have to run and hurry to get it while leaving your newly purchased items on a dock right by other open and ready to drive away cars? It is fine if you shop with a friend but if you are alone- yikes. I can say I like that you can walk and burn off the calories of the fabulous Swedish meatballs- yum!

  41. Sigh. Ikea. I live in South Louisiana, so my options are either to drive to Houston (4.5 hours) or Atlanta (8.5 hours). Oh lucky me. -_- Obviously, I choose Houston. I have to admire their intelligent marketing, but I find their method of FORCING you to go to the store incredibly obnoxious. “Oh, most small items that people would be likely to order are not available on the website. You’ll have to go to the store. Oh, you can by this piece of furniture online but, even though it’s boxed and shipped flat, the shipping will cost you more than the item itself. Maybe you should go to the store!” As much as I like some of their items and price points (of some, not all), I go only when I’ve run out of other options. For example, when I needed a freestanding kitchen island, Ikea’s Stenstorp was the only thing I could find that looked decent, was a nice size, and cost less than $1000.

  42. Ugh, I feel the EXACT same way!! I felt myself becoming snarky a few weeks ago in the self-checkout line (who thinks that is a good idea in a store where they sell FURNITURE for pete’s sake?!?) and I had to take a breath – but this place does that to you! Still, I can’t seem to stay away . . . :)

  43. As a newly wed and new graduate I like Ikea because it’s what I can afford. This summer we needed bookshelves. I’ve done the $30 ones from Target but they never last a move and I’ve had them fall over on me too. Ikea was the solution – decent, inexpensive bookshelves. Of course I’d like to buy nicer things, but when you’re first starting out that usually isn’t possible.

  44. I always have to make sure I’m well fed before I go, or I get super cranky! I don’t mind going on a weekday when it’s not soo crowded — hubby would rather watch paint dry than go :). I live about 20 minutes from one and only go about one a year!

  45. Its really funny because the first time I went I hated it and I had no idea what people saw in the place. Now, I just adore it!!! Haha! Crazy, right?

  46. Alas, I live in an IKEA dead zone. I remember seeing one in California a very long time ago before it had become a nationwide household name. I was tagging along with my husband on a business trip, which meant I had HOURS and HOURS to kill by myself while he was working. Dang it, I should have gone in! The closest IKEA to us is over 10 hours away. Waaaa!

  47. Ikea is fantastic for accessories and for great fabric! I think if you stick with their more classically designed furniture, their furniture can be timeless. I have one near so I know how to get in and out quickly, my only problem is the traffic getting there. If there is no traffic I am there in 15 min, in traffic, 45 min!

  48. I like some of the great deals you can get at IKEA, but our nearest is 12 hours away, so I only go when I visit my family in Minnesota. To make my shopping quicker, I usually avoid the upper level entirely and go straight to the goods.

  49. Very mixed feelings. When I lived in London, Ikea was an hour away (as it is for you) and therefore, a serious, strategic outing. Now, I’m much luckier, and I can get there in 20 minutes, which makes it easier to stop by quickly and not get totally overwhelmed. But despite frequent visits, I still make some howling Ikea mistakes. I wrote about those here: So You Think You’re an Ikea Expert?.

  50. My feelings are similar to yours – – I feel drawn to it and pretty much hate it once I’m there. They do have some good finds, but I feel like Ikea is missing any kind of warmth in its stores. Your herd of cattle comment is right on point for me. That being said, I feel sad when I pass an Ikea and we can’t stop. There’s something about the “hunt” once you’re there that appeals to me.

  51. Oh, IKEA. I mostly try to stay away. I love that everything there is incredibley inexpensive, but I’m always disappointed that it’s such cheap quality. It’s great for odds and ends and transitional/rotational pieces, but that’s where I draw the line.

  52. I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. When we lived in France, we left all of our furniture in the US so to furnish our house both stylishly and inexpensively with all the basics, I made numerous trips to Ikea on a weekly basis for months. I have an entire box full of allen keys, I knew the store like the back of my hand so I could ignore all the little blue arrows and cut through to the departments I needed. I swore I would NEVER go into another Ikea as long as I lived! Now that we’re back in the States, I go about 2-3 times a year to get great deals on curtain panels and for the Lingonberry Juice!

  53. i have an ikea 10 minutes from me and it really has some great finds. you just have to imagine the items outside of the unpleasant wharehouse. they always look so much better in your house!

  54. Fortunately for me, the IKEA here is a 30 minute drive away! I have found if I go during the week, and early in the day, I can breeze through in no time!! We’ve found a lot of great pieces there. It especially came in handy when furnishing our daughter’s apartment this past summer!!

  55. I miss IKEA. Back in the day when I was living in Amsterdam, IKEA was just a stone throw away. Now I have to travel to another state to go shopping. So far, I have not made the effort. My time off much to valueable to take a vacation for IKEA. Alas…

  56. My husband and i went on Sunday. I completely agree with the love/hate relationship. We promised ourselves we weren’t going to walk the entire store…but we ended up doing just that! But at least we got the desks and lamps we wanted!

  57. LOVE IT. There are actually two locations within an hour of me, so I go there every couple of months or so. Our coffee table and end tables are from there, as is the desk and one of the dressers. Plus we have a score of picture frames and various kitchen items. I don’t even mind walking through the labyrinth every time. It’s like an adventure!

