IKEA is a truly unique place. The Swedish Home Furnishings store, with roots dating back to the 1920’s, is more than just a store. Visiting IKEA is an experience, and one that takes planning and skillful navigation to properly enjoy.
I am by no means an expert on the matter, but I have learned a few things in my visits to the store. In fact, I was there last weekend and while talking about it with a co-worker, thought that I would share my thoughts with the world and get your thoughts as well.
IKEA can be overwhelming. And for good reason, since there are a ton of things there and a huge variety of items, from appliances, to furniture, to decorations, to food. If you’ve never been to an IKEA store, you should know that it is less like a department or big box store, and more like a guided tour through showrooms and displays. There really is a path that you follow from one end of the store to the other and you wind throughout the different rooms looking at all they have to offer. I always enjoy going into the display rooms and looking at how much stuff they’ve crammed into such a small space. The ingenuity is amazing. So here are a few tips for getting out alive with what you want (and probably some things you did not but cannot live without…).
1. Rule #1 is Don’t Get Bogged Down In A Section You Don’t Need. I’ve found it to be helpful to have an idea going in what items or section you want to major on. I’m always looking for new things to put in my new kitchen, so the last few times I have been there I have spent a lot of time in the table and the kitchen section. This concentrated time means that I’ve skimmed through the couch and chair sections and breezed past the bookcases. I would love to spend time in those sections, but those are not priorities for me now, so I know going in I’m passing them by.
2. Rule #2 – Expect to Buy the Unexpected. I never thought that I would be buying candles at IKEA. But I got some on a whim a few trips ago and now they are my favorites. I’ve purchased wooden spoons for 49 cents, curtain rods on impulse, and many other unexpected things. There are always a lot of good deals available, so keep your eyes open and don’t follow rule #1 so closely that you miss out on the other stuff.
3. Make Sure You Have Enough Time is Rule #3. IKEA has a cafeteria with good food, so you can plan your day around lunch there without even leaving the store. But the last thing you want to do is feel like you are rushed. I like to meander and take my time, so I always try and leave enough time (3 hours minimum) to see all that I want to see. If you are in a huge hurry you will miss out on some stuff that could be really good or you’ll feel rushed and make a decision you might regret later (wither buying something you don’t need or passing on something that you do).
So those are my main 3 rules for IKEA. I love the comprehensive randomness of the store as I almost always come home with something I did not think that I would buy, but I also love the practicality and versatility of the store. My kitchen would not be the same without it. Good deals abound, so make the trek to your local store and enjoy!