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How to Shop at IKEA

Tue 8th, May, 2012

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G’day Beach Cottage people, a little IKEA boutique love today, come on in Winking smile 

Do you know what?  one of the most questions in my inbox is about IKEA  who woulda have thought it eh?   I mean it’s not like I go on about the little Nordic boutique with my name on it or anything.

I get so many questions about IKEA  - questions are normally in three very distinct camps….do I recommend the furniture and cupboards, what are the standalone kitchen units like and thirdly what sort of things do I like to shop for and how do I do it?

And then there’s the whole how can I shop in IKEA for a Beach Cottage coastal beachy decor question.

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So here’s how I go about shopping in there without ending up with a trolley load of cr*pola that you don’t want …

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Here’s how I do it below and what I have learnt to give my old cottage easy budget pieces for a new look that’s a bit country coastal beach decor..

…but also how I turn it into an enjoyable outing for me…cos I have such an exciting life that I write on the internet about trips to IKEA and worse that I love it and take selfies while doing it, just so up myself, love it Winking smile

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How to Shop at IKEA

My Simple Tips to Shopping at IKEA

1.  plan your trip with military precision – avoid the weekends AT ALL COSTS

IKEA is always very busy at the weekends, indeed it’s a different shopping experience totally, if you can avoid the hoards of people trawling around at the weekend it will be much better for you

2. try to not take your children, but if you do take bribes by the bagful and use the crèche

Ikea prides itself on being kiddo friendly and it pretty much is, and having three lovely Beach Cottage babies it wasn’t until recently that I could make the trip alone, they did love the playland at IKEA for sure, but now being able to go on a weekday alone it’s bliss…so if you can wangle it go on your own!

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3. devise a plan of attack including arrival time, refreshment time & what time you hope to leave to avoid traffic etc.

Through years of experience and research optimum arrival time is just after opening (but not at opening time).   Head straight to the cafe upstairs and buy a coffee and treat for one dollar fifty.  Other good times to visit are early evening, you will virtually have the whole place to yourself.

4. write a list, or just do it in your head of ‘look-at’ (things you want to check-out) and must-haves (things you must buy)

unless you have planned a full on big trip to IKEA don’t spend ages wandering around the room set-ups upstairs, wishing that you too had all white books in perfect rows, and storage containers in your kitchen with nothing in them.  I love looking around this section and you get some great ideas, but you can spend ages and wind up getting nothing but a head bursting with stuff.

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5. in the marketplace get a trolley, do not use the yellow bag unless you want a trip to the physio the next day

6. don’t buy any gadgets in the kitchen section unless you REALLY need them ask yourself if you would pay double for it?  If no, put it back pronto.

IKEA has lots of little gadgets to make your life easier, in my experience many of them are fantastic ideas, beautifully designed and when in the shop you think they might just change your life, in reality they get shoved to the back of the drawer

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7. do buy mason jars, plain china, bake ware, chopping boards, cutlery, glasses & saucepans, especially stockpots…peruse everything in the 365 range, it’s so very well designed and so very good on your pocket.

8. do spend time in the fabric section with the neutrals…only buy fabric if you are sure it will not sit in your fabric stash for ahem years, while you stroke it

IKEA fabric is very good quality and much cheaper than any fabric store I have ever been in…

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9. be wary of the organisation section, you may find yourself in there for a long time planning, scheming and buying things to make your life more organised, no that shoe organiser will NOT mean your shoes will be sorted and no you do not need another pretty cardboard box to store junk in.  Ditto the frames section…

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10.  Stock up on baskets and candles.   Believe me you won’t find anywhere that gives better value on baskets and if you are into a coastal country look like me a basket or six will change your life….probably Winking smile  Candles are super good value at IKEA and the lanterns are purrfect for coastal style beachy decor without costing a fortune.

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11.  Spend time in the lighting section.  IKEA does lighting well, it’s good design and a new lamp can change the look and ambiance of a whole room.