  58. Your account of IKEA is amusing. I just moved to a neighborhood that has an IKEA about 15 minutes away. I used to hate it, because I once had some bookshelves from there that fell apart quickly, and I thought the quality of everything was like that, but on my latest trip, I saw that things have much improved. I thought they had some nice looking couches, and accessories, that are mercifully reasonably priced. I’m going to need a lot of furniture soon. I also think it’s great for dishware.

  59. I have a love relationship with Ikea and my husband has a hate relationship with it. Lucky ours is only 10 minutes away so I go by myself or with a friend. I love the deals and I know how to navigate so I usually just go right where I need to. We find we have various friends that come from out of town though to visit us and once at our house the female half of the couple usually asks if I want to go to ikea – my husband always sighs – he knows we’ll be gone half a day.

  60. Count your blessings that you’re that close to an IKEA. I used to live within an hour of two, now the closest is probably eight hours away. I miss it terribly.

  61. I just went last week and was very disappointed, it seems they were ONLY out of every single thing I wanted. But planning a trip next week to see if they’ve restocked!

  62. I wear comfy shoes and prepare for my hips to go out. Those buggies that sway any which way are very hard on me.

    I also find as much as it’s fun to go, most things are not my own personal style. But you can make most things work to any given style, it just takes a little creativity.

    And I always spend too much when going. It is what it is.

    I have not made the trip out in quite some time. Ours is an hour away too thank goodness!! :) I know a thrift is more to my own personal liking so I convince myself that everytime I get the urge to Ikea snoop again.

    BUT they do have a wall unit I desire for my work office that can’t be found anywhere else. So only then do I know it’s somewhat safe to go. :)


  63. Our IKEA is only about 20 minutes away and well… needless to say we go OFTEN!
    Once I learned to NOT head upstairs to the “display” area… I was golden :)
    It’s all about the “market area”. That’s where you can find everything!
    The displays and rooms are great if you need to see the furniture or get ideas, but other then that, the market place is the way to go!
    Sadly, I pretty much know my ikea like the back of my hand. ha! In fact Cason and I ran in last night to get napkins, small decorative bowls, pillow inserts, and glasses. And we were out in about 20 minutes!
    I have to say that I ALWAYS get sucked into staying longer then I should though, when I don’t have a “purpose” because I tend to just brows around!
    I recently bought their large zebra print for our hallway to try and “modernize” our space a bit.
    I’m LOVING it! Paired with my discount Pottery Barn mirror! It makes the perfect statement in our small hallway.
    Alone… it looked quite stark. But with a few accessories, it’s quickly becoming my favorite space!
    I’m going to post on it really soon, so all can see!
    As far as the pillow inserts though, I get the feather filled ones, and they are AWESOME! And “el cheapo!” :)
    THAT’S why I LOVE ikea! I’m waiting to buy the cute scalloped white dishes when they come in next! But they are always gone at my store :( Ours goes through inventory REALLY quickly.

    WOW… this is a journal entry! ha!
    I love your inspiration style boards. I think that people normally get overwhelmed by the “modern” style of ikea, but they really have such great things that can work with ANYONES taste!

    ~Shelley Smith

  64. We have our very first IKEA opening here (Denver, CO) in Fall 2011! I’ve never been to one but hear so much about the great values and obviously see a lot of their pieces used by bloggers so I’m really excited to check it out. However, reading these comments makes me a little nervous. So far I know to wear my sneakers, set aside half a day, and bring a snack.

  65. I love IKEA! But, the minute I set foot inside I get super tired, a little overwhelmed and end up looking for way too long and buying very little. But I keep going back. I don’t understand it :)

  66. I too have a love/hate relationship with Ikea…it takes me about 2 hours to get to one, and probably 6 to go through and look at everything. I always end up with wonderful deals…just usually forget the one thing I went for…that was on my list! So much inspiration makes it hard to focus sometimes! I do love that store though…more than the hate!

  67. Its great for when you want a specfic thing and budget in mind and lo and behold IKEA comes to your rescue!

    The actual trip to the store involves fully researching items of interest before we go, then listing the name and all the details. It helps the anxiety when there. Sometimes we follow the blue arrows, mostly I’m like a hunter/gatherer and just follow my senses once I get in there grabbing what catches my eye AND then also what we came for.

    Ours is about 45 mins away… I wish they opened alot earlier too… we’re early birds and it would be handy in missing the crowd. I will say we’ve gotten damaged items (in the box) and begrudgingly live with it because with 2 toddlers and the hour and 1/2 round trip of driving that we JUST did, doesn’t make it worth it. THAT is my biggest beef with the place!!

  68. I love Ikea! WE live {yes, really} THREE blocks away! I can pop in and out nearly anytime and have dinner/date or just hang out on my own. I love their organizing stuff the most! Cheap and fun!

  69. I grew up here in San Diego and my mom would take me with her on the annual IKEA trip that was 90 minutes away. There was no other store like it :)
    Now an IKEA is here and I started taking my kids when they got older and they love it, but we rarely go. When the catalog comes out we each comb through it and there inevitably is that ONE thing we can’t live without.
    My advice is not to take someone else there unless you know for sure they really like that store, eat first, and plan to stay all day.

