For those of you who haven't heard of IKEA, it's a swedish Home Furnishings adventure store. There are many ups and downs to shopping at IKEA, but while you're there for the first time, it feels like heaven, and you're asking yourself why you didn't come any sooner. As you keep visiting time after time, you slowly start to, one by one, figure out all the down sides to IKEA.
I'm not saying it's a bad place, it's wonderful. I remember how giddy I was when I first visited. Those were the days where my dream was to be an interior designer, and I think that dream of mine is still very much alive. All I'm saying is that there are in fact reasons why it's not for everybody, and why they haven't taken over the world, like Disney and Walmart have.
As I occasionally offer on the site, here are my wonderful words of wisdom for shopping at IKEA:
1. Know what you want.
This is a very crucial part of shopping there. If you go just to browse, or just to see what they have to offer, don't go to the store itself. Go to their website instead, or get a hold of a catalog. Their website doesn't have every single product ready to order online. Most of the time, you'll get a little message telling you to go to your nearest IKEA adventure store. This, in my opinion, is a good thing, because you can browse all you want through the catalog and website, but you don't get too carried away to make the purchase right away, because you can't.
You need to have at least a good idea of what you want. We went there just last Thursday, (coming up in a future post called "This Past Week,") with the idea of getting a reading chair for me, a lamp for my room, a new bed and mattress for Sam, and several new bookcases for the living room. We knew exactly which bookcase we were looking for, but we were just looking for the rest. Don't go to IKEA with more vague ideas, trust me.
2. Measure, measure, measure!
Trust me. Let's say you have a new low-ceiling bedroom, and you want to get some new funky lighting for it. Here's what you don't do: You don't measure the hight of the room, and you go out to IKEA and buy a floor lamp that's too tall to fit. Here's what you do: the exact opposite of what you just read! Make sure you look at a few lamps online, too, because they include the measurements of the product on the website. This is very crucial.
I actually made this mistake of not measuring the under side of my loft before leaving for IKEA, since the lamp was meant to go under my loft. Now it's next to the loft in the corner. It's a compromise, but my lesson is learned.
3. Set aside enough time.
A trip to the IKEA adventure store is a day trip, or at least I consider it to be one. Even if you're not buying much, it still takes a long time to walk through the entire pathway of the whole store, and longer if you keep pausing to sit down in comfy chairs and fooling around and looking at Foofyploofpoofs. (I'll explain foofyploofpoofs in a moment.)
The reason I call it an "adventure store" is because it truly is an adventure. It's all one big maze, and you'll have fun looking for exactly what you want.
4. Avoid foofyploofpoofs!!!
This magical word was invented by my Aunt Laurie. I'll give you a definition:
Foofyploofpoof: An item commonly found in IKEA stores that are characterized as cute and fun.
This is your typical foofyploofpoof. I'll bet a lot of you are looking at that and admiring how cute it looks and how amazing that would look in your kitchen. Before you pay $20 for this, consider the following. Why are there only four pears on the bowl in the picture? THey're very small pears, and they positioned them so it looks like they're actually filling the bowl when they aren't. My bet is that they couldn't fit any more than four small pears in there without having the whole thing just fall over. It's impractical, is what I'm trying to say.
5. Have some building skills, or know someone who does.
This was a comic of a job interview at IKEA I found.
At IKEA, it's all very DIY. (Do it yourself.) When you're done shopping, you go get the boxes all by yourself, you can check it out yourself, you drive it home yourself, and you build it yourself.
Of course, IKEA does offer services for those who need help building, or maybe they own a smart car and just bought a queen size bed. If you want to save money, you do it yourself. So unless you feel confident with tools and wordless instruction pages that come with each product, or you have a relative who does, I recommend letting them do it for you. =)
So that's all I have to say about IKEA shopping. Good luck. I realize my words of wisdom posts aren't nearly as amusing as the other posts, but the point is to help you at IKEA so you don't wind up all sad. Smiles make the world go round. If you're successful with you shopping, maybe your home will look a little something like this.
Oh, and here's my last words of wisdom on this topic:
6. Never leave IKEA without the swedish meatballs and their sticky buns. It's what they're known for, no joke.