I went to IKEA for a chair but came back with lamps after having searched everywhere recently for new lighting for this old cottage…I found some great lamps but did not want to pay the prices some boutiques were offering for a made-in-china lamp…IKEA suited both my aesthetic requirements and my purse.  Sorted.

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12. stock up on the frozen meatballs and the coffee, both are delicious and your kiddos will squeal in delight, ‘mum’s been to IKEA’

(I am currently trialling my own copycat IKEA meatballs and gravy recipes, so far I have made three recipes, none have hit the mark – anyone tried making them for that IKEA taste? love to know if so )

13. Be very careful about any kinda cupboard / drawers…I LOVE IKEA as you know and have dabbled with everything over the years and cupboards/drawers have not been my better purchases and nearly always disappointed.

14. Do buy chairs.  Unlike the cupboards IKEA chairs are well-designed and last well.  I have everything from stools to my linen covered dining table chairs to fold up extra seating from IKEA, all are comfortable and have survived the demands of the Beach Cottage Crew.

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15.  Soft furnishings, slip-covers & bedding, curtains.  I have never been disappointed with any fabric, soft furnishing from IKEA and most of it can be thrown into into the washing machine and/or on a hot 60C wash – that’s an important factor for me because I have three kiddos and like pale colours…I need the ability to put pillow covers, chair covers, bedlinen all in the wash easily…I have many IKEA curtains in this old cottage, some of the neutral linen ones actually came with us from England and are still going strong, thanks to IKEA…they are regularly thrown in the wash and are a little bit sun-bleached from the Aussie sun now but in terms of performance…little beauties.

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And here’s what made it back to this old cottage with me…plus a few other lights that I will post about too, the lighting situation in this old cottage was dire, IKEA has helped with that alot!

…these lovely vintage style white plates, paired with a nautical stripe and the odd shell or two…a great coastal decorating idea Winking smile (find them here)

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these are plate stacking thingies…pretty ones!  I love and collect vintage plates but the piles are getting large now, I am hoping this might be a good solution, I only bought these in case they don’t work too well but will go back for more if they are good

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these are the same range as the plates above but little bowls – see the fluted edge?  nice!  (find them at IKEA here) I know a very expensive range of china doing an almost identical product/line as this, I have lusted after it for ages, but with 3 kiddos and china getting chipped often it’s not in my scheme of things to buy exxie china these days…so these fit the bill nicely (they were pretty in pink too)

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I loved these white lace topped little metal pots, how many ways could you fit this into beach cottage decor?  Hmmm, just a few….herbs would look lovely in here, but really I thought candles…I tried some little tea lights in them the other evening on the deck, yep they dance beautifully…

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these are the lanterns IKEA have been stocking for years, only the white version, I bought them with something specific in mind, I will show you that tomorrow, but also the ones I have of these already (the silver colour) are so weathered now that it’s tricky to shut the doors…they’ve done really well though…

and a few more things that have a new home in a this old cottage here

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And that’s it friends, what I have learnt shopping at IKEA for beach cottage /coastal  decor ideas..

What are your best IKEA finds then and how do you like to do it????

Sarah

 

Barley has been updating his page, go here for more!

p.s. don’t even think about that yellow bag xo

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108 Responses to “How to Shop at IKEA”

  1. Susan @ Afford Your Passions says:

    I haven’t been to IKEA in years. The last time I went, I walked out the door over $2500 poorer. It’s easier if I just avoid the store :)

    • sarah says:

      $2500!!! wow that’s an exxie trip x

      • Susan @ Afford Your Passions says:

        Yes, it was! In all honesty, we went with the idea of spending about $1,000 – we wanted the Ektorp sectional, which was $999. We left with the sectional, an Ektorp chair, and the matching ottoman for our living room. My husband spied a desk chair for his office, a leather occasional chair for his office, and one of those room dividing bookcases. We didn’t buy a lot of “gadgets” or unnecessary stuff, but we did leave with way more than we intended to buy! :)

  2. Thank God my nearest IKEA store is almost 2 hours away. Although, it does make me go with a plan. Hate it when the plan falls apart when you get there and the things you want aren’t currently in stock. They so should sell online! Love all your purchases. They would work just beautifully in my beach house ;)

    • Soan says:

      Nikki,
      You can check the availability of stock online. I always plan ahead and check if they have the stock online before heading there. They even tell you if it’s low in stock and if it’ll be stocked in next few days. Didn’t do it first time and had to go again within a week. Lesson learned.