  70. I’ve never been to IKEA! I’ve always wanted to go, but the nearest is many hours away…but let’s keep it real…I really avoid going there because I know I’ll have to remortgage my house to afford their bounty of greatness. :)

  71. So I actually worked part time at an Ikea store during college and I can tell you that you aren’t the only person to get easily confused and anxious about a trip there. I spent a good portion of my time helping people find what they were in search of and them directing them through short cuts to escape the madness. This was in between time spent organizing and restocking cookware, dinnerware and deocrative items. It was a fun experience though as they treat their employees very well. I’m fortunate to have two Ikeas within half an hour of where I live now and still enjoy a nice wander through from time to time. Watch out for their “annual sale” though. If you hate crowds stay away. I was once berated by a customer because every shopping cart in the store was being used. Eep!

  72. There’s this Nancy White song called “Everything Turns to Ratsh*t (In My Life)”, about her ongoing struggle with IKEA. I feel the same way – a definite love-hate relationship…

  73. I live within 20 minutes of not one, but TWO Ikea stores! TWO! One is less than 10 minutes to the south, and the other is 20 minutes to the north. I LOVE IT! Indy loves it too. If it’s raining out, or just bad weather, he’ll say “Mom, I think we need to go to Ikea. You need a break.” Cause it’s all about me. It has nothing to do with the meatballs or the play place. We go there so often, they know him by name. We know both our Ikea stores top to bottom and front to back.

  74. We live 3 hours from our nearest IKEA, so my husband has learned to groan at the sight of one. I have to plot out my purchases in advance, and try to limit the showroom time, just to keep him from glaring at me!

  75. I live about 10 minutes away from an Ikea here in Connecticut, and if there is one thing I’ve learned its to AVOID walking through the displays if I go there with a set mind on what I need. Our Ikea has an upstairs for the display area and a downstairs for the warehouse. I found an entrance to just the warehouse, AND have learned their shortcuts to get to the checkout easier! Also, my job as a visiting nurse allows me some time in between my patients so if I’m having a really good day I try to go when its just opening! I used to hate Ikea, but now I actually enjoy the trip!

  76. I havn’t been to an Ikea yet!! =( The closest one is about 4 1/2 hours away (I live in Upstate NY), but it is on my list of things to do for 2011. A weekend road trip w/ the husband, he just doesn’t know it yet! =)

  77. I live about an hour and a half away from IKEA. My goal in 2011 is to hit up IKEA and do the accessorizing my house needs.

  78. Oooh! I LOOOOOVE Ikea! When we were pregnant with our first child, I was extremely emotional and anxious because we had NO baby furniture, and since our families are not very “well-to-do” we didn’t exactly get the significant items we needed (i.e. a crib, a dresser, any kind of bedding). But thanks to Ikea, we were able to completely furnish our nursery for $180! Now we have two kids who share a room, and they are still sharing the original furniture we bought there. Of course, they’re not sharing a crib, we HAD to go back to Ikea and get the adorable bunk bed with a tent-cover for the top bunk, and a hang-out quiet spot below. No other bunk-bed would do as far as I was concerned.

    I will say that going to the store with the kids is kinda a nightmare. I’ve never tried putting them in the nursery because they always come out of any kind of nursery with some nasty cold virus. So we never get to casually meander down the aisles, stopping and lounging as we please. It’s always, get in, get the stuff we came for, and GET OUT!!!

  79. 87 responses already – you must being doing something right!! I have enjoyed your blog for sometime now, thanks for such great posts.

    As far as Ikea, same over an hour drive, my Mom’s beach house – Ikea, our basement – Ikea, and now I am in the final planning stages of redoing my 10 year old daughter’s bedroom – and we will be heading to Ikea before the end of the month.

    You are right though, it is a whole day excursion, but I am no sure about the meatballs, maybe I got them on a bad day!

    Take care,

  80. I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. I work 2 blocks away from our local store, and while its nice to be right next door if I need anything, the thought of parking and navigating my way to the one part of the store that I need to go to is enough to make me keep driving past it, and telling myself I will go another day. The plus side is that since I am so close, I can go on a weekday when there isn’t as many people.

  81. LOVE Ikea!! Kids love it too! I’m curious about your thoughts on their announcement today that they are ahead of the curve and no longer selling incandescent lightbulbs. I’m not a fan of the look of the alternatives…

  82. Unfortunately I never find anything worth buying. My husband is 6’6″ which means Ikea furniture is out of the picture. Everything is miniature – just like pottery barn. The cheap lighting doesn’t appeal to me either. It’s good for small accessories once and awhile.

  83. I have never been to an IKEA, just looked online and at their catalog. I live 6 hours away from one, always on vacation I am hopeful we are in the vicinity of one but alas, never.

  84. What a funny post! I actually like going to Ikea over here in NY … it is a nice boat ride (ferry from Manhattan to Brooklyn) to the store, and I make it a rule of mine to ONLY go during the weekdays …. no crowds, can zip through the aisle in ease, and even the workers are nicer! Plus … I think I may be addicted to their $1 cinnamon buns (yuuummmm!).

  85. Hi there

    Happy New Year!

    Loved reading this post and we loved discovering your blog!

    It’s complicated about sums up our sentiments too, to this Swedish maze (we loved the cartoon)! One half of SisterBatik, secretly gains alot of satisfaction from having put together many of their cabinets/ beds sinngle-handedly.

