Me and IKEA, It’s Complicated

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. 




186 Responses to “Me and IKEA, It’s Complicated”

  1. Kim says:

    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. Melynda says:

    Definitely a love/hate relationship. I dread going, but I can’t complain with all the great items I’ve found there. I recently finished our basement to be a craft room/knitting studio/office- just bout the whole space is items from Ikea:

  3. maura says:

    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.

  4. Yuppie Lady says:

    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.

  5. Lacey R says:

    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.

  6. Christina says:

    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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. Jen says:

    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.”

  11. Lisa says:

    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.

  12. 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!!

  13. Nicole says:

    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!

  14. I have a love hate relationship with ikea :) I love the store, but somehow always get lost and stressed :(

  15. 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.

  16. 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!


  17. Bobi says:

    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:)

  18. 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

  19. I enjoy Ikea but have noticed that not everyone else does! I like to go by myself, or with my kids -who seem to appreciate it like I do!

  20. Kimberly says:

    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!!

  21. Jaimie says:

    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.

  22. Heather says:

    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?

  23. Bloggymom says:

    We don’t have one near me. I enjoy looking at their website though.

  24. Amber says:

    The stockholm curtains are my FAVORITE! I’ve wanted them forever!

  25. Tanya says:

    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.

  26. 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!!!!

  27. OvrMyHead says:

    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.

  28. Susan says:

    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. :)

  29. Stephanie says:

    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!

  30. Meg Mitchell says:

    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.

  31. 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.

  32. Katie says:

    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.

  33. Janell Beals says:

    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!

  34. Alyssabeths says:

    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.

  35. 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)!

  36. Stephanie says:

    definitely love/hate. Hate to go, love the deals. Sometimes, I skip upstairs and go right to the little stuff downstairs.

  37. Susan says:

    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.

  38. 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. :(

  39. 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:)

  40. Angie says:

    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.

  41. Mike @HA says:

    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 :)

  42. Sue Dally says:

    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.

  43. Vicki K says:

    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…

  44. Sam says:

    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!

  45. 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.


  46. 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!

  47. Melanie says:

    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.

  48. 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 . . . :)

  49. Kimberly says:

    I LOVE Ikea. I call it MECCA. :) The closest one is over 4 hours away.

  50. Katie says:

    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.

  51. Katie says:

    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!

  52. Shelly says:

    I also have an IKEA close by (15 minutes). I used to be really frustrated when going through the store with the maze, but the benefit of being close is that I now know how to navigate it! I like going after work rather than on weekends and go straight for the marketplace to get the items I need rather than go through the maze! I just did a photo collage with IKEA frames here

  53. Ashly says:

    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?

  54. Heather says:

    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!

  55. I was just at IKEA on Sunday night. I couldn’t believe how HUGE the Maskros pendant was. Definitely a statement piece. And I love your “neutral & natural” board.

  56. 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!

  57. 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.

  58. 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?.

  59. Catherine says:

    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.

  60. Karla says:

    Kate, you are too funny! I actually wrote about my love/hate relationship with Ikea while back. You can read it here: “Ikea, Can We Be Friends?”

    Personally the $1 cinnamon buns and the cheap feather pillow inserts win me back time and again :)


  61. Michelle says:

    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.

  62. Cathy says:

    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!

  63. Moooo! That says it all :)

  64. 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!

  65. 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!!

  66. 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…

  67. Alana says:

    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!

  68. Paige says:

    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!

  69. 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.

  70. Jen says:

    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.

  71. Kara says:

    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.

  72. Claudia says:

    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!

  73. 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. :)


  74. I feel the same way. Love/hate for sure. About 3/4 of the way through, I start to panic that I may never leave.

  75. 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

  76. 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.

  77. jenn says:

    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 :)

  78. Christy says:

    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!

  79. Tys says:

    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!!

  80. 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!

  81. Cherie says:

    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.

  82. Kim from NC says:

    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. :)

  83. Karen says:

    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!

  84. Like Rob Lowe on the cover of Architectural Digest.

    I’ve seen it and wanted to meet but it just hasn’t happened.



  85. Kerry says:

    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…

  86. 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.

  87. 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!

  88. Lauren says:

    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!

  89. 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! =)

  90. Larissa says:

    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.

  91. Dark and Dramatic!!!

  92. Elle C. says:

    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!!!

  93. Finding Home says:

    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,

  94. 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.

  95. Laura B. says:

    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…

  96. Amanda says:

    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.

  97. Lori says:

    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.

  98. 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!).

  99. SisterBatik says:

    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


  100. 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!

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