    • sarah says:

      imagine if they did Swedish clothes & beauty products….IKEA and H & M and I would be in heaven! x

    • Susan @ Afford Your Passions says:

      Nikki – you need to move to the US – they sell online over here :)

  3. When we decided to completely gut the interior of our home and start from scratch we did quite a bit of research on IKEA kitchens. We decided to go with one of their kitchens and we couldn’t be happier! They look fabulous and are great quality. We have also purchased a buffet, a dresser, a queen bed (which we only used the headboard), a cube, and a nightstand. We have been very pleased with everything we have purchased. I would probably buy more along the line of accessories except we have to travel over two hours to get to the closest store. My husband is probably very glad that we don’t live any closer! LOL!
    Hugs -
    Carol

    • sarah says:

      hmmm yep same here on the kitchen, a few little issues but overall for the price we paid which was nothing compared to the quotes we got very happy

      yes the accessory buying is dangerous! x

  4. Emma Barrett says:

    Such wise words! You defnitely need a plan – in, pick up, and out. Otherwise its like a vortex and you end up walking kilometres around and around! Although, can’t wait for my next trip :)

  5. Soan says:

    My bedroom is mostly Ikea. Well, completely Ikea. I live in a rental, so wanted things that can move easily whenever needed.
    So far, happy with everything.

  6. Stephanie says:

    How is the quality of the furniture? Items like sofas, sofa beds, Upholstered chairs, etc? Anyone have experience on wear and tear? Are they crazy to assemble?

    • sarah says:

      all chairs I have been have been easy to assemble, ditto desks and tables…anything with a drawer hasn’t held up well x

      • Anonymous says:

        Considering the ektorp line for our new beach villa that I want to take on the cottage feel. Love it’s slip covered look and ease of washing given kiddos and a lazy Bassett hound that loves to make his bed on a sofa even though he is not allowed…..

    • Betsy C says:

      We are a US military family and move constantly…14 times in 12 years to be exact. We buy most of our furniture from IKEA and it holds up well. Even to dings, etc…it is very easy to patch and slipcovers wash up beautifully. Even their mattresses hold up to constant moves and that is something many people have problems with during their moves. Do go for the real wood pieces or more solid pieces (ie, Hemnes and Ektorp over Billy).

      • sarah says:

        wow that is a lot of moving lady!

        Yep I like the mattresses we have bought too x

  7. Veggie Mama says:

    Can you believe I’ve NEVER been? I think I’d probably never come out again. I will totally be re-reading this before I go!

    PS LOVING your new look. Gorgeous, just like you.

    PPS Every time I use brown sauce at home I think of you. So I think of you like, every day haha xx

    • sarah says:

      haha too funny, remember that huge bottle in the hotel? I would love that

      hmmm you haven’t lived, I would say you’d love the meatballs but you wouldn’t lol x

  8. HRH Sarah says:

    Diggin’ those dishes and bowls! I picked up that same bath mat when I was there a few weeks ago, and I LOVE it. So squishy and soft! I keep a pretty hefty shopping list going with Ikea- I have been known to spend inordinate amounts of time perusing and clicking away on their website ;)…
    It’s great to go in with a plan, and the top of my list is always the meatballs, yum- now I’m craving them for dinner (shoulda picked up a bag when I was there)

    • sarah says:

      oh I love them too, I don’t think I will ever make them as good!

      hmmm glad to hear it’s not just me who spends too much time on their website, I think I must spend hours….lurve it

      aren’t those bowls just divine????? x

  9. Chrisartist says:

    Hi Sarah
    Last trip to Ikea, we were having such a great time we missed our flight to Tasmania(home).
    Had to wait three days(school hols) and $800 later!!
    Time flies and it’s so easy to forget deadlines in Ikea.
    We joke about our $800 sheets.
    Chris