    We are both home decor lovers and create pillows – loving to fill spaces with our snuggly, ecclectic and dreamy pillows. We would love you to visit and check out what we make.

    With warm wishes


  86. Ok, confession. Next week is my 30th birthday. My husband wanted to do something fun for it, so what are we doing? Going to my very first Ikea in Salt Lake City. It’s a 5.5 hour drive (we’re staying for the whole weekend, don’t worry, we’re skiing too). All for a darn Ikea. And I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I’m so excited!

  87. I LVE IKEA! The one by us is not too far, only about 40 minutes from one house, 20 minutes from the other. And I know the best time to go, during the week, early in the morning. By the time I am done, it’s usually around lunch time so I have my Ikea lunch then off somewhere else I go.

    I’ve gotten the local store down to a science. I know where the shortcuts are. I know how to get help the fastest. I enjoy my trip there, knowing it could be hours of me browsing. I don’t think Ikea is worth a brief 5 minute stay, it’s an experience, an event, an adventure is retailology. Everyone must do it at least once. But I do understand the frustration and anxiety. It can be overbearing.

  88. Fresh & Floral – LOVE that pink glass vase! Dang it. Now I have to go to Ikea! I’m near SLC and it’s just under an hour (in good traffic) to get my Ikea fix. I ♥ Ikea. I always have. My bedroom growing up was all from that sweet little Swedish store, and I think 80% of my home is the same way now. In fact, when my now-husband and I were dating I said that I would be happy living in Utah as long as there was an Ikea and Disneyland. Being a Southern Californian, I just couldn’t imagine living in a place without either. We got engaged after they built an Ikea…ha!

  89. I love these collections you have put together, especially the first! Those curtains would be so great in my apartment, but unfortunately my IKEA in Tampa is strangely picky about what textiles they carry :( My biggest problem with IKEA is I tend to get overwhelmed, so it’s nice to see an edited collection for inspiration!

  90. I went to IKEA last weekend as well! I wish I had run in to you, though since I’m on the opposite coast, the odds were pretty darn slim. (My IKEA is 90 minutes away.)

    I have to say that I completely agree with your assessment of the IKEA experience. I always end up feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, covetous, hungry, bovine (herded like cattle!), anxious, and excited.

    I loved all the funky white light fixtures and those drapes you showcased in mood board #1 above. And I brought a Knubbig table lamp home with me. Alas, one of the two things for which I specifically made the trip (White Lack shelving a la John & Sherry of was OUT OF STOCK – I didn’t know that ever happened there. My boyfriend encountered the same problem with the cabinet lights he wanted. Alas, this means we must return in a few weeks…which will conveniently be right around my birthday. Yee-hah!

  91. I totally dig IKEA. I’d never been to one before until a couple years ago when they built one near my house. Seriously near. Several miles away, but we can get there in a couple minutes. The girls and I go every month or so. In fact, we’re headed there tomorrow for free lunch for the kiddos :) I enjoyed your product groupings! Great inspiration :)

  92. I definitely need to head to the Ikea near me. I rarely go because of my kids. That place is way to big to let them run a muck! I love the neutral room!
    Lila Ferraro

  93. I had my maiden voyage to an IKEA just after we moved to Minneapolis this fall! We reside just 20-30 minutes away from the Mall of America and Ikea is planted ever so conveniently just across the street. I could even take the light rail there from our down town home.

    I was a bit taken aback by the ‘hearding’ method as well – but with all the eye candy to obsorb they won me over. ;)

    love your room creations – my favorite is the fresh and floral – that light fixture is so amazing in real life, isn’t it??


  94. I L-O-V-E Ikea. The closest one is almost 2 hours away, so like you, I have to plan an entire day for the outing. And I don’t mind one bit. There is something about those arrows that botherates me, but I fight back by wandering around aimlessly, completely at random. That explains why I put the same thing in my basket 3 times, hmmm…. Oh well, Ikea and I are a match made in heaven. They make great stuff for those of us with tiny houses, and I can’t get enough of those swedish meatballs, and the loganberry fizzy drinks!

  95. I have to start off by saying, one of my readers sent me this article. I had blogged about my Office/Playroom makeover and my lack of curtains. She suggested Ikea – and it sounds like my kind of store.

    I’ve checked it out online and I’m making it my goal to find an Ikea this year. I’m going to find an Ikea store and shop my little heart out. I may never leave. Ever.

  96. I’ve only gotten to experience the awesomeness of IKEA once – when I was visiting New York. The closest one is 5 and a half hours away!!!!!! I love everything about IKEA.. *sigh…

  97. I totally agree. Ours is only 30 minutes away, but couple Ikea with its next door neighbor, Lowe’s, and the time commitment is more than I can handle usually. After envisioning the trip for months, I usually end up buying one measly little thing. I guess I am just not a shopper. But it is fun in there!

  98. I really like Ikea, but have to be careful there. Some things are made very well, others not so much. I’ve had not great luck with things like put-together desks and things made mostly of particle board. On the other hand, we had a Klippan loveseat that outlived our Jennifer Sofa and Wickes sofa by years. I love their textiles and curtains too. Frames and floor lamps…Well, I’ve had some fall apart too easily. Maybe I’m rough. Or, maybe I am spoiled. I have an Ikea right here in town. ;)

  99. I love IKEA for cheap bed linens… You can get a duvet cover for like $30-$50… I hate when there are 30 choices and none of them are ‘right’ for me though… frustrating!