    • sarah says:

      oh my goodness! that is funny, talk about an expensive trip to IKEA for budget sheets haha

  10. I haven’t been there for so many years. I do remember that they have the best paper serviettes. We bought 2 little kids, flat packed, raw wood table and chair sets for $50 each over 10 years ago. I painted them white with outdoor paint and they are still going strong. I use those little chairs as steps in the kitchen and all over the house. So they can take a heap of weight :) My kids are too big for them now, but they used to easily fit under the coffee table where they could work away. One chair broke when my hubby stepped on it and it was on an angle. The square tables are used all around the house. One has a dolls house on it and the other is next to the fireplace with the old copper wood bucket under it, and my handbag on top. I so wish they would do mail order or online, why did they stop it????

    • sarah says:

      I didn’t know they ever did mail order! that would be dangerous for me! x

      • Oh yes! you would get a catalogue then ring up. People used to get flat pack cupboards, beds, kitchens delivered way out here! It must have become too costly for them to continue. I don’t understand, everyone has gone that way and you just pay for the transport/courier/postage. Ikea stopped! strange.

        • sarah says:

          yeah that is strange…just seen on here that IKEA in usa do online shopping…I would lurve that, mr bc would not x

  11. Leah says:

    Ikea is a good 3 hour drive away from me, but I do go about twice a year. It’s a whole day event. LOVE it! i always come away with stuff. I have to remember to think about the purchases a bit more as I have gotten all caught up in the cheap pricing and great ideas and bought things I haven’t needed, especially in the kitchen department. It hasn’t stopped me going back again though. You have some great finds. I especially love the lace topped votives. Leahx

  12. Tricia Rose says:

    I usually plan to go on a Tuesday evening, when my gravad lax addiction can no longer be ignored (I buy extra jars of the dill mustard and use for smoked salmon). The thin little Anna biscuits too.

    One of my Ikea sofas must be about seventeen years old, the second (identical) one is about seven, and I made linen slipcovers for them, easy peasey. Both still robust and comfortable while Billy bookcases disintegrate around them.

    • sarah says:

      oh yes, I forgot to mention that! love it too xo

      yeah our ikea chair is doing so well…if I had your skills I would do covers for it to change it up a bit…I haven’t as you know ;-)

  13. Jackie says:

    We purchased a bedroom set for my 17 year old daughter and it didnt even last two years. Like Sarah said anything with a drawer,stuffed up, then the bed and wardrobe just fell apart. Very disappointed, however I still enjoy going there just will never buy furniture from them.

    • sarah says:

      I think we must of bought the same line for our daughter, i am very wary now, however tempting x

  14. Liz says:

    Fun to watch other people spend money and see what they choose. Easier on the budget too. Ikea is a distance from me. I’ve only been twice. Had a blast both times, scored a good deal on a dresser already put together but slightly damaged. Both times ended up with quite a long receipt, though, as it seems we all do. Those little scalloped dishes were quite a catch. I think I’m going to have to give it another go. I’m sure it must be my time about now, right?

  15. Julie says:

    With little ones and the only store in the city half an hour away I don’t get to our IKEA too often. I did go recently, though, to get a lamp and picked up a white enamel pitcher that I love for flowers. My friend tried to talk me out of it but I am so glad I ignored her! “Is it worth $14.99??” Absolutely!

    • sarah says:

      I have that same pitcher Julie…I have seen them nearly four times the price in frenchy boutiques here – still made in china though not france haha x

  16. Great advice and tips, Sarah! My closest IKEA is 3 hours away from me, so I only get there once a year — if that. :( But the next time I go, I will have a plan and use your tips! Thanks, Sarah!! :)

    xoxo laurie

  17. Janelle says:

    Well now you’ve whipped me into an ikea frenzy and the closest store is nearly 4 hrs away!! Love the look of your purchases, how do the plate thingies work? Pics? Pls?!? We’ve had ikea chairs, slipcovered sofa, manchester etc and all is still surviving well even with 3 grubby children! x Oh and thank goodness you’re so ‘up yourself”, makes for a much more interesting blog!! xx

    • sarah says:

      haha thanks ;-)

      the plate thingies just have little fold down legs…now that I have opened them I think they might actually be going on the counter in my TINY kitchen for day to day plates…

      yes I know all about grubby children lol

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  19. Margarita says:

    What a fabulous guide! I always lose my way in ikea, I often go in just to browse and waste so much time and money on things I didn’t need!

  20. Madeline says:

    You can shop online through IKEA WA and SA and I believe they deliver Australia wide. Haven’t tried it though! My advice: Don’t go to IKEA if pregnant and nesting. That was an expensive trip.

  21. Madeline says:

    Oh, just checked the FAQs and apparently they only deliver to WA and SA. Boo.

  22. Kate says:

    omg Sarah – just had a moment! I have the lace edged metal pot in my bathroom. I was looking at it at the weekend thinking that it was just the sort of thing I’d see on your blog. And then I read your post with my morning coffee just now and you’ve got three of them!

    I’m planning a new kitchen currently (and bathroom and bedrooms as part of a big extension)), so you don’t recommend IKEA kitchen fittings then? I need to start choosing.

    • sarah says:

      no I do recommend the KITCHENS – ours has been fabulous and was very cheap compared to what else we had on offer….it was going to be a tide over for us (we went for the standalone) but it’s going strong and holding up well..

      what I have not had success with is more the furniture like drawers and wardrobes, chests etc…

      good luck with your kitchen x

  23. Selby says:

    Mmn ikea:) I get a big silly grin just thinking of shopping there;)

  24. Carin says:

    Great guide Sarah! And as a Swede abroad, IKEA is like a second home to me. I go giddy anytime we plan a trip there. I don’t drive so I bribe my daughter with playland and my husband with meatballs and it works every time…no complaining, and the mister does reigns me in a bit (which I need) so I don’t spend all day there and buy everything in sight. They have started selling furniture and bigger pieces online here in the UK too, and delivery charges aren’t too bad though you do have to wait aq week or two, so it was great when we did up my daughter’s new room. I went there for all the small bits, but had the other stuff delivered. Best of both worlds.

    • sarah says:

      oh you must love it! I have to bribe Mr Beach Cottage to go there, and not with meatballs ;-)

  25. Tiff says:

    I live about 5 mins from IKEA and I try to pop in fairly often to check the bargain corner. I’ve found many things there that have been heavily discounted. We also like to go there for a cheap meal out with the neighbours and their kids. The kids are old enough to love going and they play ‘house’ in the displays :) But the best part is that we know all the short cuts, so we can zoom around quickly! We often pick-up tag-alongs who are looking for a faster way through the maze.

    • sarah says:

      oh I love the short cuts, I remember when they first brought those out…bliss!

  26. I haven’t been to Ikea in over a year. I miss it so. Problem is I can’t get there during the week so have to fight the crowds on the weekend. Hence I don’t seem to make it. However in one of your photos you show a bedroom with holdbacks for the curtains. I have been looking for holdbacks for our lounge room curtains forever and everything I have liked have been too expensive (I need 8 of them). Then I saw your pic, jumped on line to check them out and they look perfect. So guess what I am doing this weekend. I never thought of looking at ikea. Thanks Sarah.

    • sarah says:

      no worries, those tiebacks caught my eye too…I had tiebacks on all my curtains in England, it doesn’t seem to have happened here, must change that so thanks for the prompt x

  27. Robyn says:

    We went on Sunday afternoon to get some wooden coat hangers (black for the Mr, white for the Miss and the kiddos wooden ones for the little man – I use those velvety ones myself). It wasn’t at all busy fortunately.
    I didn’t see the stand alone lace topped pots, only the hanging ones (did you see those?) but one of the staff members was telling a fellow shopper that all the pallets of them they got were sold out within a week!
    I also see there is a 3rd store in the pipeline for Sydney’s side of the world!