  100. I’m a brand new reader (as of yesterday, thanks to Jen at iheartorganizing!) but I have to say I was instantly addicted for many reasons: your love of spray paint, your style, and ideas, and your name (I’ve always loved Kate!). You make me lol! =) I’m headed to Ikea this weekend and my first trip to Home Goods as well! =) I think shopping online and knowing what you want always helps at ikea…..though the cattle hearding method does confuse me. What to do when you want to wander away from the safety of the blue arrows?

  101. IKEA is just too darn cheap and convenient for me to avoid. I love it despite the fact that many frown upon it. I find it a personal challenge to find things there that don’t look too “IKEA.” Admittedly, I look forward to every trip there, and I have been fortunate enough to have 1 or 2 IKEAs in each of the two cities I’ve lived in. Nearly every IKEA venture (usually 3 or 4 times a year or more) begins with a $1 vanilla cone and ends with me excited to go home to assemble my new furniture!

  102. I have a love/hate relationship with IKEA. I love many of their items, but I hate when I drive out there (after checking the website) to find that what I was going for in not in stock… I also hate going on weekends. Have you ever been on the weekends? GIrl, a mess! Especially when you have kids with you.

  103. Love Ikea! Hate the 7.5 hour drive (each way, for 15 hours total) to any of the 3 “nearest” locations. Rrrr.

  104. Love/hate here as well. I lack the creativity to use their simple items… uh, creatively. I have to be careful my house doesn’t start turning into a college dorm/Ikea store. But it’s made for some good date nights- when I was closing on my house, my bf and I would stroll around looking at kitchen remodel ideas, then skip the cafeteria but load up on six cinnamon rolls. Sounds like a date to me!

  105. I *heart* Ikea! I wish we had one an hour or two, heck even a 4 hour drive would be better then it being in a completly different province/state!! Every time we visit FL I make my hubby go to one.

  106. I LOVE Ikea! A little too much, really. Good thing it’s a 2 hour drive. Otherwise, I’d be in big trouble. :)

  107. Not a fan. I’ve not been in one in forever and only remember the “cheap-put-it-together-yourself dorm-looking furniture”. I live within 20 minutes of a massive IKEA. It’s been here about 20 years. I’ve been in it maybe twice and can’t even remember the last time I stepped foot through the doors except for the fact I had a panic attack because I got lost and couldn’t find my way out. The end. :)

  108. I go to IKEA about 4-5 times a year, perhaps more. It’s on the outskirts of my city (Edmonton, AB, CANADA) but at least it’s in the same city that I live in, unlike a lot of people who commute to shop there. I go there often enough that I know the floor plan and where all the sly hidden doors are that skip the “herding” method. But, the first time I went, I was disgusted by it.

    I also go in backwards. I go past the checkout right to the As Is section and browse there first, then I go to the actually shopping area. This way, I get to score any amazing deals right off the bat, instead of finding out what I love is in the As Is section after picking it out. Plus, the As Is is my favorite area in every furniture store.

    My main gripe with IKEA (other then the herding feeling) is that their couches and chairs are too small/low. I know this is done because less material is used to make them that way but I am a 6 foot tall woman. I feel like I am sitting on kiddie furniture when I try out their couches. My goal is to find items I can make my own and that not every other friend is going to have in their house.

  109. I LOVE Ikea!!! And now so does my hubby. He’s never been & he thought going to the nearest IKEA, a 2 hour drive, on New Year’s Eve Day was just the thing.
    He was overwhelmed at first, but is not looking for excuses to make a trip back there sooner rather than later. I’m not arguing with him…….I’m ready any time!
    We spent a little bit for a whole lotta – trinkets, towel bars, rugs, candles, and on & on………

  110. I love Ikea, I would always make my husband take me when we visited So. Cal. And then we moved to Denver, even further (we lived in Vegas), until they announced that they would be building an Ikea here, YAY, opening this fall, can’t wait!

  111. My daughter just said TODAY that I should do a post like this about IKEA. The above floral pillows (and striped yellow duvets) and wicker hanging lights are in a bedroom in our ski condo. When we lived in Paris our little kitchen was all from IKEA. We had open stainless steel shelves above the counter that I loved.
    Some stuff is cheap (and wears that way)…but what style. I say “LOVE.” I kind of like getting lost there.
    Mary Ann

  112. Oh my- this is hilarious! I feel the exact. same. way! Such a love/hate relationship :) My Ikea is an hour and a half away, and inevitably I don’t have enough space in my vehicle to buy everything that I want :( I drive a VAN for crying out loud, and I still don’t have the space!

    xo- Carmel

  113. I have to travel a long way to get to Ikea. My first trip was in Chicago and the store was new…need I say more? The parking alone made me crazy. I have also been to the one in Orlando, and I do find a few things but I’m much more of a Crate and Barrel girl. I get crazy at Ikea!

  114. Beautiful designs! Ours is about an hour’s drive and yes, it’s a maze. I love spending hours there though. It’s like walking through a giant beautiful dollhouse! LOVE! However, I rarely walk out with much. I think it’s the “pretty-overload” and my fear of spending $$$.

  115. I love IKEA. My friends and I always joke about someone who could still be lost in there and maybe just lives there now. You would have everything you need.