    • sarah says:

      no I didn’t see the hanging ones, sound interesting

      wow a third one, I hope it’s nearer to me, I bet not though ;-)

  28. Nst90 of Bne says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’ve tried making this Ikea-inspired ‘Swedish meatballs’ recipe: (http://www.frillsinthehills.com/2009/11/fast-food-on-friday-swedish-meatballs.html) but have noooo idea if they taste like Ikea meatballs??? Can’t say I’ve ever tried them? This reciped is not tooo bad..?

    Loove those plate stacking thingies. Best thing I ever bought.

    PS Kmart Cannon Hill have blue stripe and putty polka-dot mugs!! See blue stripes here: (http://instagr.am/p/KOAls3sSDn/ ). Your photos inspire me….

  29. Claudia says:

    I just went to IKEA last week and I swear I was reading your post and going “yeah, yep, did that, yes” because you are absolutely right. I took my youngest but we had a lovely breakfast while he watched Peppa Pig on their kid area telly. Candles are by far, the best price anywhere, as are their glass jars and food storage. And my boys are addicted to their meatballs so I did stock up! Lovely to see this post with so many great tips!

  30. Great post! I try to only go to IKEA once a year, because I know the pull to spend too much. I haven’t gone this year yet; so a trip is in the works. I need white accessories to decorate above my white cabinets. Thanks for sharing your ideas and beautiful pictures. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  31. Rukmini Roy says:

    What a great post…you are so right about figuring out a time and a weekday. That really helps. What helps even more is there is no IKEA here in India. (can you see the frustration after I have seen the lovely coasters and bowls?)

    Great buy. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post :)

  32. Karen says:

    Wonderful tips – I agree with not going on the week-end – much too crowded.
    And the candles are the best!

  33. CUTE! We were just there last night. We needed baskets to finish off our front hall and made it there 10 minutes before closing. What would we do without the clever, Swedish boutique?

  34. Carol says:

    Nice and great tips that you provided for all of us. Thanks for hosting.

  35. Sarah says:

    Your post is almost as good as going on a shopping trip to Ikea. I only visit one about once a year, and found reading through your post that I was doing lots of your DON’TS! I will have to plan my next trip properly thanks for the great tips.
    Sarah

  36. Aina says:

    It’s really amazing how your tips for buying in Ikea are useful also for the people who live just on the other side of the earth! I agree with all your recomendations. I just bought last week the plates and little bowla in pink and in white!

  37. Glennie says:

    Here’s that plaintive little vocie from New Zealand again….oh how I wish we had a Ikea store here …. and reading this just makes it worse!

  38. Oh how I wish Ikea was closer!! Actually… I might go there too much if it was. Especially if you can find cottage inspired items!

  39. Kahli says:

    I have a problem going to Ikea. I’ll put everything and anything in my basket! It doesn’t help that the store is 5 minutes from my apartment. And this post makes me want to stop in there haha.

  40. Candice says:

    In Ikea envy here . Near 2 hour drive away from the Sunshine Coast its in Brisbane near the Gold Coast . Sooo wish they would put an Ikea up here . Its the type of shop I would call into weekly for a look and feel and find that bargin corner . sigh . Love the goodies you purchased Sarah .

  41. Elaine in Laguna says:

    I’m another one of the lucky ladies who is just 5 minutes from one of the largest IKEAs in the US…You can walk from my work parking lot to the store and back in a lunch hour. Because of this Great Temptation, I only go to the after Christmas sale…Last trip was for candles and tea lights. Such a great post and great shopping tips. Thanks, Sarah.

  42. What a great article!!! I’m going to be going on my first IKEA trip soon. Hubby and I read through your tips and we are so excited to go.

    I told my daughter she can’t go with us (tip #2), and she didn’t take it very well. We decided that since she is going to be 22, we would go ahead and bend the rules and take her. LOL

    Thanks Sarah!!

  43. Two more cents for you – Just read above that you spend far too much time on the Ikea website. Well…. I would have said the same for myself, only lately (if lately means I just this afternoon stumbled upon it) I’ve been stuck on this. The U.S. version of the Ikea blog. What? Ikea has a blog? Mmm Hmmm. Have you seen it?

    http://www.theshare-space.com/Blog

  44. Jo says:

    I just went to Ikea yesterday! It’s whole day event from here. (Central coast) Dropped the toddler at Grandmas and then spent the day wandering around with Hubby who has the week off. Totally exhausted at the end of it, but worth it. Came home with some reading lights for the bedroom, a couple of footstools for various rooms, a white pitcher….AND my mother’s day present …. a very comfy white Ektorp armchair! Sitting in it now reading your blog with a cup of tea :) Very spoilt this year! Was hoping to buy some of those lace edge white pots too but they were all out…perhaps a good thing…I think the ‘budget’ was well and truly spent!

    • sarah says:

      oooh I recently bought that chair, in fact this afternoon I have moved it so it sits in the afternoon winter sun…just about to make some tea and sit there…you’ve made me think I should take a photo, so pleased with it!

      I am very pleased withe the lighting I came home with especially at this time of year at about 5pm

      sounds like a good trip to me xo

  45. Hannah says:

    What a great post. I have to admit, I love IKEA. But you do have to have vision otherwise you just end up with a hot mess of junk. We don’t have much IKEA furniture but I have those vintage plates and bowls and love them (wish they came in other colours) and I am planning to go back and buy some of the pieces you highlighted for your engagement party. Love it!

    • sarah says:

      yes I was the same with the plates, I wanted other colours, the pink was a bit too pink for me, I had hoped for putty and blue! x

      • Hannah says:

        Pink! I didn’t see pink! Which one were you at? They have blue and putty at Target in a similar kind of style, if that helps?

        • sarah says:

          thanks! I didn’t see them at Target so will look…
          yep IKEA had the same bowls and plates in pink x

  46. Kith & Co says:

    OOoh makes me want to go, maybe tomorrow I can sneak a visit, thanks for the tips and ideas

  47. Glad to hear I’m not the only one that approaches my IKEA visits like a military exercise! Just one extra tip to add (you’ve sort of touched on it but to elaborate)… in the UK you can get the shelf location codes for all the warehouse stuff from the website for your local store which means you can head straight in the exit doors and snipe your furniture straight of the shelves without having to touch the room sets or marketplace.

    My worst IKEA experience: Once my 87 year old Great Aunt wanted to come to IKEA with me because she hadn’t been before. I was staying with her (I’d had to leave my rental home and was tied up with the purchase of my flat) and she offered to drive so I could buy some crockery, glasses etc for my new place. Anyway, just as we arrived in the marketplace she decided she was too tired and couldn’t walk any further. Had to try and explain that the whole IKEA concept is based on the fact you have to go around the whole thing and there was no early escape route! I think the stress of chivvying an 87 year old woman round IKEA beats dragging kids around any day!!!

    But… despite that totally love IKEA, especially my Factum/Abstrakt kitchen. Great value. Also, my IKEA mattress is amazingly comfy.

  48. I live close to Homebush Ikea (in Sydney). Four times in the past year, I have dropped a $50 armload of impulse buys near the checkout, and left because the two (only two!) queues were so long and the staff so invisible. This would have been on a Thursday or Friday morning; perhaps early evening really is better.
    I also have a caveat on the chairs. Most of the chairs are good, but there is one chair that you have to pull apart (actually unscrew the legs — how many times will that work with plywood?) in order to take the alleged slipcovers off. Examine any chair carefully to see how you get the covers off. Then buy extra slipcovers for swapping out while you wash.
    I am sitting on one of my Henriksdal chairs with the linen-look slipcover right now. They’ve been fantastic for our grubby family :-)

    • sarah says:

      hmmm, I hear you on the checkouts…I must say I have dumped stuff too when been waiting in a queue…I would of thought they would have market researched and addressed that little blip on the radar x

  49. Sarah says:

    I have the white lace planters as well and they are wonderful. ikea also has the same white lace pots in a hanging version and they have transformed my little balcony garden. great post!