    I just moved to Chicago and our apartment has tons of huge windows. Since we will eventually buy a house again, I didn’t want to invest tons on window dressings. So off to IKEA I went and for under $100. bought enough curtain panels for the whole house.


  116. omg I’ve had a hankering to go to Ikea too! And you totally (and hysterically) hit the nail on the head! it really is a rush of many many emotions! Hopefully in the end, though, its happy. Especially when you get the goodies up and running! I make it a point to stop and get a cinnabun. If I don’t, I don’t leave truly happy. HA!

  117. there and after a full night of “unswallowing” as my aunt used to call it I had to make the trek back to Vegas (both girls had been better for a full day). Anyway, I must really love Ikea because I drove 30minutes out of the way and traversed the store for 3 hours before embarking on the 6 hour trip home. My mother-in-law thought I was crazy but she has the luxury of going to this Mecca anytime she wants!

  118. I also have a Love/Hate relationship with Ikea, for many of the reason you stated above, but also for the fact that they do not ship anything! I know, I know, I’ve heard it all…thats how they keep their cost down, but I live 3.5 hours from the closest Ikea, and since it’s pretty close to D.C. it typically takes me over 5 hours to get back home with all the traffic! So that’s an eight hour or so car ride, let alone the time you spend in the store. So maybe if they started offering shipping for more of their items it would be a love/like relationship!

  119. Love their products, but don’t love that I leave with a headache due to the overstimulation/ excitement I get when I’m shopping! (: Also- can’t beat their prices. I’m really liking the Fresh and Floral inspiration board you did! xo

  120. You described it so perfectly. I love IKEA. I had my first and only experience this year when I went to visit my son. We have no IKEA close where I live and I’ve always wanted to check one out. I noticed right away that I felt like I was in some kind of maze, with the arrows leading us about, but my mind was so taken in buy all the incredible displays and smells. Of course, we too had to get some of the meatballs to fuel us up for the several hour shopping experience that awaited us. i absolutely loved it. I want to go back so badly. I got some of the embroidered pillows and have about 100 things on my wish list.

  121. I, sadly, have never stepped foot into their store. The closest one is over 6 hours away! I’m now thinking the drive might be worth it. You had me at “professional daycare that greets you at the door”.

    Jealous in KS

  122. I’m Swedish so I grew up with IKEA before it arrived over here. When I was a kid no one would dare to go in the store because it was considered really cheap and bad quality. But somewhere along the way they changed their tune and became hip and cool. I personally love IKEA but HATE to go there. I get stressed the second I arrive, ditch my plan, head for the meatballs and buy things I don’t need on my way out.

  123. Ikea, *sigh*, the closest one to me is about a 2 hour drive, if traffic is good so it’s an all day trip for me. I usually find a girl friend to go with me and make a girls day out of it including a stroll in the mall next door if we have time. The market place gets me every time, I can go intending to only get a few items and walk out with enough to fill my van.

  124. We are lucky to have two IKEAS by us , both within about a half an hour . . . so I like to go on a weekday when everyone is at work and school and I spend about an hour there and then I’m done. I usuallly know just what I’m looking for , but I always buy waaaay more than what I intended to. I, too, love their Swedish meatballs since I am 100% Swedish.
    Curtains are my favorite thing to buy there. The Matilda curtains are my very favorite.

  125. When we first moved to DC I was at Ikea weekly. It lost its allure and everything started to look so ho-hum. Now I go semi annually and am in love again. We bought a Knapp pendant to hang in one of our little bed rooms recently.

  126. We’re furnishing a new home and I’m worried it’s going to look like an ikea showroom if I keep shopping there. I think most people have a love/hate relationship with that place. I don’t want to buy any big pieces there because all my friends have them.

  127. I am like you. It’s a love relationship. :)
    I have a Christmas IKEA gift card from a friend, and My husband and I and another couple will be taking the hour drive to the store Saturday! Yay!….just wish I could spend more money right now :D
    (LoL – my husband thinks I can be like the lady in the IKEA commercial that shows up to the house in a semi with stuff on sale, and then runs back for more. No, I am NOT like that. Really, I do actually exert self control :)
    My list is for kitchen stuff on Saturday, since it’s practical right now. Even though I long for a Varde shelf, pretty drinking glasses, pretty table wear, other bookshelves, one day-a nice kitchen, a few curtains, rugs, vase, lamps …………………… :)

  128. I am fortunate to have an Ikea store about 10 minutes away so I pop in when it is not busy, i.e. mid morning. I definitely try to avoid the place on a weekend or right before all the dorm room shoppers storm the place in August. I often go to browse when I am looking for a unique piece and just outfitted my husbands new office with conference table, bookshelves of different sizes and a lobby desk all from Ikea. Saved lots of money until it came time to pay our handyman to put it all together! But it looks great without a huge investment. Love to know how you did those color boards…from olioboard, polyvore?

  129. I really like Ikea, but I also do extreme planning for my trips. I get there at opening with a list in hand of what I want. I practically run to the products and then book it to the check-out stands. In and out in under an hour. Bam!

  130. I love ikea but hate the poor quality of the furniture and frames. Am having better luck watching for sales elsewhere

  131. They built one 10 min from my house. It is torture, I think I can just run in and get this but oh no 2 hrs and a lunch later I am gone. It is definitely love/hate!

  132. I have never been to Ikea……I know sad isn’t it?? But it’s about an hour and a half away….and I just haven’t been able to get away long enough yet.

    But I long to go!! I do think I need a seasoned Ikea Vet to go with me though! LOL
    God bless!

  133. I love Ikea! My husband is from Atlanta, so whenever we visit his family we make a trip. A lot of our bedroom is from there, since we’re obsessed with the Hemnes collection. And I don’t mind putting the pieces together since we’re getting such a great deal with prices. It’s funny- we have the curtains you posted in the natural spread in our bathroom, and those pillows in our living room.

  134. love love love ikea!!! when my daughter and my friends 2 girls were little we took them there for the day like other kids got to go to the amuesment parks! hot dogs swedish meatballs ice cream cones they never knew the diffrence!!!

  135. I used to go once a week when I lived 5 minutes from one. It gave me all sorts of ideas plus got me a little exercise….once you’re in you might as well walk the whole store. I swear half of our old house was Ikea.

    I haven’t been to Ikea in 1.5 years and I’m starting to go thru withdrawals. After seeing your photos of curtains, etc., I may have a venture back there. Its so wonderful.

  136. I love IKEA!!!! have you checked the clearance section…great finds sometimes :)

  137. oh good heavens, my Ikea is less than a fifteen minute ride by i95!
    I have been debating, do I *really* need to go and waste money I shouldn’t spend?
    Hmmm…. on the one hand, I save money by staying home.
    On the other, I miss touching the fabrics in the fabric department, looking at all the plants and picture frames, and oh yeah – the swedish meatballs! (I love them too!)

    I may see a trip there in the next week or so, I know my kids are dying to go spend some cash too!

  138. I have to say I am not a big fan. There is one very close to me although with San Fran bay area traffic, it feels like it could be on the other side of the country! Too many things there feel a tad cheap.

    I think that far better furniture can be found in antique and thrift stores at better prices, but I love the hunt for that perfect piece at a bargain more than actually owning the piece! However, I have an Ikea drafting table (with integrated light table) which I love for my art projects, and I recently redid my nephew’s bedroom using a clearance find Ikea bunk bed system which is really sturdy.

    I also like their printed textiles but haven’t found a use for them yet. My favorite part of Ikea is their annual catalog and how they blend colors and textures (ok, and the swedish meatballs).

  139. I’ve never been to an IKEA and feel very left out. The good news is we’re finally getting a store here in Denver this Fall and it’s about 10 minutes from me! Very excited. I didn’t read through all of the comments but scanned them and noticed many of your readers really like IKEA as you do. I’ve heard mixed reviews, the negatives mostly about their furniture not being high quality and difficult to assemble. I would love to know what you and your readers thoughts are on the quality of their furniture? I’ve been drooling over the cubed shelving unit and hope it will be worth purchasing. Thanks and I love your blog!

  140. I have mixed feelings about IKEA. One part of me loves to go through the “maze” and see all the model rooms that are set up. The prices are great and you can furnish a whole house for a great price, if the goal is price. But the look of the furniture is all very “IKEA-y.” We were shopping pretty frequently at IKEA for furniture for our new home… until I did some more research and found that many stores were selling better quality pieces at (almost) IKEA prices if you used their promo codes and waited for online and in-store sales. Right now my favorite online shopping resources are Wisteria and Williams Sonoma Home. Both had great sales that brought their steep furniture prices down to (almost) IKEA prices.

  141. WE don’t have an Ikea store however I have heard of it and really really wish we did!

  142. I have no stamina for shopping so Ikea is a true test. I am an Ikea convert and will search for items I have seen in magazines/blogs that have been mixed with high end pieces. Check out You Tube for Ikea -Parody to Owl City ‘Fireflies’ by davedays – I hum this as I wander about and find it calms me and keeps me focussed.

  143. The only IKEA store in my area is a good 40 minute drive away, thank goodness. Coincidentally, my niece called and asked me to go with her yesterday, right after I read your post. We headed specifically for organization supplies, her for home schooling, me for my studio, so we didn’t do a lot of dawdling in other departments.

    I don’t like the labyrinth – I resent being deliberately manipulated. We kept looking for the shortcuts to get where we wanted to go. So I guess I have a love/hate thing going.

    I did like the Swedish meatballs, though!

  144. I Love Ikea. Mostly for their storage options. oh–I love their fabric too! Their furniture is fun but I have a hard time getting my husband to like any of it. He thinks its “cheap crap”. :) So, when I go once every few months I stock up on my favorite straws, napkins and add any other little home accessories I need or want, actually,more like what I can afford at the moment. :) That image is so true though. They plan it that way on purpose I am sure. Just to get you hungry and tired and want to take a break that will give you more energy to get lost again and spend more money. :)

  145. Got married & moved into our apt a month and a half a go. Our IKEA is about 30 mins away but I was able to go and gather up all that I needed in two separate 2-hour trips. Got some larger items like a TV stand and two end tables (the dark wood in the photos), organization boxes, pillow inserts and covers (including the polka dot in the photo), and random stuff like large cereal bowls a potato masher!

  146. I actually work across the street from Ikea and have finally figured out the floorplan. I run over there on my lunch break…stop in like it’s Target. But I wouldn’t be caught dead there on a weekend!!!!