  50. Kellie says:

    Funny, i was only in ikea the other day and we (me and the kids) went about it in military style – all held hands, went IN the exit door to get to the section we wanted, picked up our lamp and legged it to the till. I think it still took half an hour though!
    Did no one jump on you for taking pictures? When I have been in a shop and taken a pic of something I always get jumped on by a sales assistant offering to help! So I try to be discreet with my iPhone now and wouldn’t go snapping with my ‘big’ camera as I’d probably get thrown out!

  51. le_third says:

    great pointers :) I still love going with no purpose in mind what-so-ever :) hee hee le

  52. Susan says:

    Sarah, I saw those adorable little lace top planters turned into a lampshade….painted, turned upside down, hole drilled in the bottom and fastened. It was fantastic. So another reason to get down to IKEA and see what I can find…one of those would be perfect for my lamp whose shade broke when the %^&* dog jumped over the ottoman and into it…before I could grab it.

    That dog now lives with my newlywed daughter in Kentucky.

  53. Nadine says:

    I’ve been shopping at IKEA since they opened their doors in WA love them to bits. Thos plate stackers/inner shelves are a god send and I use them in my Welsh Dresser to hold layers of china and glassware, the designers must have thought only huge stock pots would be kept in the lower shelves and I don’t like putting too much cina on china/class platter on glass platter IYKWIM. Anyway, they come in handy in lots of different cupboards and spaces and even make a good monitor raiser at a much lower price than most monitor raisers.

  54. Shelley says:

    Great ideas. I love ikea but it does my head in at times. End up leaving with stuff I didn’t need and not getting the stuff I did. Not taking the kids sounds a plan. But the four year old does love the playland. Although last time I was there, you couldn’t leave the kid there, you had to stay with them….well that kind of defeats the purpose, doesnt it?! {I just found your awesome blog via instagram (@shellnel) I think, or a link from someones blog?? I get lost in blog land at times! Anyways, Hi!}

  55. WOW!!! Fabulous tips!! I haven’t lived near an Ikea and so we’ve always stopped while on a road trip. I live only 2 hrs away now! Thanks in advance for a great shopping experience! You made my day!!!

  56. [...] of Ikea, here is an excerpt of a  great post written by Sara over at the ever fabulous, A Beach Cottage.  Sarah shares great tips on How to Shop Ikea and not leave there more confused than when you [...]

  57. sevy says:

    Hello Sarah!
    First thanks for your blog, it has inspired me for a year almost.
    I live in SoCal, San Diego, right on the Ocean, and I try to do my best to have a white-french (I am french) coastal inspired little place.
    I went to Ikea recently and bought this duvet cover for $50.00. It’s all cotton, I love cotton, blue and white stripes with some cute navy blue bottons. Very beachy, cosy style!
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80189154/
    Thanks and continue inspiring us! Sevy

  58. aussiebeachgirl says:

    I pretty much have to tackle it the way you do, particularly as Ikea is situated closer to the Gold Coast, distance-wise, than it is to our place north of Brisbane! It’s also not one of my fave go-to places for Chrissy decorations. This year is no exception and I am so disappointed with the lack of real scandi-beachy type decorations on their shelves! My guess is that they cater for our more broader based and conventional, if-it-doesn’t-glitter-it’s-not-gold-or-bold approach to Christmas decorating. Also, have you seen how they hike up the prices in Oz? Cuckoo 4 Design put up some wonderful pictures of some Xmas fabric she bought at Ikea – I think it’s called the Margareta Xmas Tree fabric. Anyhooo….get this (because I don’t)….she bought two yards of it for only $13.99. When I priced it here, Ikea was selling it for $9.99 a metre!!! It blew C4D away! It’s this type of crazy over-pricing that does my head in. If it traveled to us directly from Sweden, I get it; but it gets shipped here from Indonesia – right on our northern border – and I don’t! I just don’t. :( So I guess I have this love-hate relationship with Ikea….does anyone else? Cheers, heather x P.S. Brilliant post, Sarah, and some great pointers!

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