  147. We drove SIX hours one way to go to IKEA the weekend after Thanksgiving (I know, we’re nuts), shopped (and dined on meatballs) for five hours, then turned around and drove the six hours home..all in one day. Like I said, we’re nuts. Love/Hate for SURE. Your description of the IKEA experience made me LOL cause it was so dead-on. Love!

  148. Ikea and I too have a love/hate relationship but not for the same reasons. I love the style of their items but the nearest location is 6 hours from my house. And they don’t ship hardly anything! It drives me nuts how they are promoted everywhere-books, magazines, tv, blogs but I can’t get to any of the stuff!

  149. I love a little cake with green frosting. Yum. I have only been once but will go many times when the Ikea is built in Denver soon!!

  150. We totally have a love/hate relationship. If I want hubby to go there, we have to be there as soon as it open and then get breakfast.

  151. I love IKEA. My husband and I usually spend the better part of a day there which includes lunch (had the Swedish meatballs for the first time last visit-yummy) I usually buy items or furniture that will go with my revamped bits and pieces. I love the walk through the store as it gives me great ideas for my home.

  152. I am pretty obsessed with IKEA. You can’t beat the prices and here in the Netherlands they have them all over. The only problem is it is so common here that you see the same piece in every house! I love how you add your own personal touch to pieces so they can stand out!

  153. @Paige:

    In my opinion, their couches and plush items are crap, but their bookcases and cubbies and storage options are awesome.

  154. @Paige,

    Also — not sure what cube unit you are talking about, but I bought three 4-cube bookcase cubby units and they were actually *extra* easy to assemble.

  155. I both like and dislike Ikea. Some good deals to be had on some decent things. Need storage containers? Ikea’s great. Need furniture? Their quality is terrible. It’s not just inexpensive, it’s cheap. And it looks cheap. I think it’s the ideal place for a college student or young apartment dweller to shop.

    But I LOVE their design and smart storage solutions. I love how they can maximize space with creative ideas. It’s a great place to learn about design and storage and plan your space. But if you want good quality furniture that won’t fall apart in a few years and end up in a landfill and requiring you to replace it, you won’t find it there.

  156. I adore IKEA on the one hand, but on the other, yeah, same things as you: hate the parking lots, the labyrinth, and the fact that I can never get out of there without spending hundreds of dollars! Oh, I also seem to forget how small my car is and have been known to “overbuy” before, once I had to strap a rather large wall unit to the top of my little car and hope for the best driving home!

    IKEA to me means “disposable furniture” — I don’t think their quality is that good on many of their items, but the accessories are neat and of good quality for the most part, and one can get some necessity items for not a lot of money.

    Loving your blog, and am a new follower!


  157. We live 15 minutes from an Ikea so I go about once a month. I think every other trip is a longer one, but I’ve definitely been able to go in and out in 30 minutes before, especially if it’s a weekday. Unfortunately the last time I went (the 30th of Dec) I had plans to return a Christmas gift idea that we didn’t end up needing and pick up two things. Well I was able to get the two things (and a third item I found) in only 15 minutes including check out. Too bad it took 35 minutes to return the toy though!

    I find my love/hate is because I love so many things at Ikea and the prices but I hate that people can immediately tell that something is from Ikea when they come into our home!

  158. I have to say thank you! Those Stockholm curtains may nearly match our bedding set. I can’t wait to take a throw pillow down to Ikea and see them in person. Thanks!

  159. I love Ikea! It is about 10 minutes away from my home so we go there alot. Bored nothing to do let’s go to Ikea. The picture frames are the best and I probably have Ikea frames in every room.

  160. I really love ikea! i’m always working on a pretty tight budget, so it’s a Godsend for me! ;) The nearest one is about 45 minutes away, but it’s not too bad! i’ve only actually been once, but am planning to go back in the next few weeks. My favourite purchase was definitely the KARIT deep purple throw and pillows. It was a bit pricey at €50, but it’s been on my bed ever since, and is really good quality, really heavy and luxurious, it adds a touch of class to my room! Also, I made sure to pick up at least 5 pillow inserts. i’ve been on a pillow-case making kick lately, so they came in handy, and at only 99cents each?! I’m there!

  161. I looooooove Ikea. In fact, that leafy design curtain you posted in neutrals, we’re planning on buying that one in the multi-color to go with our new couch. Just took a trip to Ikea on Saturday with a friend. Love their food sometimes, other times, not so much.

  162. I have to say that although the design of the store is like a giant maze that keps you trapped forever, I LOVE Ikea! This store allows you to decorate using some very pretty things on a budget. I purchased a desk from Ikea for 79 dollars and it was solid. I mean it was quality. I eventually gave the desk away. So, if you’re on a budget and you have the time, then check this store out if you haven’t already.

  163. My first visit to an Ikea store was in Sweden in 1983 while visiting family in Valbo. Didn’t get to experience the thrill of it again until I moved to VA and went to the Woodbridge store near DC in the early 90’s. Now my girls are grown with homes of their own and we make a whole day excursion from Richmond just to go to Ikea. I also have family in Atlanta and no visit is complete without a trip to Ikea with family and friends. Taking (my born and raised in Sweden) mom is fun because she’ll translate the names of some of the items AND now they have a series with my name on cool is that?!

  164. Love the “hol side table” can’t find it on the website- could it be listed under another name?
    Love ikea, definitely a love/hate relationship. I like to go with something in mind, otherwise the store can be overwhelming.

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